For businesses at the forefront of their industry, a website, web app or online shop is much more than a digital calling card or duty fulfilment – it's a highly dynamic gateway that reflects the company's vision and values. Drawing from over two decades of experience, let me share a few critical missteps that, if not carefully navigated, can transform a website from a strategic asset into a static placeholder. Let us uncover these common pitfalls and ensure your digital platform not only meets but exceeds expectations.

Mistake 1: The Cycle of Constant Overhauls

Starting Over Isn't Always Best

A lot of companies think they need to completely redo their website every few years to keep it looking fresh and to get a chance to start over on an empty canvas. With increasingly more sophisticated content, functionalities and user interactions, this is becoming an increasingly hopeless and cumbersome endeavor. When you start from scratch all the time, you lose what's already working. You have to pick new tools, systems, designs, and maybe also service providers, which means potentially wasting a lot of money and time on things you've already figured out before.

Evolution Over Revolution

The lure of a complete website overhaul can seem like a path to reinvention. An evolutionary strategy – focused on incremental and strategic enhancements – ensures that your website matures alongside your business, leveraging data-driven insights to refine user experience and functionality. And just imagine how much easier your job becomes when you stop rebuilding the house from its foundations every time. You don’t have to pick new tools, systems, from-scratch designs, and maybe also service providers, which means potentially wasting a lot of money and time on things you've already figured out before.

Investing Smartly for the Future

Putting a bit more money and effort into making your website flexible from the start pays off. An approach that carefully considers the foundational elements of your website over time will always prove more effective. You won't need to do a full overhaul every few years. You can just make small changes as you go. This saves you time and money in the long run, and it keeps your website looking great.

Building on a Modular Framework

Consider the analogy of a cityscape; it doesn't transform overnight. It evolves, with new structures built upon the legacy of the old. Similarly, a website built on a modular framework allows for sections to be updated or reimagined without the need to dismantle the entire architecture, saving precious resources and maintaining operational continuity. And luckily, the emergence of new working methods (e.g. Agile/Scrum) and technologies (e.g. headless CMS) has made this fundamentally easier to implement.

Mistake 2: Not Having Strong Brand Guidelines for Digital

The Balance Is Key

Some companies make their brand guidelines too vague and lacking in the direction of digital channels, leaving too much room for guesswork. This can lead to a website that feels all over the place. On the flip side, super strict rules may just kill any creativity and make your site feel stiff and boring. What you really need is a middle ground that balances both these extremes. Develop easy-to-grasp design systems and patterns that make it easier to come up with new user experiences that consistently transport your brand values.

Crafting a Digital Identity

A digital identity must transcend beyond the pages of a brand booklet; it should be the north star guiding the visual character and interaction on your website. Guidelines must be robust enough to maintain brand integrity yet flexible enough to inspire innovation – especially in a multi-faceted enterprise that serves varied stakeholders.

Responsive Across All Platforms

In the digital realm, your brand needs to be fluid, effortlessly adapting to different screens and user environments. Especially for medium and large enterprises, the stakes are high, as the website often serves as the first point of interaction with the brand. Your digital brand guidelines should ensure consistency without compromising (or even better by supporting) the user experience on any device, from desktops to the latest mobile technology.

Colors and Design

Going too wild with colors and brand-specific design elements just because it works offline often backfires in the online world. For example, a bright red car might resonate well with your branding, but a bright red website can be an absolute nightmare to navigate and may throw off users. Consider that the car exists in a natural and otherwise already colorful environment where it makes you stand out and emphasize the brand. In the small constrained frame of a web browser, the same red color quickly becomes overwhelming for the user in comparison. Tone down your digital brand and smartly leverage brand colors to guide users, not confuse them. Use your brand colors in a more responsible way, highlighting calls to action rather than (ab)using the brand color just for show.

Mistake 3: Ignoring Common Sense in Digital Design

It's About the User, Not Just Your Brand

Your website is for your users first and foremost. If your site is hard to use just because you want it to look a certain way, that's likely going to cause problems. It's like making a door so unique that people can't figure out how to open it. Not helpful.

Aligning with Industry Giants

There's wisdom in observing the user experience strategies of industry giants. Google defines standard search results, YouTube how online videos work, AirBnB does great accommodation listings, Adidas runs a greatly successful and well-thought-through online shop – you get the idea. These are the websites and platforms that set the bar for what users expect, creating an unofficial rulebook of digital interaction. It's not about copying but rather understanding why certain patterns work and how they can be smartly adapted to your unique digital narrative. Compared to that, if your website makes people work too hard to find what they need, they'll just leave or don’t buy. It's better to stick with what people are used to unless you have a really good reason not to.

Experiment and Evolve

Besides that, the most popular websites and digital services do continuously introduce their audience to new and updated user experiences. However, they do so carefully and systematically, based on experimentation that is backed up by user data – often powered by market-leading solutions from our long-term partner Optimizely. However, unless you have the funds, expertise and audience to do so yourself, it probably doesn’t make sense to even think about playing with your user experience. With that said, if indeed you are interested in joining the playing field, get in touch with us.

User Experience is Paramount

While your brand's vision is vital, it should not overshadow the usability of your website. A common misstep for larger companies is to impose brand elements at the expense of user experience. Remember, a website that is easy to navigate and understand transcends aesthetic appeal, encouraging deeper engagement and building customer loyalty. This is tightly related to your information architecture and content strategy – a topic of its own for another blog post in the future.

Mistake 4: Not Scaling with the Right Tools

Not All Tools Fit All Jobs

It's easy to get caught up in what seems popular or cutting-edge when picking tools and software for your website or online shop. But what works for one site might not work for yours. It's like using a hammer when you really need a screwdriver – it just doesn't get the job done right. That’s also the main reason we partner with a multitude of software vendors - each solution is a great fit for specific use cases. Talk to us if you would like to find out more about what best fits your specific needs – after all, this is our core business.

Beyond Default Solutions

While popular platforms like WordPress serve their purpose for smaller sites, they often fall short of more complex needs, such as multi-language support or sophisticated data security requirements. Choose a CMS and digital tools that are purpose-built for scale, offering the flexibility and robustness your company requires. There truly is nothing worse for us than a CMS that requires the installation of numerous plugins to make a seemingly standard website run. It simply doesn’t work well in the long run and becomes a constant distraction from what really matters for your business.

Invest in What You Need

Choosing the right platform is about understanding your needs now and in the future. Sometimes, paying for a tool that fits your needs out of the box is better than choosing something because it's free or popular. And remember, the best tool is the one that helps you achieve your goals without making things harder.

Scalability is Key

The digital tools and platforms you choose should scale with your business and your digital ambitions in particular. This doesn't just mean handling more traffic or data; it means being able to integrate seamlessly with your evolving business processes, systems, and customer engagement strategies. At this point, let me also warn you against the myriad of monolithic legacy solutions, such as TYPO3, which are dying a frighteningly slow death thanks to the active support of agencies living in a remote past. These are - at least from our perspective - by no means the solutions for a successful digital future.

Getting Professional Help

Sometimes, the smart move is to ask for help. Working with experts like us can save you time and headaches, especially when it comes to picking the right tools (and methods). We can help you find what works best for your specific needs, so you can focus on what you do best. That is, unless you work for one of those Internet giants mentioned earlier - then you are probably already surrounded by hoards of high-profile digital experts.

Mistake 5: Trying to Do Everything In-House

Leveraging External Expertise

Speaking of expertise, building a competent in-house digital team is a significant undertaking, and even the most skilled teams may lack certain niche expertise. Recognizing when to partner with specialized digital experts like us can accelerate your projects, bring in fresh perspectives, and cover gaps in your in-house capabilities, particularly for complex, large-scale website projects.

Focus on Your Core Business

Your focus should be on driving your core business forward, not getting bogged down with the intricacies of end-to-end user experience design and web development. A strategic partnership with digital experts like us allows your enterprise to benefit from the latest web technologies and practices, ensuring your digital presence is not just current but leading the edge.

The Benefits of External Expertise

Outside experts also bring fresh ideas and new perspectives. Given their continuous exposure to new challenges and the thus collected experience, they can help you avoid common pitfalls and make sure your website is on the cutting edge. Plus, they can scale their services to match your needs, whether you're launching a new feature or overhauling your whole website or online shop.


Here are a few ideas on what you can do to systematically avoid making these common mistakes:

  • Assess Your Digital Strategy: Take a moment to review your current website strategy. Are you evolving with intent or caught in a cycle of constant overhauls?

  • Audit Your Brand Guidelines: Ensure your digital brand guidelines offer a focus on digital and a balance of consistency and flexibility to shine across all platforms.

  • Prioritize User Experience: Align your website's user experience with industry standards, encouraging effortless interaction and deeper engagement.

  • Select Scalable Tools: Re-evaluate your digital tools and platforms for scalability, integration, and future growth.

  • Collaborate with Experts: Consider the strategic advantage of partnering with a digital agency that can complement your in-house team's expertise.

Navigating the digital landscape requires more than just a presence – it demands a strategy that is as dynamic and forward-thinking as your enterprise. By avoiding these five common pitfalls, your digital service and products can transcend the ordinary, delivering not just content, but an experience that resonates with users and elevates your brand. At Bright IT, we specialize in guiding companies like yours to not just meet but exceed digital expectations. Let's connect and craft a digital presence that's truly exceptional.