You made the decision to invest in a website for your business or an update your design, the budget is set aside and you are checking out the competitors with envy but are pondering what makes these sites so successful? and how can you do the same or better!
The next step is the choice of whether to do it yourself or hire a professional. This is where things can get challenging. Either your ready to go or didn’t realize what a website would cost, confused why some developers are cheaper and others so expensive! or simply on a shoestring budget or you are just testing the waters and really do not want to invest in something that isn’t proven, or maybe you don’t have the time or patience to build your own site, or you just can’t seem to get that professional look your competitors have. Sound familiar?
So now what? you have your dream, your vision the target in site and are wondering “Maybe I should just hire someone”. You ask around, posted projects on freelancer sites and things get complicated or you have fallen through the cracks by someone who said: “No problem” and you didn’t get the site you envisioned. We have all been there, heck I have been there! I wasn’t always a WordPress designer.
I get the excitement and frustrations clients have when it comes to website design and its taken me quite a few years to learn to bridge the gap of communication of a vision/concept and to get things done right the first time and every time and to build websites that not only visitors love but search engines as well, because the truth is websites aren’t like the movie field of dreams “If you build it they will come” theres more to a website than you could possibly imagine that can make it a hit or miss and thats where hiring an SEO professional who also builds websites can of great value to get you from concept to marketing effeciently and ulitmately cost effective over time.
“Does it better”
will always beat
“did it first.”
Aaron Levie, CEO at Box
Knowing Your Target Audience Matters Most
First impressions matter most in website design, and contrary to what you may think it is not about well chosen fonts, images, or a wow factor, that’s how graphic designers think but not SEO professionals.
It is all about the overall experience, branding, ease of navigation and the first impression your site visitors get of your business. Knowing your target audience beforehand who they are, what sites they visit often, where they consume information or shop solves this problem.
It’s important to do your homework and identify your target audience before you build or redesign a website and use that information in the planning stages of any web design to build a successful website that site visitors love and want to share!
Because SEO professionals spend a great amount of time on websites, competition analysis, and keyword discovery they know what works not only for search engines but for real humans and you can leverage that information before you design your website.
SEO Professionals Know Great Sites Start With The Right Architecture
Optimal and intuitive navigation doesn’t just happen! Website content architecture is an art and a science that guides people through your website without points of friction and is based on research and planning.
Just because it seems right to you doesn’t mean the user experience is right for your targeted audience and the user’s experience doesn’t just affect conversions it affects SEO as well and more importantly the success of an SEO campaign.
As a website owner, your primary goal is getting found in search results and next, conversions maybe its a contact, a phone call, a newsletter signup, a click on an affiliate link, or sale of a product, or sharing content.
This is where an Organic SEO professional can really be of benefit because knowing the right way to structure content is a skill we put to use every day in technical optimization (On page SEO) and conversion optimization assuring users know they are, if they are in the right place, find what they are looking for and knowing their options and how to make various actions what we call “CTA” or calls to actions.
Search engines also need this info when they crawl a site to get the big picture and improper site architecture can lead search engine spiders down a maze inefficiently and expend crawl budgets something they use to scan your entire site and if your site architecture doesn’t flow they may never be able to index and ultimately rank your content.
I’ve personally seen just small changes in site architecture make big impacts on rankings, indexed pages, and conversions you don’t have to invest in monthly SEO to make these improvements an SEO professional should consult you during a website design or redesign and it can make all the difference!
Mobile Friendly Sites Will Rule 2018
Did you that statistically on average 44% of all website visits are coming from mobile devices and that data is showing a bigger trend, so much so search engines are prioritizing rankings by mobile friendliness and its one of the many ranking factors that are confirmed when it comes to SEO.
So what does a mobile friendly site look like? It is fully responsive and adapts to every kind of device and screen resolution, it loads quickly, the overall design of the website and how it performs works seamlessly on mobile devices, it is planned right, clickable elements aren’t close to the edges and are big enough to be seen and clicked on with smartphones, the text is readable and clear and the coding isn’t using outdated tech that doesn’t work on current mobile operating systems.
Are you leveraging the latest search engine features on our site such as AMP? SEO professionals know that latest features that Google is testing and using. Get a head start by incorporating these new features into a website design or redesign before you launch can boost your SEO. Take AMP as an example. AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) pages renders your content quicker by stripping away everything but the pure HTML code to serve pages not only lightning fast but also in a way that is validated by search engines. In one my posts in late summer titled the Step By Step Guide To Setting up AMP On WordPress I talked about AMP in detail and the importance of mobile-friendliness. Make sure to ask about not just about mobile responsiveness but also about features that can enhance the SEO of your content into the scope of services of your website design or redesign… it can only enhance your marketing efforts right from launch!
Conversion optimization takes experience in knowing how to structure a site and to funnel visitors to an action.
SEO professionals know how to optimize pages and content that lead to conversions and most often one of the services they provide ala carte’ for any type of website from Ecommerce to brands to service based businesses because no amount of search engine marketing will prove return on investment (ROI) unless business goals are identified clearly and your site is optimized to convert.
Because we work on A/B testing and experimentation on other sites we typically have the instinct built in to know how to optimize for conversions and build/design page structures with the optimal layouts, colors, typography that will potentially convert which gives you as the site owner a competitive edge right from launch.
Content & Visualization
This is the basic meat on the bone, pretty much there isn’t much more to a website when you boil it all down to content and images and its what matters most! But how does someone in search engine optimization apply experience and technical SEO to content and images? As they say content is king and keyword optimization, technical image optimization for faster loading times, ALT text (this is what tells search engines what your image is about), readability, title tag hierarchy, meta titles and descriptions is what on-page SEO is about. If your content can be optimized and be applied strategically and optimized during the design process you will increase your ability to index the pages that matter most, become more relevant for a search term and get found more often.
Value & Experience
Like in any type of investment you want to get the best price possible and value for your money. Shopping for a website design or redesign by price alone will get you into hot water maybe not at first but it will eventually come back to haunt you trust me I see it every day.
What you should shop for is value and experience with all things on the web and search how much should a website cost so you are informed. If you do just a little research and ask questions, be inquisitive with your web developer you will go from ticking off the boxes to collaboration and honing your online presence with razor sharp perfection.
I highly advise you to research what the basic terminology of what goes on a website, what your target audience wants and needs and match that with your own business goals and ability to grow your business online. This way you can communicate your scope of work clearly and accurately and your website developer can work efficiently and understand what your goals not only for the present but also the future expansion of your site and build those things in so you can grow without having to pay someone again to do it for you.
Cheap website designs come at a price and it might be something you just don’t know about or come to learn later.
A website must be scalable, secure against hacking and link injection threats, easy to edit and manage, indexable by search engines, and be an asset to your business, not a liability. If your thoughts are to just build a website, host, and blog you will find out in time something isn’t just working. One big tip I can tell you is if your website developer and you are talking about your vision and all you hear is “yes” and “No problem” chances are you in for trouble because a great website designer will tell you what works and what doesn’t and what to avoid when it comes to search engine optimization and everything I mentioned above.
For example, design features that are impossible for search engines to crawl, or pages loaded so much with sliders that your crawl budget times out, or images that are unnecessarily large that can weigh down your site or images that are not keyword optimized which is a huge missed opportunity for image search all the way to excess plugins and poorly written content.
An SEO professional understands the end game and will guide you through the whole process with a winning strategy that will save you time, and get your website launched ready to market which saves you a cost later on for On page SEO, conversion optimization, and online marketing.
Think of it this way if you knew how to win the lottery beforehand why would you play with other number combinations? You wouldn’t would you? That’s where the value comes in. It may cost more upfront to get a professional SEO provider who also builds websites to build your site but the saving is spread out many times over in the long run!
Search Engine Optimization
There a reason why SEO is last on the list because I’m going to tell you the biggest insider tip I have come to understand in a decade worth of work on the web, Google wants what your site visitors want, not what they want.
Let me explain this in another way. Websites should be built and designed for your visitors, then your needs and lastly search engines not a design award but better off successes that you really need for your business goals and to prove ROI. If your website adheres to the basic SEO and content guidelines of Google and this is the big word “And” is optimized for human beings to be the most relevant site for a given search term, easy to navigate, loads quickly, mobile friendly, organic content, and the technical elements search engines need to index and crawl your site you will succeed with hard work, patience, effort and time its as simple as that.
No amount SEO by a professional can fix poor website structure, and design and this is why I learned to design WordPress websites myself so I can help clients get the most out of their investment, and avoid technical issues, growing pains and hidden costs down the road and I love it! mixing creativity and the logic of SEO is a great way to earn a living.
The Wrap Up And Final Thoughts
Because SEO professionals not only live and breath the web, work with conversion optimization and have experience with tens of dozens of websites they can be an awesome choice for developing your website. In my experience with Organic SEO, the first step to all my online marketing strategies have been to address poor website architecture, issues with mobile rendering, conversion challenges, On page SEO and revision of content and at the top of the list missed opportunities to shine and to constantly ask the question “Is this site relevant for their target audience how, why or why not?
Failing to plan, is planning to fail. Do your homework, learn the lingo, research market rates, compare value for services and if your budget isn’t enough right now…wait and do it right the first time it will help you succeed quicker and cheaper over time.