Thursday, April 11, 2013

Building a Website? Read This First!

Website optimization can be defined as a collection of different techniques applied to different elements of a website to increase search engine ranking. For an experienced search engine optimization (SEO) specialist, organic website optimization means optimizing each of these different elements. For a website owner inexperienced with SEO, however, optimization might simply mean any technique that will help his/her business succeed online. (This is exactly how search engines like Google prefer to define optimization).

So, if you are a potential website owner inexperienced with SEO, what can you do to ensure that your website is optimized for search engines?

To build an effective website, you'll need the help of a few experienced professionals. But here's a little secret: not all website design and development professionals actually understand what they are doing. They might be able to design or develop a workable, even beautiful, site--but if the site not optimized for search engines, and does not attract visitors, it is nothing more than a high-priced business card. In other words, it is money wasted! For this reason, it is essential that you, the new website owner, guide the work so that website optimization is taken into account from the very beginning.

An easy way to think about building a successful, fully-optimized website is to think about the following important tasks, and who might perform them:

1. Website Design
2. Website Development
3. Content Creation
4. Conversion

In the next weeks, we will detail each of these tasks, as well as how to choose the best person for the task. Today we will begin with Website Design.

First, people often confuse the role of website design and website development. Before we talk about website design, it can be helpful to look at website development as the “back-of-the-house” programming of a website—how each page is coded and how the various pages interact with each other.

Website design covers the “front-of-the-house” appearance and usability of a website. In order to make sure your website can be optimized, you should choose a website designer who can not only build a beautiful website, but one that is very easy to navigate.

The easy-to-navigate element is an example of a crucial design element. Many designers can build beautiful websites, but, as we said above, a beautiful website is pointless unless it can actually attract visitors. Of course, your visitors will appreciate the fact that your website is easy to navigate, but more importantly, perhaps, search engines like Google pay special attention to design elements like ease of navigation when ranking websites.

A poorly-designed website might not even be capable of being "crawled" by the major search engines. In this worse case scenario, the search engines will not even add your website to their database--and your customers will have no way to find you!

Quality website design is the first step to a fully-optimized website that will attract the customers you deserve! Check back next week for part two: Website Development.