Do I really need a website designer?
Yes, you do need a website designer. Websites built by a website designer will not only function better everywhere – they will also dazzle visitors. Companies sometimes employ entire crews just to think of ways to make their product prettier. There are factories whose sole purpose is designing attractive boxes for products. The human mind is drawn to aesthetically-pleasing things, but it’s more than that – any product or service with poor visuals, even your company’s website, will make you look… rough around the edges.
Some, especially smaller local businesses, are unwilling to set aside $1,000-$2000 or even more just so someone can design their business website. Why? When you’re running a local business, few will ever aim low – you want to aim high, possibly generating tens of thousands of dollars a month when things really get going. Yet how can you hope for that when it looks like your site is falling apart? Think of it as an investment, and a pretty important one.
That being said, this isn’t a beauty pageant – it’s more like a shark tank, and you want to beat out your competition in every way you can, even eliminating the chance of clients ever getting to their page. Sounds good, but how do I do it? Read on…
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – a part of solid website design
There’s a ton of website designers out there, and they’re all trying to beat each other to land the next gig. “I’ll do it faster!”, “I’ll do it for less!” and so forth. But the guy you’re going to trust your site with shouldn’t just be able to make a visual masterpiece – he should also know how to grease the gears and have everything running smoothly.
I’m not just talking strictly about functionality here. There’s a whole other mess you and the people working on your site need to tackle: search engine optimization as part of web design. For example…
- Make sure your images are named correctly. Seems obvious, but it flies above the heads of many: imagine you’re selling wedding dresses. Now, let’s say the retail name of the beautiful gown is Dressity Dress. Not a stretch, are we right? If the name of the dress within the site code is something like “d1.jpg”, search engines will have no way of telling what it’s about and pages like Google Images aren’t likely to show your product – not the case if you name it appropriately. If you have a product of several colors/alternate designs with a picture for each, make sure that all of the pictures include relevant info, like “Dressity-Dress-Velvet.jpg” – this will boost the chances of attracting potential customers even further. Okay, I get it, enough about the dresses…
- Clean your site up by removing duplicate content. It can leave search engines scratching their heads trying to figure out where to bring the users. Needless to say, a prospective client landing on the wrong page can be put off and might not want to wrestle your website to get where he needs to be.
- Making use of structured data. To avoid boring you with too much tech talk, we’ll just say that structured data plays an important role in letting users know what your site is about – it displays relevant info on the search page itself, before the user even clicks on the link. Many users won’t visit more than one or two sites on their quest for goods or services – having the right structured data can mean the difference between receiving a visitor, and said visitor going elsewhere.
There’s also something to be said about lead conversion. Once a customer is on your site and is developing interest, you want to make it as easy as possible for him or her to get in touch with you, even if just to ask more. Don’t force them to look around your site searching for a way to contact you – a name/email/phone number on every part of the website can work wonders, especially if you are using an automatic response system!
Staying mobile with the times
It’s the era of smartphones, isn’t it? Everybody’s got one – they’ve become a status symbol all on their own. This can mean wonderful things for your local business, as ubiquitous smartphones mean that users are more connected to the internet than ever, and therefore more likely to visit the business’ website.
But you might not be able to reap the juicy benefits of increased connectivity if your site isn’t built to fit a mobile/tablet screen. Google is now making efforts to include a page’s mobile compatibility into its ranking. Besides, an increasing number of internet users reaches the tubes almost exclusively by means of a mobile device. Are you talking to your web designer about mobile optimization right now? Maybe you should be…
You can make your site ‘compatible’ with mobile devices by removing some aspects like Flash, but it might still be painful to browse. Instead, set aside a few extra bucks to have it mobile-optimized – this will make it a breeze to surf through on any such device. You don’t want customers going “Ugh, this site isn’t working on my smartphone, maybe I’ll go elsewhere”, do you?