Small business owners of every kind need to have an impressive website and strong web rankings to drive business. Some readers hope to build their first website. Others are getting ready to add a microsite. Still, others realize that a tweak or site overhaul is needed on average every 2 to 4 years regardless of the website’s performance to stay current in the eyes of consumers and search engines. This means that as you read this, even if you have no plans to invest in a greater online presence, there is a likelihood you will within the next few years.
Unfortunately, web teams and business owners alike make mistakes along the way that can be avoided. These “Web Misdemeanors” can add up to a web design “felony.” In this issue, we outline a few misdemeanors to avoid when designing or overhauling a website:
1. Selecting a Cheap or Bundled Web Design Team
In general, people who are superb at web design are not excellent at Search Engine Optimization (SEO). There are rare exceptions, yet it seems countless firms try to be all things to all people and define themselves as “full service.” SEOversite strongly recommends seeking a specialized web design firm that focuses purely on design or picking a trustworthy source likeSEOversite to vet any full-service firms to figure out how well they will truly perform during the design phase.
Many web companies try to earn business by bundling your site design into a monthly fee. For example, they might suggest a site, which typically can run from 5 to over 20 thousand dollars will be free or nearly free with a one or two year contract for ongoing SEO. It seems too good to be true – because it typically is. Is committing all of your lead generation ability for years to come to an unproven team to save money on design really the best choice?
2. Building Your Site in an Outdated Manner
SEOversite strongly recommends updating an existing site every 2-4 years, even if it is performing well, partly because Google is constantly updating and changing its algorithm, which dictates what it wants to see to rank your website. Something as simple as a great looking website built-in or on an outdated language or platform can decrease your rankings, and thus lead counts. If your website is being built in Word Press or HTML5, at the time this was written, you are ok, but PHP or another dated format would be a mistake.
This also means that you must create a site that is “Responsive.” This is a term that essentially means mobile-friendly (not a separate mobile site but a single, adaptable site). As nearly half of all searches are done on phones and tablets, your website should conform and look nice on any screen size. Often, but not always, low-priced design firms are more likely to do things the wrong way.
By 2017, this may all change – indeed, just this week Word Press had an update to its platform with significant changes, and most sites need to be reviewed immediately for new glitches in functionality, so we must keep up with the times.
3. Building Your Website Using a Template
Websites are either based on a pre-designed template or are built from scratch using custom coding. While for very small businesses, there may be nothing wrong with a non-custom site, for a business doing hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars per year, most business owners will want something that has functionality that meets their specifications, which can only be achieved with a fully custom site.
Indeed, a custom site can incorporate the owner’s myriad ideas – from shopping carts for online ordering to customized before/after photo sliders, to rotating galleries showcasing awards and office photos to specialized blogs and content feeds for users to peruse. The sky is the limit, and most custom design firms will allow you to tailor the site to your specifications and code the site in a way that is so robust that the site can grow as your business grows for years to come, avoiding many costs when the time comes to overhaul and update time comes three years later. Yes, it will cost a little more, but it is worth it over time.
4. Doing it “In-House”
Our President married an attorney. Our VP ran a doctor’s practice for many years. Our Director sold pharmaceuticals for nearly a decade. Yet we have not decided to open a company doing law, performing medicine, nor manufacturing drugs. We learned long ago that unless you plan to spend 40-60 hours a week honing your skills in an area of expertise, there are simply people out there who can do it far better, and you should likely delegate tasks requiring that expertise. That is why we have web gurus who are the best of the best, truly specializing in their craft. Having a properly designed website and superior ongoing SEO and web marketing services for most small businesses can be the single largest source of profit. One must invest and entrust that to true experts.
We have met people trying to build their own website online or having in-house employees build the site. Even in cases where the site looks visually pleasing, it always lacks functionality, proper coding, and other important aspects that Google uses to increase or decrease rankings. Like a person building a house without expertise, the coat of paint may look good, but the contractor knows the house is going to fall apart. Similarly, Google sees right through laypeople trying to save cash on SEO or website design. The coding matters. The effort matters. The onsite SEO matters. And that is the just tip of the iceberg.
5. Letting the Technical Jargon Confuse You
We teach our team that “a confused mind says ‘no’”. So often, business owners simply give up – they either create a website and never invest in web marketing to get rankings for it, leaving it as a landing page for clients to visit and confirm they exist, or they consider building a website, but never start, having received five quotes with different goals, plans and ideas and just pick none as they are unsure who to trust.
SEOversite is not a web company – we do not build your website nor perform your SEO – rather, we are the “Guardian Angel Watching Over Your Online Presence.” We help you find the right web design team, negotiate better rates, hold them accountable to timelines, and ensure all aspects of their work are superb. We can then find you the best SEO teams and ensure they do their best work to drive results, ultimately driving more leads and clients as well as more income in your pocket. We understand both the back-end technical side of the internet as well as the needs of building a business. The technical stuff can be overwhelming– you can read a lot and invest time to get the knowledge – or you can call or email us, and we can kick things off with a complimentary phone discussion. Contact us today through www.SEOversite.com or guardian@SEOversite.com for more information.
We wish all of our existing clientele and readership a healthy and prosperous 2015, and thank you for our most successful year yet at both SEOversite and our sister company, YellowTelescope.