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SEO and Web Design: What Does One Have to Do With the Other?

Monday, August 20th, 2018

For beginning web designers, this is a common question. Many still think of search engine optimization (SEO) and web design as two exclusive issues. They don’t see them as two separate jobs, rather than one being a part of the other. The reality is, every web designer needs to know at least the very basics of SEO before they design a website today.

What is SEO?

SEO is the art of communicating with the search engines. Websites that want real people to actually find their website and visit need to work with the search engines, since those engines are used by millions of people every single day to find websites of value. If the top search engines like Google and Yahoo do not see value in a website, then it is doomed. No exaggeration.

So, you need to communicate with the search engines if you want your website to do well. How do you do that? You do it through SEO strategies like picking the right keywords and having them woven into your website and designing every element of the site to say something about your content.

You can’t just pick up the phone and tell Google all about your great new website. The website has to do the talking on its own behalf. That’s why SEO is so crucial today.

What Does SEO Have to Do with Web Design?

SEO has a lot to do with web design because some of the most important elements of speaking to the search engines involve basic design elements. For instance, did you know that you need your primary keyword in the URL of your site? You do! This means some SEO needs to take place before you even have the web designer register your domain name.

SEO starts before the design process in most cases, and there’s a reason for that!

A designer needs to know a lot more than how you want your website to look. They need a good idea of what this site needs to do in a functional capacity. They need to know what keywords you are trying to rank highly on with the search engines. They can then use the right words for your URL and in other elements of the design.

Finding a Web Designer Who Knows SEO

Basic web design doesn’t incorporate a ton of SEO, but you can find web design services that are also pros on SEO. This is the best type of service to use because they can be hired to design the site with SEO in mind. This sets your site up for success with the search engines right from its birth.

You may pay more for these services, especially if you are hiring them for extensive optimization involving your content as well as elements of design. It is well worth it in the end!

At the very least, learn about SEO and do some keyword research before you even hand your website project off to the designer. Make sure you know what your primary keywords are going to be and then make sure your chosen URL name reflects at least one major keyword for your site.

Of course, that URL name should have something of interest in there for the humans as well, since they are the ones choosing to click or not from the search results pages.

Tips For Choosing The Perfect Web Design Company

Sunday, August 19th, 2018

“Do Your Homework” – I bet this is not the first time you have heard this phrase. This is one of the most valuable advice any business guru can offer you. Never take a vital decision without researching, analyzing, and cross checking, i.e. Doing Your Homework / Doing Groundwork for Success. For example: choosing a web development company to design your website. It’s too important a task to risk a hasty decision. Don’t forget you are planning a website that’ll represent you or your company on the internet. The task needs a company you trust. This article will help you find a web design company to whom you can safely entrust this task, while you attend to other pressing business matters.

Portfolio and Organizational Culture

What better way to analyze a firm than to scrutinize their prior projects. Experience is not all it’s made out to be, so don’t go by numbers. Even if they come short on the numbers game, don’t ignore them. Review all their projects and client testimonials; they may have the exact necessary skills that you need for your project.

Once done with their portfolio, check out their employees. Talk with them and ask tough and direct questions such as: How good are you at what you do? How do you update yourself with the latest trends? Do you have certificates to show your industry expertise?

Responsiveness and Affability

Responsiveness – an often overlooked quality in a web design company. How quickly they respond to your inquiry reveals a lot about the company and their work ethics. Keep in mind, it’s not necessary they should respond with detailed answers to the mail or message. Sometimes, a simple acknowledgment would suffice to show the company has applied its mind to the message you have sent, and that you’ll receive a detailed response at the earliest.

Affability – It’s not skill alone that determines the worth of a company. How a firm treats and interacts with its clients show how much they value your business. Don’t trust a company which blindly gives you what you want without ever trying to find ‘what you need’. A good web design company will spend time with you, try to connect with you on a personal level, dig deep to find what you actually need, and constantly ask you the right questions.

Repeat Business

A true mark of a successful web design company is the number of repeat clients they have. Don’t forget to ask this question to the web design company. A high percentage of repeat clients show the company in good light. It proves that the firm’s aim is not just to bag your project, but to deliver satisfactory results so that you become their long term customer.

Price

Price is always a factor to consider; more so if you are just starting your business. It’s wise not to reveal your budget for the project at the start. First, ask what it’ll cost you for the whole project. What other companies are quoting for the same workload? How much would each module of the site cost? Will the total cost also include after launch edits and maintenance? Etc.

Of course, there’ll be other companies ready to offer their services at haft the price. Be wary of such firms, cheap price is no substitute for skilled staff and quality service. Price should be your least important factors while selecting a web design company.

Let’s Hear It For Web 0.1!

Saturday, August 18th, 2018

It’s November 2006. So far the Web 2.0 bubble hasn’t burst. Here’s my attempt to put a pin-prick in it.

Don’t know what Web 2.0 is? It’s the notion that the next phase of web development is based on user-generated content. _You_ don’t have to write it, your visitors will.

– You get a CMS (a Content Management System, like PHPNuke).

– Users write reviews, blogs, forum posts (Webmasterworld.com).

– Search engines index this stuff (Google.com).

– Users tell their pals about it (MySpace.Com).

– You spend a few thousand bucks, or a few million, depending on how good your chief coder is.

– The thing sells itself (Digg.Com).

– You add contextual ads (Google Adsense).

– Fire off a couple of emails a day, and bank your cheques.

For the small-to-medium webmaster, this can be the route to disaster. Here’s my experience.

See, I was in favour of user contribution. Gives people something to _do_ on a site. If it’s any good, they’ll tell their pals. More traffic.

So I have chat rooms, a forum, a MySpace clone, a dating service, contact forms, ebooks, free software, the whole shebang. All humming away, all bringing in links, all keeping my visitors amused and informed.

Only problem is, the set-up time. The maintenance. The customisation. The search engine optimisation. The hacking attempts. The anti-hacking. The bug fixes. The security updates. The swearing filters. The troll kicking. The screeching. The spamming.

More bandwidth, more databases, more time, more money, more worry.

YouTube.com is a good example. Their business model is using pirated content. They have to police users. Bandwidth costs must be huge. Where’s the money going to come from: ads in pirated videos? Gimme a break.

For any web business, the basic questions are:

– What makes the money?

– What helps make the money?

– Where is the net profit coming from?

Could your site be better served by static HTML pages which you update once every six months? If your site is purely informational, it’s worth considering.

My epiphany came when first some Bahraini hackers clobbered a site of mine. I fixed it. Then some Turkish ones had a go. So I changed to a different CMS. So far, so good, until I realised I would have to constantly update this thing.

It then dawned on me that using a text-to-HTML converter (Text2html) and an index generator (dirhtml) meant simple text files could be turned into a basic site quickly.

You write it, format it, tart it up in Dreamweaver, index it, FTP it and voila!; a mini site without the upgrade headaches.

A CMS has some handy features, but pure HTML lets you sleep easier. Easier to move when the poop hits the air-conditioning, too.

Put it this way: which would you rather own when the Nazis are closing in? Damien Hirst’s ‘Shark In A Tank’ or the Mona Lisa?

I’m starting to think before I put stuff up now. Would simple HTML do just as well? Suppose I have to move web hosts? Will I be able to find one that’ll give me ten MySQL databases at the same price as my current host? And all the other features I need? (Answer: No, I’ve looked).

The first rule of computing is KISS; Keep It Simple, Stupid. With all the brouhaha about Web 2.0, I say, let’s hear it for Web 0.1!