Putting together a website for your business can seem like quite a challenge. There’s a long list of things you need to think about, including:
- what you want the website to say
- the kind of image you want the website to project
- the technical side of getting your site built and ‘hosted’ so that it’s available on the internet
- how you’re going to attract attention to your website
Unless you’re an expert yourself, you’re probably going to want help with at least some of these – and a web design company is a natural starting point.
A website designer should be able to take care of the ‘look’ of the site – how it uses colours, different typefaces, pictures and so on. A good web designer will also be able to help with how the pages of your website fit together, making it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for.
But what about search engine optimisation (SEO)?
A lot of people feel that SEO – making your website visible in search engine results – is a completely separate issue, more to do with the actual website content.
In fact, almost everything you do with your website can have implications for SEO, including its design. For example:
- a well-organised website makes it easier for search engines to see what content you have – improving your chances of showing up in search results
- ‘exciting’ designs – such as lots of images or Flash animation – can hurt SEO, as they can make it difficult for search engines to identify what your web pages are about
So as a minimum, you need to use a web designer who understands how design affects SEO and how to avoid design mistakes.
What other skills am I going to need?
A website designer may not be the ideal person to advise on some of the other factors influencing SEO. Designers will be strong on understanding how things look, but won’t necessarily also be skilled at writing copy. And while good website designers understand the technical implications of their designs, they may not be the best people to actually build the website.
For a really effective website, you’ll need a team of people who can work together, handling everything from web design to website build, content and SEO strategy. If a web design company offers all these skills, that’s great. If not, make sure you get extra help to cover any weaknesses.