If You Build It

Building a great looking website is not enough, your prospective customers must FIRST be able to find it.

For that to happen your beautiful new website must rank well in search engine results. Otherwise, you have erected a beautiful web site and landed in the middle of a virtual internet desert, where there is little to no visitor traffic.

Not sure how many of you remember the movie, Field of Dreams. Kevin Costner’s little voice kept repeating, “If You Build it, They Will Come”, …referring to the baseball diamond he was compelled to build in his back yard. Finally, after building it, the ghosts of great players start emerging from the crops to play ball, led by “Shoeless” Joe Jackson. – Clearly, this was a successful build!

The parallel to web development is many business owners believe that if they just build a website, customers (they) will come. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. SEO (search engine optimization) rules are rapidly evolving. With the addition of Voice Search (Siri, Alexz, Mobile Search), multi-media screen size adaptation, Wi-Fi, Cellular connectivity and bandwidth (connection speeds), your modern website needs to run more like a Formula 1 car. Competition for the first page of search results is fierce, your website is a very sophisticated element of your businesses marketing/advertising strategy, and it requires an expert to at least, design it.

You need your web design to make a statement on the web AND be easily found. Consider this, compared to a brick and mortar location, even the most expensive custom web design project is a bargain. No long term lease, no demolition costs, no parking issues, no city permits, utilities, fixtures, furnishings, or bad neighbors. A well-designed website is your world-class endurance Sales Representative for your business. Groomed and dressed to your specifications, always on call, 24 Hours a day, 7 Days a week, and impervious to weather, infinitely customizable, inexpensive to maintain, needing no smoke breaks, vacation, or sick days. It is your customized representative, design influenced by and for you, representing your goods, services, and Unique Brand on the web.

So a web site is exactly like those old Western Movie lots with the fake storefronts. From a street-level view, no one can tell what’s behind the facade. Still, MOST of the website’s value resides there, behind the scenes, as opposed to the home page storefront most people see. The home page storefront is critical to getting customers to enter your store or site. However, without a solid structure behind the facade which includes SEO design elements, relevant long-tail keyword-driven content, responsive design (mobile friendly), good navigation, quick loading pages and a multitude of other essential elements required for a solid web development project, you may end up with a beautiful online store that is impossible to find, slow to load pages, and incapable of adapting quickly to a variety of screen sizes.

Why does a well-designed website perform better in search results than a poorly designed one? The short answer, Google Search Rankings (SERP’s – search engine results position). The complete list is too lengthy and technical to go into in this short article. However, I will give you some important elements to consider before setting out to build or re-build your website:

  • You don’t know what you don’t know, and the learning curve can be expensive not just in dollars, but in time delays.
  • Good Web Design is complex. Just like a home, get an architect and a contractor if you plan to live in it for long.
  • SEO principles need to be in place BE-fore you write the content. Otherwise, it’s like driving without a destination, fixing it later will be far more costly.
  • Well designed sites are not that expensive. Really. Whereas a poorly designed site may result in complete business failure and costly rebuild.

Aggressive online marketing strategies directed at a poorly designed website is like gassing up a car with a hole in the gas tank. Unable to convert visitors to sales or leads, regardless of how many visitors pass through.

A good designer can help you translate your vision into a successful presence on the web.

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