If a search engine user was to type the query such as “website design Dallas” they would most likely be presented with hundreds of options to choose from. Keep in mind that there is only room for 10 organic results at the top of the search engines. In order for somebody to stumble across a website that is 15th from the top, they would have to click to the next page of results.
The difference between somebody that builds a website and a professional website designer is that the person that merely builds the site will probably not have much of a chance to reach the top 10 of the search results.
Defining a Professional
One of the images that many people imagine when they hear the word “professional” is a well-dressed person with perfect hair, white teeth, and glowing skin. The truth is that it is much easier to dress and look like a professional than it is to actually be one.
A person that is a professional in their field of work is a person that gets paid to do what they do. Whether they are an independent contractor, an employee of a large company or they own their own business they make a living from providing their services.
In the world of web development, the only way a person will make a living at what they do is if they are good at it and they know what they are doing. Although there are plenty of imposters out there that claim to be professionals, the one thing that will define a true professional is the reputation of success that they have.
Although people that build websites and publish them because of a hobby may be very talented and skilled, if they are only aware of the surface knowledge of websites, they (generally speaking) will not be able to provide an effective website that earns money.
Professional Web Design
There are many levels of web design skills out there. There are some web designers that create their sites out of code that is typed out into a digital document and saved to the proper extension, and there are designers that use robust designer platforms such as Dreamweaver. In any case, when a website designer knows what they are doing, they will make sure to structure the site in a way that is most beneficial for the health of the site and the way that it operates on the internet.
Some of the major components of successful professional web design are:
- Fast loading images
- Above the fold content
- Eye-catching titles
- Call to action placement
Although just about anybody on the internet can create a website with a “free” web design application such as Wix, only a skilled designer will understand how important it is to grab the attention of a visitor as soon as they enter the site.
In addition to grabbing the attention, the second phase is to engage the user and lead them on a journey towards a conversion. It is after the conversion that will determine whether or not the conversion leads to retention…which is even better.
Skilled web design goes much deeper than there mere looks of a website, and understands that there are literally thousands of details that can make or break the efficacy of a website.
Planning and Understanding Goals
In simple terms, most business websites are after one goal: to make more money. However, just because this is the goal of the site, does not mean it will be achieved. There are a number of factors that have to be considered before the site is even launched into action:
- What is the message of the site?
- What is the target audience?
- Will the brand be the focus or the merchandise?
- What are the keywords?
It may seem like a cut-and-dry operation to simply build the site and make money, but if the site is not built correctly, there will be a ton of problems down the road.
One of the biggest mistakes that inexperienced web developers make is that they do not take into consideration the pillar keywords of the site until after it is built. What they don’t realize is that for every pillar keyword there needs to be a specific landing page for it in order to compete with other businesses out there.
In addition to keywords, the brand name, the people that will be visiting the site, what the site is offering, and the overall purpose of the site have to be pondered and considered while putting the pieces of the site together.
One of the questions that have to be asked is whether or not people looking for what you have will be searching specifically for your brand, or they will be looking for your products in particular.
For example, if you are selling shoes and your brand name has not yet reached a level of popularity that demands attention, if you were to focus merely on your brand name when you launch your site instead of “shoes” you may run into a bit of a problem.
Where the search volume for your brand name may be less than 5 searches per month, the word shoes could have a search volume of upwards of 1,000 per day. Although the keyword difficulty for “shoes” will be much higher than your brand name, you could try using the two keywords together and see if your results get any traction.
During the planning stage of the web design key factors such as brand name, products, and relevant keywords have to be addressed and massaged into the fabric of the website in order to obtain search results as quickly as possible.
The Function of the Website
There are many ways a website can be used. They can act as a portal for information, websites can be a platform to sell merchandise on, and sites can also be built to attract a certain type of person and direct them to another site. In fact, there are some websites that are built solely to be affiliate portals for a collection of businesses.
Identifying and implementing the main function of the website from the very beginning is the best way to move forward with the rest of the creation of that site.
Designing and implementing a website to perform a certain function is not as easy as it sounds. Functionality and search engine visibility are not always readily compatible. A skilled designer will be able to create the site on a platform that is most beneficial for the type of site that it is, and factor in characteristics such as search engine visibility and optimum conversion rates.
Beating the Competition
One of the most difficult tasks for a web designer to achieve is top-level search engine visibility. If your web designer does not know anything about SEO it is time to find a new one. Because there are millions, if not trillions, of websites that are live on the world wide web today it is important that you can get seen in search results on top of those.
In addition to creating a welcoming environment for the visitors who land on the pages of the site, the designer of the site must understand how to get that site in the search engines in order to be discovered in the first place. Most of the people that go to websites find them in the results of a search engine.
There is a lot of competition out there and just because you believe that you are a loner in your market does not mean that there are not a thousand other websites out there that are selling or offering the same thing you are.
Some of the key elements that are necessary to achieve success with a website are:
- Search engine visibility
- Keyword domination
When it comes to search engine dominance, only the sites that have been designed with search engine visibility in mind will be the ones that dominate the top of the search results. In the beginning, the only tool you will have is on-page SEO structure until you get some backlinks, so you have to be sure that your site is created in a way that promotes each page that is live and available to the world.
Where an inexperienced web designer will create pages to look good on the outside where people can see them, a professional will design each page with a plan for keyword promotion in every aspect of the page.
Titles, headings, links, content, alt tags, and everything in between. The more the merrier when it comes to the major search engines. What this means is that in addition to great images and provocative calls to action placement every piece of content that is visible to the users, and the content that is not visible has to be taken into consideration and optimized for the best search results.
All in all, at the end of the day the website with the best structure will win in search results. Without search results, there are fewer chances of conversions and goals. Only a professional web designer that has the experience to build successful sites will understand how to create every page with purpose. The question is what is a bigger waste? To spend the extra money it takes to hire a professional, or to risk all of the time it will take to get actual results from the creation of a non-professional?