Of course, if it were as simple as one tool, or one set of tools, solving all of the challenges that any business faces, it would all be easy. Everyone would buy the applicable suite and succeed—or else choose not to buy it and fail. In fact, many SEO providers and advertisers would have you believe this is the case. They promote a particular product or service as a single solution for everyone’s business needs. They treat web design as either irrelevant or a basic commodity that works the same in every instance. They talk first, and expect you simply to buy what they are selling.
Real website design solutions never come out of a cookie cutter approach. 1st in SEO takes the time to find individualized solutions for all of your SEO needs. We work with you to first find out who you are, where your business needs lie, and what we can do with your online presence to help you get there. After all, no one knows your company better than you do. We do not presume to answer your questions before we know what those questions are, so we ask.
Once we understand your website design needs, we can create the right solutions for your situation. We will set you up with the right web page construction and the right optimization strategy for you. Whether you focus on brick and mortar, e-commerce, or both, we will build your website design to get you the results you want.
Since GPS technology came into ubiquitous use, we have grown accustomed to getting point to point directions for any trip in a car. Instead of gathering maps and plotting out every highway and back road we will encounter, we just plug in a destination and hit the road. We use automated tools and satellite links to guide us to wherever we need to go. We sit back and listen to a computerized voice; hear invented annoyance every time we miss a turn or take a detour; and follow the pre-mapped route until we arrive.
What we never think about in this process is the extent of the mapping work that underlies the apparently automatic guidance. Every road is captured and mapped in tremendous detail, and the directional data updated constantly. We don’t see all of the work, all of the coding and components that go into the product or app or embedded guidance system. All we know is that we can drive almost anywhere without getting lost.
Building your optimized website works in much the same way. You don’t just take everything out of a box and have it work for you without planning carefully what you need done. Before you start with your web design, you need to have a sense of where you are going, and then you need to build out the map. What content will you display, and in what order? How can you give guidance to your customers, and how can you best set the search engines up to lead them to you so they can do so?
You begin by defining clearly what you do, and why. Your website should be able to tell a story of you, in a way that is compelling to your customers. You need to create page titles and headings and metadata that use impactful keywords and meaningful content that builds on the concepts that give framework to your business. And you need to lay out a web structure that supports and emphasizes that framework, that leads your customers through your content and gives them the information and the ability to take the actions you want them to take.
At 1st in SEO, we strive first to understand where you want to lead your customers. We take the time to really understand your story, and use that as the starting point to design your web presence. From there, we work not only for you, but with you to create a framework and web design that will work for you. Together, we will develop a plan to bring you the business success you deserve.
Mobile search has surpassed PC-based searches in traffic and importance. While you still need a web presence that looks impressive on a computer screen, you also have to be functional and attractive on the smaller screens. Tablets and smartphones are everywhere, and are only becoming more powerful. Your website design has to take this into account.
One key effect this produces is the importance of designing for local search. The most common mobile searches involve how to find a particular business or kind of business. Setting up your design to bring in location data (name, address, and phone number) is critical to your ability to take advantage of this trend. Moreover, building your site to emphasize your city and your neighborhood helps drive your local search results, letting you not only pull in local searches, but display clearly for those searching how they can find you.
In addition, your website has to be optimized for a good viewing experience on mobile devices. The tool that does the most to make this possible is responsive web design. In a nutshell, this strategy sets your website up to appear differently depending on the kind of device used to access your site. The most basic part of this is resizing. A page of your site can be designed to fit onto different sizes of screens, and to shift between a landscape view that works best on most computers and a portrait view that makes sense on a smartphone. It must allow clear display on either kind of device of your name, your content titles, and your menu bar.
Also crucial to a responsive web design is your front-loading and organizing of key information. Where you can display several columns of content on a PC or laptop, you may need the screen to change to a toggling view for mobile. You also need to direct the most important information, or summaries of your content, to the top of your pages. This gives someone not only the ability to move from screen to screen, but a reason to do so. Cliffhangers work well in literature, but when someone is working to get information quickly, you don’t want to frustrate them in that goal.
Finally, for a responsive web design to work, it has to be set up in a way that looks good on both kinds of devices. Creating a site that looks good on one but mediocre on another, or just looks average in all formats, will not get you where you want to be. We work diligently to ensure a great user experience in any viewing format, and set you up with a design that can help you succeed regardless of how your potential customers look at your website. You don’t want to be okay in several areas. 1st in SEO will help you create and use a design that looks great and works well in every format.
Overall, your web design must consider two audiences: search engines and customers. When you consider that your goal is ultimately conversions, though, it becomes clear that you need to build something your customers will appreciate. You need to get them there, but if someone visiting your website doesn’t like the experience, you have blown the opportunity.
Web designers who understand this might be divided into two primary focuses: UI, or User Interaction; and UX, or User Experience. The division isn’t perfect, as there is a great deal of crossover between the two categories. Moreover, many of the definitions out there of each are inaccurate or misleading. Still, they provide useful breakdowns in terms of what you need to consider to keep your potential customers reading and convert their visits into sales and actions in your favor.
A UI specialist, generally speaking, focuses on the look and layout of the website. How do the fonts work, and how well does the menu bar show what matters for site navigation. UI design builds on the feel that a page gives a customer. This can mean putting the most important site elements and links in places where a user will most easily see them and be able to navigate to key sections of the website. UI design lines up all of the visual elements of the site to make the user comfortable from a visual perspective.
A UX designer, in contrast, focuses on the feel of your website. Where the UI designer wants it all to look good, the UX stays tuned in to how well it works, on each page and between sites. A UX approach looks at how one page moves to the next, how well the links work at directing the user through the site. This design work measures site speed, ensuring you won’t lose potential customers because of load times, and looks at different dynamics for searching on a computer, a tablet, or a smartphone. It always comes back to how well everything works for those who come to your site. If the site functions well and helps a site visitor become a customer, your site will achieve your goals for it.
Distinguishing between the two presents a false dichotomy in some ways. For you to succeed, your site needs to both look good and function smoothly. What this means varies from company to company. Clarity works better than obfuscation, and a cleaner look tends to give users a better overall experience, but you also need to be able to present the content your customers need, and to develop enough within your site to demonstrate your expertise to people and to search algorithms.
1st in SEO understands the importance of getting your website design right, from both an experience perspective and an interface perspective. Taking the time to understand your business and your customers allows us to create an interface and an experience that is right for you.
WordPress provides by far the most popular web design platform. Over 25 percent of the top 10 million websites in the world use it for their structure. Simply put, it is a fantastic tool, with features that make search engine optimization much easier than it used to be. Still, like any tool, you need to understand how it works and treat it as a starting point, not the end of your efforts to design for SEO. With some understanding and some customization, though, it can help you go a long way toward SEO success.
WordPress comes with a multitude of plug-ins and themes. When approaching this, you want to choose carefully, and test what you choose. Some plug-ins, for instance, might slow down your website. They all change your code in some way, so you need to test and adjust to ensure they are not doing so to your detriment. This means testing speed, checking to ensure you have not altered anything that will hurt your rankings, and making sure that it provides a UX enhancement rather than setting you back with your site visitors.
Themes, too, can be tricky. In addition to the look, you want to make sure you aren’t bringing in unintended links that might harm your SEO. Check on all of the code and investigate the source of your theme. If you cannot disable links in a WordPress theme, you should probably choose something else.
Further, your theme should, from a UI standpoint, enhance the presentation of your content. A design that looks good for a quilting business may not be right for an auto dealership. You should choose your fonts, your images, and your frames intentionally, not only for the feel in the abstract, but in terms of the concrete purpose of your site. It should also not be so overwhelming that it detracts from the content you provide. Internet marketing and SEO are content-driven, and will only become more so over time. When the form your site takes fits with its function and purpose, you are moving in the right direction.
Coding titles and headings correctly, and embedding keywords properly in your site’s metadata, also makes a big difference. Search engines usually display titles in the search results, so you need to create titles that show just what each page is about. In addition, front-loading headers and key information will help Google and other search engines capture the most important data about your site. The design within your content can have just as much effect as the overall layout, and in terms of driving traffic, it can have even more.
WordPress provides the means and opportunity for your site to take off quickly, as long as you are working with someone who knows the ins and outs of the software. It looks deceptively simple, and while it does streamline much of what you need to do, understanding how it works and how to maximize its power matters. Working with 1st in SEO can help get you to the next level. We leverage the
Technology never stops growing. The designs that work well today may become obsolete in a matter of years or even months. WordPress updates constantly, creating new opportunities and new potential pitfalls. And the devices for which we design today may well disappear tomorrow, replaced by technology we can scarcely fathom.
Because of the constantly moving target, you should never consider your website design finished. You need a trusted partner to help you engage with current trends and stay abreast of new ones. Each day you either move ahead or fall behind, and keeping up can be challenging.
1st in SEO understands that, however great the work is that we do with you, your sustained growth and success is what matters most. When we take an engagement with you, we want to be your source of SEO web design for the long haul. We study every day the developments in design technology and how they affect SEO needs. Our experience can get you where you want to be today, but our dogged focus on what comes next can prepare us to help you drive to tomorrow.
Contact 1st In SEO today to review our website design services and move toward sustained SEO success.