Many people everyday make the decision to overhaul their website. They attempt it themselves or put it in the hands of individuals they trust to do a better job. With so many CMS programs and ease of access through software, more and more people are attempting to design websites themselves without the aid of professionals. In some cases this works, as the “bells and Whistles” are not necessary for the job the site needs to do, however there are many factors that must be considered if you plan to truly drive people to your website, and in most cases professional help will assist you in avoiding many headaches down the road. In this article I will focus on the things that must be considered behind the scenes of your website. These things should all be considered and included when professional help is hired to do the job. Make sure you get your money’s worth and be educated on what a professional site redesign should include!
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a term heard often, everywhere you look in this industry there is offers to improve your SEO quickly, but buyer beware. SEO is not something you can simply set and forget, or expect an easy fix for. Many things influence SEO and professional help often goes a long way. With the evolution of the way search engines operate SEO is an ever-changing game that must be kept up with to avoid falling behind. When employing someone to build your website, a conversation about SEO and traffic targeting should be had before anything else gets done. You should identify your audience and build your content around what they are searching for, and the products and/or services you offer. This content should be planned out to revolve around the keywords that your audience will use to find you. Beyond that, update your content as much as possible! Make sure that new discoveries in your field do not make your content irrelevant, or outdated. Generate content around innovations and news, and as always provide a constant stream of updates.
The number one thing you can do to ensure SEO is being handled properly in your new site is to be educated! There are many services out there that will with a touch of a button ensure you that all SEO aspects are considered in your site. You can use this information to closely follow your updates and make sure nothing was left behind.
Another objective to consider in a redesign is ease of use. This is a new breed of thinking when it comes to the extensive world web design. A website should be user friendly, intuitive, and informative. Users will be less likely to stay on your site if they find it hard to navigate and find the information they need. The user experience can in some ways influence your SEO as well. When looking at your new site, test it on as many people as possible and identify problems early on. People browse the internet in different ways that would likely surprise you, and those browsing methods will prove useful in designing a superior website.
Ease of use is also important to consider in the site’s management. It was once industry standard to pay reoccurring fees for your website. These fees were in some cases simply for hosting and in other cases for site updates no matter how large or small. Web designers charged these fees as a way to generate ongoing revenue, and people had few other choices, as updating websites was quite the daunting task to the novice. Not anymore, your website should have a CMS system in place, that allows anyone, at any location, the power to update your site without going through the web designer. There is no longer a reason to wait on other people for your fresh data, and there is no time to lose when publishing your data. Make sure that a plan is in place to utilize a CMS of some sort. There are many out there and it is important that you experience the CMS interface before you commit to one, as it will be your main source for managing your site.
Analytic services are everywhere, and often free of charge to a certain degree. All of the major search engines offer analytics, and it is a fairly simple procedure to install these analytic tracking codes into your site. Your website should be equipped with analytic software no matter what. With out any form of analytics you have no idea what your average user is doing. Analytics can track what browser a person is using, what pages they look at and how long they stay on each page. This information may sound trivial but it is as valuable as the website itself. Upon identifying what people are doing on your website, you can start to improve areas that either aren’t being browsed, or optimizing popular pages to better engage the people that view your site.
Social Media should be thought of as an extension of your new site. Many times people spend tons of time and money redesigning their website and forget about their social media presence. Your social media accounts should resemble your web site, and your web/graphic designer should be able to do this quickly. This instills trust in people, and lets them know that your social media account is just as reliable as your website. Your web designer should include the aesthetics of your social sites as part of a web design package.
There are obviously many things to consider when redesigning your website. The best practice is to be informed. Read up on SEO and make sure your designer is on top it. Research the software being used and avoid costly surprises, and always remember, only pay for services that you can put into words. Sky-high hosting fees are the thing of the past, and site updates should be as easy as typing into word processing software. The bottom line, web design is a much different game then it was just five years ago. It has evolved and will continue to do so, so do not get stuck in the past.