Whether an offline or strictly online business, your entire existence in the digital marketing space is anchored by your website. Given how competitive it is on the ‘wild wild web’, you need to work extra hard to be on par with the top players in your industry - and even harder to get a chance to surpass them.
With half of the world’s population able to access the internet and at least 5.5 billion daily searches on Google alone, you don’t need a guru to understand that the web holds massive opportunities for businesses. The peak of internet glory is to make it to the first page of search engine result pages (SERPs) and trump all the competition to become number one.
Unfortunately, only a few pages can make it to the first page and only one can be number one. However, no matter how tough the fight is, it’s one you can’t ignore. For the best chance of getting your site to the top - where you want it to be - you’ll need to get serious about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
However, many businesses don’t even think about SEO before they’ve designed their websites. Your digital marketing strategy includes SEO, social media marketing and content marketing (amongst other activities), which must be spared more than a single thought before your website goes live.
Web design needs to be properly optimised for search. If you are a web designer based in Albany, WA, for instance, your site should pop up when a prospect types in “web design Albany” on a search engine. Nevertheless, there might be other competitors in that area who have taken advantage of several digital marketing strategies to rank high over time. So, what do you do if you never had any solid plans for SEO?
First, understand the basics
Before you even begin to do anything SEO-related, you need to understand precisely what it is and why it matters. In a nutshell, the web would be an ultra-confusing, possibly unusable world of information no one would be able to access (except for tech geeks) if it were not for search engines like Bing and Google.
A search engine allows a user to find information on the web by entering a search term. The search engine then crawls the web and pulls up content it believes to be most relevant, based on the search term entered. As a business or owner of a website, you’ll want more people to see your content. For this to happen, the search engine needs to pull up your website when a user searches for a term which suggests that they’re looking for content or products like yours.
Search engines use algorithms to crawl the web and find the best possible search results for search queries. However, the problem (only for website owners) is that no one is entirely sure what rules these algorithms follow. Now, after years of study and experiments, SEOs have a good idea what they may be. As for where you come in; follow the rules of SEO and keep up with the trends in order to give your website a shot at making it to the top.
What do you need to do next?
Before anything else, you need to outline what your business is about and what exactly it is that you do. This may not be too easy for certain kinds of businesses, but you need to understand your value proposition if you’re going to be able to devise any sort of plan for marketing yourself, whether it’s via social media or SEO. Once that’s out of the way, it’s time to work on your site.
Start with your domain
“Your domain name is your business address on the web; while you’d only live at one physical address at a time, your website can have more than one domain. It’s important to ensure all subdomains and variations of your site correctly lead back to the main site and redirect to the same canonical version of it”, says an SEO specialist from Domains 4 Less. He also added that there's no need to fret about the cost of having to buy more than one domain if need be.
On the subject of domain names, it’s important for yours to relate to what you do (without stuffing keywords in there, of course). If you now feel that you made the wrong choice with your domain, you can still change it. However, you’ll need to think it through first.
Ensure you can be crawled and are accessible
Search engines may have advanced significantly over the years, but they’re not as smart as we are - at least not yet. They need some help finding you and understanding what you do and what to do. For a search engine to understand your website, it needs to be able to read the content on your webpages. Behind the scenes, your main content should be based on text, but of course, you can have a great-looking site by using web design tools like web fonts. Also, check PDFs, videos, images and all other digital content to make sure they are discoverable and can be indexed.
Customise your design layout to suit your site user
You can make a great impression for your business and what you sell via the design layout of your website. You should always remain in touch with the most effective and latest design trends, as you try to keep your layout simple and creatively appealing. Trends you can try right now include a UI interactive design, multi-grid layout, video backgrounds and one-page web design.
Remember, no matter what you do, see to it that user experience remains at the centre of everything. Your goal should be ensuring you have a clear understanding of the personality of your users, because you’ll then be able to build a site that keeps them logged in for longer.
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About the Author
Hello, I am Che and I have been designing websites for over 12 years now for small businesses across the globe.
I have a real passion for helping small businesses achieve their online goals. I am a big believer in educating my clients so that they have the necessary skills to perform daily tasks on their web sites and online. All clients are provided with one on one training, and our training videos can be viewed on our website.
I started CheDesigns back in 2012 when I moved to Australia from the UK with my small but awesome family.
I believe that every small business, just like YOURS, should be able to have an online presence at a reasonable price, but with a website that will help generate leads and sales. I have spent enormous hours developing the perfect website platform that clients can easily use but that also helps gain them success online.
Even after CheDesigns builds your website we will still be here to answer any ongoing questions you might have.