web design blog

SEO Isn't Everything - Great Web Design Gets More Sales

The internet marketing industry is in a funny state these days. With the economic downturn it seems every time you turnover a rock underneath is a SEO "expert" or web design company that can "Guarantee" your site on page one in Google. For the sake of brevity we will overlook the fact that most of these guys are salesman who can barely find the power button on their computers, never mind get your site ranking for competitive key words. A major point many SEO "experts" overlook when giving their schpeel is what happens after the client has spent all of that money and successfully landed an organic search visitor on their website. Virtually all of the effort is wasted if the visitor does not convert to a sale in one form or another. Now lets be clear, a "sale" can take many forms depending on the goal of your website, including a contact form submission, a referral, a subscription, a phone call or a monetary transaction to name a few - but getting that sale instead of a bounce depends heavily on the design of the website. How attractive is it? how fast does it load? Is the website easy to navigate and does it greet visitors with what they expect to find? A well-designed website will need to to all of those things effectively to produce the best results.

A growing trend these days with budgetary pressures from all sides, is to go with a templated open source app offered with many hosting accounts and pack it full of keywords to strain for search engine ranking. While a site like this may cost little and may eventually begin to rank for some keywords it will produce a low amount of conversions or visitor loyalty, and many times if the design is substandard compared to the competing websites may actually work to subvert the image of your company.

To create a truly successful website a well rounded approach must be taken. SEO is a major component of any successful site but only a component, other factors that must work well are excellent usability, attractive design and content your targeted visitors will find useful or entertaining. By going the extra mile and having a professional design that reflects our company and your message visitors will reward your website with greater conversions and repeat visits. If you are looking to upgrade your website's image or effectiveness or need a new website please contact the website design pros at IMAGE Web Design for a free consultation.
posted by Glenn Williams on Wed., Aug 25th, 2010 in search engine optimization usability web design

Analytics Matters... Your website visitors are speaking - listen!

One of the most crucial and overlooked tasks many website owners do not do, is reviewing the analytics! Reviewing your website's analytics reports on regular basis is essential . Website owners and webmasters can discover unexpected opportunities, serious errors or a need to improve the content of a page.

For a brand new website the analytics data is useful for tracking your website's progress in visits, time on site and more. A new site can benefit from regular analytics reviewing by allowing the webmaster or content publishers adjust the content to guide the visitor to a conversion and be sure the visitors are shown the essential content for that website. The earlier these adjustments are made the better - many established websites suffer from content that does not get to the point fast enough or usability problems that are getting in the visitors way.

For a well established website, tracking visitor behavior through reviewing analytics becomes even more valuable by showing you what your visitors are REALLY thinking about your website or article. Many times the business owner or web developer assumes "my visitors will look at these pages" and it turns out hardly anyone is actually viewing the page or that they leave immediately after viewing it, a term called a "bounce". These issues once discovered can be corrected and bring the conversion success rate of the web site up fast. Many times the actual visitor tracking shows surprising results and can uncover otherwise missed opportunities.

An example of discovering a hidden opportunity, the website owner or webmaster reviews the analytics data for keywords visitors entered to find your website and the keywords are totally unexpected. Looking back further similar keywords are discovered - as a result the site owner posts an article on the topic of the new key words and receives more visits and new customers as a result.

IMAGE Web design has used analytics data to effectively improve e-commerce conversion rates for online retailers and increase the weekly sales - just by observing some opportunities and some areas that required improvement and making the adjustments.

Reviewing the analytics reports can prevent website owners from spending time and money on items the visitor is not terribly interested in, uncover opportunities or illustrate that a page crucial to your business is not very successful and needs an update. If you are not sure what visitors really think about your website contact IMAGE web design for a review of your website's analytics.
posted by Glenn Williams on Wed., Aug 25th, 2010 in usability web marketing website content

Usability and SEO can work together.

It is important to keep the principle of usability in mind when creating a website because it will help keep visitors on your site and lead to more conversions. More conversions means that your site will produce the result you had hoped for. Just getting visitors should not be the most important goal. It is what the users experience that will help to make a site great or not. These days it is not acceptable to have just an average site. There is just too much competition. What should take precedence in your site design? You do need visitors and you must also make the search engines happy. Luckily, both tasks can be accomplished fairly easily. Just keep in mind that you can reach these two objectives equally.

The confusion arises when marketers and designers make SEO a priority over the design. It is an obvious issue. The site will come up but it is a mess in its design quality. The reverse can be pointed out as well. The design is wonderful but there is little or no organization for content and the sight is invisible to the search engines. Although some techniques very clearly support either usability or search engine optimization- users simply don't care if your page is W3C- compliant or not as long as it loads properly. For example the two objectives will never come into conflict as long as things are proportionately balanced.

Usability ImprovementSEO Benefit
Do research to see how your users are finding youCombines with keyword research
Develop landing pages that are best for the targeted search queryOptimize the pages around the keywords
Build a large network of links leading to your site so more people can find it. Must be relevant links.Helps create an expert quality about your site.
Make navigation clear and easy to followAllows search engine spiders to navigate your site more easily
Write clear copy that states exactly what you offerHelps search engines determine the meaning of the pages.
Use words that clarify termsHelps relevancy of the searched terms
Use a fast stable serverSpeeds the search engines so they do not get caught up on missing pages.

So when you are thinking about the principles of SEO and Usability and which is more important. The answer is that they are both important and necessary for the success of a site. Build the best site you can from the ground up and like a well designed building it will stand the test of time.
posted by Glenn Williams on Wed., Aug 25th, 2010 in usability



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