Purchasing a website or getting a website designed: Traps for new players

Purchasing a website

Getting someone to make you a website.

If you are looking for a web presence yet are unsure how to assess the potential of the web designer you want to run with, then here are some tips.


Get a local web designer

Its far easier to go and talk to a person, to get your ideas across , when you can have face to face discussions.

Check out their websites first

See what their website design style is, and have a look at their portfolio of sites.

There may be a number of website designers, choose a site from their portfolio you like and specify that website designer.


Demand placement in Google

This will sort the professionals from the enthusiasts.

As part of your payment demand placement of your site in Google, in the first 2 pages (at least) with the explicit keywords for your site, within 6 months of the site being indexed.

This is just as important as the page layout itself.

With this sort of control you will be guaranteed in getting a site that is well made and focused.

Don't get sucked in by bells and whistles

Just because something looks good, like a Flash animation, doesn't mean that it helps your site.

Flash is poorly indexed in Google, so anything you make in flash will be poorly indexed. That includes text and links.

In New Zealand many of not most of us are still on dialup, Flash can be slow to download and drive people away from your site. It certainly has for me.

The most pathetic sites are those where the Flash component is the entire page or text.

Read this article HERE . You really don't need it.


Learn the key principles of web design yourself.

Don't just trust a web designer to make a site to your specifications, learn these key points below and see how they are implemented on your site.


1 Google is life

Getting indexed in the search engine is life for your site, A good website will have been tuned for search engine indexing.

Such tuning will include

  • The correct use of Heading tags (H1, H2, H3 etc),
  • The correct use of the Title tag, and names of your pages,
  • The correct formatting of graphics
  • No illegal techniques used to scam the search engines.
Over recent years, I have frequently encountered sites made for clients that are just plain bad.

Unfortunately the purchasers of such sites are unaware their money has been wasted.

Recently a friend asked for help in deciding on a web designer and I checked out a few of the sites this organization had made.

The first site I encountered looked good, however when the name of the organization, or their product was entered into Google, there were no hits.

A waste of effort by the designer and the owner

Things seemed better with the next site. However their crucial text was inside a graphic, which ruined its ability to be indexed.

Although you find the organization if you type their name into the search engine, if you type in their product, nothing appears.

All that work is wasted, a nice site but few visitors.

For another friend I assessed their site and found that not only was it not in the first page of Google, it wasn't even in the first 10 pages.

 Again, a waste of a website, customers were never attracted, what they needed was not delivered. Yet a site with a basic design, rated 2nd on the page.

I fear that this situation is common on the Internet.

Business opportunities are lost owing to sloppy design, poor skills, and clients unknowing how bad their sites are.

Customers are attracted by flashy design and animations, not knowing that they have a car without an engine.

 Eventually they will become disillusioned and discouraged at their poor showing on the net, giving up without realizing they were had, by poor design.

Fundamentally webpage design is primarily concerned with getting indexed in the search engines. This is called Search Engine Optimization. More help on this topic can be found on my Search Engine Optimization page.

2 Content is king

You need text on your topic, and lots of it.

The text must be written with your key words entwined throughout.

On the internet you must write around your key words including them often in your text.

3 Update your site regularly

Stale content loses visitors.

Its hard enough to get people to come to your site, if you are not updating your content they will leave and never return.

4 Beware of illegal techniques

A few web designers under pressure to have the site indexed in Google, may resort to illegal tricks to get it indexed.

I came across this recently with the parent of a web designer talking about how his daughter put text the same color as the background on the site to get better rankings in Google.

This naive abuse will only serve to have the website banned from the search engine with the work done wasted.