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 designerIts 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 firstSee 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 GoogleThis 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 whistlesJust 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 lifeGetting 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.
Text is life
To produce a successful website you will need tightly written text.
The secret of search engine optimization is to work out the terms that a person will type into a search engine to find your site first, then write those words into your page.
These words are also used in your meta tags, your headings, and your page names as well.
You can check out a site for its ability to be read by the search engines; using the Google Poodle.
This tool shows you the code as the search engine bots see it. If you can understand the words then they will as well.
Learn about your website StatisticsEvery hosted website of any worth will have a statistics package with it. learn how to use it and what each part means.
If you don't have access to your statistics ask for it when ordering your site.
What website statistics will showWith the stats you can track web users, where they come from and where they visit. You can see:
- What search engines are indexing your site.
- Which pages on your site are the most popular.
- What other sites link to yours
- Which keywords are indexed on your site
- How many people visit your site by hour, day, and month
What to watch out for on the netGoogle have a good repository of information on what makes a good website. Check this out HERE
Why pages are not indexed. Here are the main points.
- If your pages are dynamically generated. You have a website made in a language like PHP. This is hard for the search engine to index. My Message board (click link above) is in PHP, and although it is indexed well in Google, that's because the links are in my HTML front page. The most indexable sites are in plain old vanilla HTML.
- If you employ doorway pages These are front pages with no, or little text, that lead to your main site. A good description of Doorway pages, can be found HERE.
- If your page uses frames Frames are where one part of your page scrolls, and the rest is fixed. Frames are made up of 2 or 3 separate pages. Search engines hate them, yet they are popular choice to the HTML impaired. Here is a good link on why frames are evil
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.
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.
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.