“We are concerned about the growing number of frustrated business clients on board telling us similar distressing stories. Many businesses have paid and are paying web designers for websites that are simply not designed for search engine optimisation in mind.” This from Krisztian Panczel of Web Connection Pty Ltd, an Australia-based internet marketing company. Panczel and colleague John Mu identified several reasons why business websites are not ranking as well as they could be, and the failure to design for SEO is chief among them.
There is good news and bad news. The good news is that research shows that most business owners know that an online presence is crucial. The not-so-good news is that they do not have the expertise to develop and design sites that are effective in marketing their brand and products or services. The just plain bad news is that often this lack of knowledge can lead them to hire the wrong designer for the job. To be clear, it is not the fault of the business owners. They are experts in their particular business and shouldn’t be expected to know everything about web design. If they did, they’d just do it themselves! But too often, they do not know the right questions to ask.
According to Web Connection, businesses often assume that all designers are created equal – or at least possess the same internet marketing knowledge. No. Mu says, “We find that the reason why[clients] are not getting traffic to their websites is because they have paid a cheap and nasty web designer that has not made the website SEO friendly.” Further, they do not have marketing experience that is needed to convert any traffic to sales. Mu says that it is sometimes cheaper and easier just to build an entirely new site for the clients who have been burned by bad designers.
Before hiring, take the time to learn the basics of design so you know what to ask – and which answers you need to hear. Also, ask any prospective designer to provide a list of sites he or she has worked on and a list of references you can check. And check them. Check the sites. Are they SEO-friendly? Can you find them and navigate them easily? You can find resources online that provide you with questions to ask, but also make sure to specifically inquire about SEO and marketing experience. Focus on this, and pin them down on details. You can get a feel for their level of knowledge, and if you start to hear too many buzzwords and not enough actual content, then cross them off your list.
Hiring a competent, experienced designer does tend to cost more initially. However, if you have an optimized website that draws traffics and helps you convert that traffic, you are saving – and making – money.