It is true that once upon a time, web design was simply that – the design of a website, how “pretty” or appealing it was, how it reflected a company’s brand, image, or message. Today, it’s so much more that it’s almost impossible to explain.

A website should be the heart and soul of your company; it’s the center of all that you do, both online and off. A company’s website is the first place the majority of new customers learn about your business, what you offer, how long you have been in business, why your product/service is a better choice than your competitor’s, and more. Perhaps even more important is the fact that your website will also be a point of reference, the last place a consumer will check before making the decision to call or email you, make a purchase, or sign up for your newsletter/free eBook, or other offer. Your website should lead customers in making their decisions through great content and blog writing, ultimately converting them to leads and buyers, long-term customers.

Why do we say that a website is an investment rather than a “cost” of doing business? Consider that today, most consumers user mobile devices (cell phones, laptops, tablets, etc.) to search for information and products. Without a modern website design, you are missing out on a tremendous opportunity, and countless customers! Today’s consumers are on the go; they don’t flip through the Yellow Pages or drive all around town from one store to another to find what they’re looking for. THEY GO TO THE WEB, and your company had better be there!

Think of it this way: would you allow an interior designer to build your home? Of course not. Interior designers are experts at interior design, not construction. In the same way, you do not want a website designer with no skill in coding, optimization, and other components of sound SEO to build your website, as it would “fall down” in rankings. When considering a website for your small business, the process should be approached much in the same way you approach building any structurally sound property – the decisions you make in employing a professional or acquiring capital equipment is vital to the success of your business, as is the SEO firm you choose to build your website.

Above all, don’t let yourself get “sucked in” by the creative design or artwork of web designers and creative agencies. It’s easy to fall in love with a design, but if you are the only one who sees it because of its shortcomings from an SEO standpoint, what’s the point? A website is an essential investment in your business, but investing smart is key.

One additional point: there are hundreds of web builder websites that allegedly make it possible for you to build your own website at a cheap or affordable cost. These sites are designed to sell an “affordable” website to thousands of business owners who feel they cannot afford a true web designer and SEO firm to perform the work, which is how these companies make their money. While they are affordable, they will not perform well with search engines unless you are highly knowledgeable and capable in current SEO strategies that are essential to higher ranking and visibility.

The same goes for website templates and themes; not only are these templates re-sold thousands of times which means your company could end up with a website that looks exactly like thousands of others, but a website that is not properly coded to appeal to your target audience. These websites are coded in a more general sense, to appeal to the widest possible audience. As a web designer or small business, your website must be coded to your unique and specific needs! When it comes to web design and SEO, a “one size fits all” solution simply doesn’t exist.

Posted by Charles Yarbrough

Charley has been working as a webmaster since 1998. Since then, he has had his hands in thousands of websites and has helped millions get online through a company he partially owns called Web Host Pro.

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