Part 1: Web Design Companies
Part 2: Expectations & Realities
Part 3: Wants vs Needs vs Budget
Part 4: Build Everyone’s Site the Same, but claim Originality, with Epilogue
Expectations & Realities:
This isn’t about what you want to put on a site. That will be next week’s blog. This is about your site’s overall performance, and what you expect to see in search engine results. It is also about the realities of those expectations.
This is basic, but important. Responsive websites are always going to happen. Mobile First websites are always going to happen. Is it that simple? Right this second, YES! The future, as the past has shown, means changes will happen.
Website speed is important and can be a budget buster if you make the wrong choice. It is a needed factor, but not all web hosting companies are equals. They also change over time, which slows down the website. Guess who gets blamed then? Not their adding more people to a server over its capacity. Not their changing parameters so you end up with a slower site so they can sell you a higher costing package. You and your site, which once ran fast on their server, are to blame. There are some very good web hosting companies out there. You can look into them by going to my blog entry on Web Hosting.
Optimized SEO, important yes, but not always going to happen. Sounds strange, huh? Let’s look into that part of it and see why.
You want to be on the first page of Google. If you are near the bottom of the first page, you want to rank higher up. In essence, you want to rank #1 on Google. An easy concept to dictate, but there is a lot of work that needs to go into it to have a chance. Yes, have a chance. How many reading forgot about Bing and Yahoo? In today’s world, most forget them (not BWD) because Google is King.
Ranking high in Google is always going to be the expectation of every single person or company. The reality of it is, how far are you willing to go to get there?
I’ll use myself as an example. My big term is, “boston web design company”. In the Google Desktop Search Results I come up #1 in Maps, and number 5 in the organic searches, out of 171 million results. There are two, “Top Web Designer” lists that show up. For most, people will only find you through the Organic Search, as there aren’t lists (some you pay to be on) for most businesses out there. I come up #3 for web design companies in that instance. Whether it is #3 or #5, it is out of 171 million results!
On Mobile Searches I come up #2 in maps (#1 is a paid ad), and #4 in the Organic Search results, with the top one going to a list. See the two examples below and click on each image to see the full screenshot view:
How did BWD get there? How do we maintain it? This is where the realities come into play. I can adjust what is needed to keep myself on top when Google changes their search algorithm. I can go into the Google Search Console and clear any errors, or 404 pages that come up. I can make sure I put the free block of information on my Google Business Page that show up on the right part of the screen when someone types in your company name (see example below).
I also built my websites with SEO in mind from the beginning. As Google changes, I have to go back in and change my site as well. Most people are one and done. They got their SEO done and now they’re good to go. There was a time that was true, but not anymore.
I write my text to be search engine friendly, and I make sure there is enough on the site to help me stay near the top. Terms change, so don’t my text and meta tags. I make each page’s seo to match up through and through. Title tags, text, alt tags on images and more.
My XML Sitemap. I can keep up with adding new pages (blogs and portfolios) and update Google immediately, by uploading and then submitting the new sitemap. I can run my analytic reports when I need to, not just when I remember to. 🙂
I can keep up with my social media, but in areas where it is needed, just not everything under the sun. For example, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ and Blogger are the ones that I use to help me not just have a presence, but have links to big names which help me out in my search results. I don’t use Instagram, Snapchat or the others, because for my business model, they really don’t do anything for me. Having every social media outlet, when they don’t apply to your core business model, is more work than the benefit of having it. Belonging to a social media outlet that you don’t update will have your customers asking, “why bother linking to it?”.
I can keep on top of everything because it costs me time, and in this case time is money made because people find me. For a customer, there is a cost and how much can you afford? Let’s break that down.
1) Building a new site? A lot of this can be built into it. Where it doesn’t always work out is when a customer wants the design, not the text to be what is being showcased. Google states your text on the page is the most important factor for how high you could go. Minimizing the text, making it just fluff text, will hurt you. Then the expectations you have for ranking high in the search engines just lost the most important part. That is the reality.
What about keeping up with the changes the search engines make? Small changes they make you can probably get by. The huge ones (Mobile First, SSL Certs) you need to make changes.
2) To blog or not to blog, and how often? Blogging can be a big help to you in the search engines. If you are a business, you are going to use industry terms. You can then cross post them on all of your social media outlets, widening the blog’s reach, along with your website’s. Will you stay steady with it though? Blogging every day or every week can burn someone out. Blogging to a point where people will want to come back is the goal. You need to set enough time to blog at a minimum, once a month. More so if you land a big contract, have a story to tell now vs later. You can help yourself with time, but will you keep up with it if you try to overexpose yourself.
3) You’re just staring out. You want to be on the front page so bad. Out of 171 million results, I am able to maintain a front page presence. Where this is my 22nd year of building the web, I have that built in presence going for me. Where you have to face all that is there before you if it is a new site. It seems daunting. It can be. Not all companies will go the extra mile to stay on top, to get to the top. If you do, you can climb over the competitors.
In the end you have the expectation that you will rank near the top in Google, your website should run as fast as your competitors, and should look as good or better than what they have. All of these are reasonable expectations, until the budget comes into play.
Expectations Based on Your Competitors
We’ve gone over many of the, “why you may not rank as high as your competitor” above, with the biggest roadblock not being discussed. What did they do/pay to get to where they are now, and will your budget cover it? In many cases, if the site is built smartly from design to text, the answer is YES! The design (responsive/mobile first) is always going to be in place with a new site. To find you in the search engines though, well that will always be the hardest part. The tools and know how are out there (excluding Wix and other “sounds good web design companies where sameness is not your friend… discussed in depth in Part 4 of this series).
How much time and money is going to determine the Expectations vs the Realities of this part of the Web Design Investment Series.
It is a lot to take in, especially the, “will it fit in your budget?”. A good web designer or SEO person will let you know what is needed to make this happen, and how maybe some of it can be done in stages. If your website is an extension of the business and not the driving force, then stages makes much more sense budget-wise.
Wants vs Needs vs Budget, will be posted on October 2nd.
Beyond Web Design is a Boston Website Designers Agency specializing in Content Management Systems such as WordPress. Call 617-328-6844 for any questions you need answered!