What Is A Website?
Disclaimer: This is NOT a “how-to” blog post about building a website.
It’s MUCH more important than that.
This article is about the significance of understanding the purpose of your website. Only after you’ve grasped this concept are you ready to begin the Web Design process.
Bizeeo Marketing Agency understands the meaning and purpose of Web Design.
A more suitable title for this article might have been:
“WHY Should I Make A Website?”
So, you’re ready to create a new website for your business.
You’re seated at your computer and browsing other business websites for ideas and inspiration. Ultimately, whether you do-it-yourself or hire a (hopefully) qualified Web Designer, we have a suggestion:
- Stop right where you are
- Back away from your computer
- Even better, walk away and STOP looking at websites
- Instead, think about WHY you need a business website
Hint: In most cases, the short answer for “why build a business website” is to increase leads and sales. Period.
What Is Important For A Website?
Back in March of 2014, just over 1 year ago, I participated in an online discussion about Web Design.
Specifically, the discussion thread was titled (and asked a 2-part question):
“What is important for a Website? Content or Design?”
My first thought was that the question was too vague. I was especially bothered with the semantics of “Design”.
While the meaning of “Content” is fairly straightforward (words, images, video and audio), there are many factors that differentiate good and bad content (beyond the scope of this article).
On the other hand, “Design” carries with it many connotations including:
- Site Architecture
- Page Hierarchy
- Menu Navigation
- SEO Strategy and more
In retrospect, I think leaving the question open-ended led to an interesting discussion.
There were some excellent insights as well as flawed and short-sided logic regarding good, effective Web Design. Most of the participants in the discussion appeared to be professional Web Designers or Online Marketers of some type.
Web Developers: What Do They Think?
Here is a sampling of the discussion thread replies:
“Content! Although, design is important in that it should provide a pleasant reading experience.”
“It is a mix of both: great content helps attract those from the outside in via search engines, and great design keeps them interested and engaged. It’s like a woman who is both smart and beautiful – very hard not to get attracted to.”
“Content is important, but remember our visitors first see and then read!!!!”
“Without good SEO all this (design) is worthless.”
“Both, you need a good design to convey the message of the content. One without the other is useless.”
“I would have to lean more towards design. I am a firm believer that with all the content in the world it could be rendered completely useless if there is not an easy flow to the information. Conveying your content in an intuitive manner actually adds more value to the content itself.”
“Of course both are important. Design will get you there but content will keep you there… like meeting a very attractive person at a sports bar.”
“They are mutually important. The design is what makes a person stop to look, and the content holds them.”
I can’t say that I fully agree with all of these comments, but as I stated earlier the semantics behind “Design” and “Content” add to the confusion.
How To Design A Website
Of course, I had to add my two-cents worth:
“A beautifully-designed website is useless if it is buried in the search results, whether it be due to lack of content, poorly written content, or non-existent SEO.
But it also depends on what one means by “design”. If website “design” focuses only on aesthetics, it often leads to a poor UX (user experience). Distracting or trendy design elements can make navigation confusing and frustrating. “Designing” only for the desktop (larger screens) without considering mobile devices will eliminate over 50% of potential customers.
And to address the original question, “What is important for a Website?”, it would be an understanding that a Website is only one component of an overall web marketing strategy. Too many people believe that simply publishing a website is all that is needed to be “found online”.
Popular services such as “Godaddy”, “Web.com” and “Wix.com” perpetuate this believe with misleading advertisements that emphasize the ease and simplicity of creating “stunning” (to use their words) Websites, while ignoring the inevitable and time-consuming marketing efforts necessary for a strong web presence.
Some additional considerations often overlooked regarding design is that any of your web pages, not only the homepage, can rank in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) — a site visitor may not land on or ever see your “home” page. This means that any of your web pages might be perceived as your “home” or “landing” page.
Furthermore, I contend that a website’s true “home/landing” page is actually it’s appearance in the SERP. This is the FIRST impression most potential site visitors will have about your website/organization and affect the CTR (Click Through Rate). Great care should be taken to craft meaningful and relevant Title Tags (the blue hyperlink), URLs (green), meta descriptions (consider adding your Phone Number), and Schema data (authorship, ratings, etc.).”
Most of what I shared either still holds true or has become more important than ever.
Web Design: What Does Google Say?
Just last month (April 21, 2015), Google officially launched their mobile-friendly ranking algorithm. Having a website that is friendly to mobile browsers on smartphones and tablets will be key to your online ranking success.
Take the Mobile-friendly test here.
Also, in a blog post released today Google reported that for the first time “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.”
What’s the take-away?
There is a LOT to consider before you dive in to a Web Design project.
I believe the Roman architect Vitruvius got it right back in 15 B.C. when he wrote (translated):
“The ideal building has three elements; it is sturdy, useful, and beautiful.”
Note the emphasis on practical use before aesthetics.
For solid, ethical and practical Web Design Services, contact Bizeeo Marketing Agency.