Once Upon a Time On the Internet
Website design used to be a simple matter. Today, however, it is more of a science than an art.
Once upon a time, most businesses used their websites like an online business card, delivering only basic information about the company: who, what, when, where, why – just like a press release. Businesses launched websites because their competitors did, and they didn’t want to be left behind.
Now, a website is a primary business tool, used to identify and attract ideal clients from all over the web. Success in that activity, called “conversion,” is the goal of most business websites.
The Evolution of Search Engine Optimization
What’s changed is that building websites that rank well in searches is no longer a mystery. We know exactly how it’s done. And it’s simple – but not easy.
In some respects, the art in website design has taken a back seat to structural design. Yes, it must look pretty. But it is the underlying structure of the site, its simplicity and ease of use, and the search engine optimization of each piece of content, that sets it up to be found, indexed, and served up prominently by Google Search.
Website designers have to keep up with constantly changing search engine algorithms that regularly move the goal posts and force designers to adapt their techniques.
A couple of big changes are driving things lately: mobile search and Local Search.
How Change Has Become the Only Constant
Google has begun to heavily favor Local Search. This means that when I search for a product or service, my results show local businesses first.
In addition, most searches today are conducted on smartphones. Mobile search has taken over as we use our phones to find almost anything we need on a given day – driving directions, the correct dosage for a certain brand of cough syrup, a lower price on a product we intend to buy. Our phones are always with us, and we search from wherever we are.
Smart phones have been one solution to the problem of the digital divide – at least for now – an equalizer that makes the internet accessible to almost everyone. Therefore, not only must every website today be search engine optimized, its design must also be “responsive” – in other words, adaptable to whatever device a user is searching on.
All these changes – and these are just the latest – make a website designer’s job an ongoing challenge.
Are Website Designers the Most Adaptable People On Earth?
Constantly adapting to changes in search engine algorithms keeps website designers on their toes – and separates the players from the pretenders.
Bay Area website designers work with some of the nation’s premier technology companies, who set the bar high for both a website’s design and its ultimate effectiveness (converting prospects into customers).
The era of a free website (Wix, Weebly) for business may be over. Today it’s simple – but not easy – to rank well. However, for businesses it may take a significant front end investment, an ongoing commitment to adapt to changes. It definitely requires increasing levels of expertise from the website designers who help businesses rank.