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In a recent edition of design journal The Drum, CEO of Brightfire John Hornell advised businesses who were thinking of redesigning their website to think again and offers some very cogent reasons why.

Really this argument is another strand in the debate between the importance of web design and SEO. Perhaps too many companies still blame their failing website on poor web design and SEO is not given enough blame. With the increasing relevance to all businesses of social media and other forms of internet marketing, it might be time to rethink your strategy rather than calling in a digital agency.

Web Design and/or SEO

If your website is failing to generate business, it might be that is has failed to keep up with consumer’s increasingly varied approaches to online business. Rarely do consumers look only at your website when thinking of buying. They will look at your social media, online reviews, blogs and forums. Bearing this in mind, it is probably in these places that you need to be focussing your efforts, rather than at the cutting edge of design. If nothing else, the budget for web design and SEO needs to shift dramatically to the latter. Free or low-cost templates for open-source CMS such as Joomla and WordPress will help with this, and brings other benefits documented elsewhere in our web design blogs. Hornell makes three simple but valuable points:

  1. Think of your website as a magnet – use all available channels to draw people to your website and then keep them there.
  2. Create an abundance of content and promote it – write it, optimise it, publish and promote it. Repeat this process regularly.
  3. Build online authority and influence – “75% of your SEO efforts should focus on building your off-page reputation”.

Web Design AND SEO

It’s not to say that some websites could not do with a makeover, but there are important factors to take into consideration before you start on the redesign journey:

  • Think of web design and SEO together; don’t try to bolt SEO onto what you think is a brilliant design, but also consider whether the content is SEO friendly.
  • Any new web design has a shelf life; content does too, but it is much easier to replace dated content than a dated website.
  • At the same time as planning and implementing the new design, plan and implement your internet marketing strategy – this needs to include web design and SEO, as well as social media, blogging and other forms of internet marketing.

For lots of good reasons, the look of the website continues to be of critical importance for lots of businesses, whilst SEO is still seen as everything from a waste of money, boring to a dark art. Perhaps now is the time for businesses to see that when it comes to web design and SEO the real value for business is with the latter.

Image credit – CollegeDegrees360


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