These days building a website isn’t just about a pretty design. There are many facets that go into a very successful website, and sometimes that requires the work of more than one person.
While designing a website usually takes someone with quite a bit of creative flare, it also requires a lot of technical expertise these days, as well. With CSS3 and HTML5 there is quite a bit of code to learn just to get sites to display properly in all the browsers. Then you add in Search Engine Optimization and good content, and it can be quite an overwhelming task.
Depending on the skills of your designer, he or she may not be able to provide you with every aspect of putting together a very successful website. As the owner of that site, how much of this are you responsible for?
Do you provide your designer with professionally written content, which will compel your visitor to work with you or buy from you? Or do you just hand over a few photos with a paragraph that says, “We’re great, buy our stuff, you’ll like it” and expect your web designer to turn change professions and become a writer and “wordsmith” it for you?
Have you thought about your SEO? Do you know what your keywords and phrases are? Once your site is built, how will you drive traffic to it? Unfortunately, websites do not fall into the category of “If you build it, they will come”. What is your marketing plan? Do you have a marketing plan? Will you use social media or blogging to drive traffic to your site?
These are things which require quite a bit of thought on the part of the website owner, before, during and after your website build. Once your site is complete, you can’t simply walk away and expect that traffic will come all on its own. Websites and SEO are never-ending works-in-progress, and if you’re not willing to invest in yourself and your business with the time and effort that it takes, you might consider not having a website at all.
So how much of this is your web designer responsible for? The simple fact is that one designer simply can’t know enough about all the different aspects of designing and marketing a website to be able to perform them all adequately. Larger design firms will have numerous individuals working on one site, therefore handling all those aspects in their entirety.
As a freelance designer, I have educated myself over the years about SEO & copywriting so that I can offer more productive advice to my clients and help them organize their content in such a way that will make the site more effective, along with providing eye-popping design for them. I don’t offer a full set of SEO services, but I do offer basic packages in different levels, depending on the client’s needs, their budget and how much of the work they wish to do themselves. I strive to use the knowledge I have gained over the years to better inform my clients so that they have a good understanding of how all the processes work, and what they can expect from me and from their site, based on the investment they are willing to make, both in time and in dollars.
As designers, we are responsible for clearly communicating what is, and what isn’t, included in our packages. We are also responsible for educating our clients as to what is required to get optimum performance from a website and whether we provide that service or not.
As a site owner, you ultimately have the responsibility to market your own product. Do your homework and know what you want, prior to hiring a designer. If you want someone to make sure that you’re on the first page of Google, hire an SEO firm to get you there. Educate yourself about the difference between web design and SEO, because while they are very closely integrated, they are two separate things.
For more tips on how to make your web design process run smoothly, read these two posts-