Optimized website design is different from ‘standard’ website design. There are many website designers that start with graphic design in mind and focus on building a beautiful site, however, as search engine optimization [seo] becomes more competitive optimized website design becomes more critical.
Optimized website design phase 1; building the foundation
In phase 1, I do discovery to decide the intent of the website owner. I work primarily with people who are hoping to get found in Google search and for that reason, I rely on WordPress and Studiopress to build my sites.
If possible — and it’s usually possible — I encourage the site owner to migrate to self-hosted WordPress because approximately 25% of the world’s websites run on WordPress and it is unparalleled for both power and ease of use as a website platform. Here’s a link to the most popular article in the world on the topic of ‘why wordpress‘ that enumerates most of the benefits of using this platform. One omission in their list is that because WordPress is so popular, there are a lot of people who know how to use it already. It’s fairly easy to find competent help!
From a technical standpoint, WordPress is a MySQL database with a collection of php, html and css files called a ‘theme’ which give it the look and feel you want. There is such a range of low-cost, professionally developed WordPress themes I have never built one from scratch. Instead, over the years I have tried many developers and now I limit my themes usage to those created by Studiopress featuring the Genesis child theme. You can see a list of features here. Studiopress has all the features Google likes to see on a site [and all the ones I need as well]:
- Search engine optimization including schema support
- Responsive HTML5 designs
- State of the art security
- Instant updates and other standard WordPress features
- Unlimited support
There are three types of search engine optimization that every site must have if the owner wants to get found. They are technical seo, on-page seo and off-page seo. Most of the technical seo compliance issues can be satisfied by using WordPress, a Studiopress theme and a WordPress plugin called Yoast SEO. Yoast SEO also handles most of the on-page seo by coaching writers through a seo checklist and grading them on their content. For that reason, Yoast SEO is critical for any site owner who wants to get found. For off-page optimization, I use the Majestic Backlink Analyzer to tell me how many sites are linking to my site and what their authority is. I can also use it to look for more sites to link to me as well.
When and only when these elements are in place are you ready for content marketing which is phase 2 of this discussion. Stay tuned for the next installment!