Should your Website Designer be Your SEO Consultant?

by Calvin Cox on September 11, 2008

I like it when I can go to one place and get everything I need. Like Walmart or Target, you can buy face wash and have a slice of pizza while waiting on line. I even wrote an article on tips on choosing a web designer and outlined a list of things a customer should look for when looking to hire (another combo deal) but after taking a second look at my recent post I realized that I was a little unfair and would like to clarify a few things; specifically the relationship between web designers, SEO and internet marketing consultants.

Your web designer should not be your SEO consultant or your internet marketing consultant for one simple reason. He might charge you double for his services… and rightfully so. You’d be getting two professionals for the price of one. Don’t get me wrong I still think a SEO savvy web guy is probably someone you should keep on your short list but I don’t think it’s the norm in our industry yet. As the website design industry becomes more competitive; you’ll begin to see the ‘all in one’ philosophy become more prevalent. SEO, internet marketing consulting and website design is an inevitable marriage primarily due to the intense competition on the web for designers bidding for new projects and companies competing to be on Google’s top 10 SERPS. In fact, I think SEO marketing companies should be cozying up with as many web designers and design companies across the globe as humanly possible-it just makes good business sense to me.

When creating a website it’s crucial to design it with your customers in mind, identified by individual needs. David Meerman Scott calls these individual identities your buyers personas in his recent book on Marketing and PR. It’s no longer about how cool your site looks but rather how effective your website is. As we are at the last phase of design for– a portfolio and job site for designers and design companies. we had to take a step back and rethink our website appeal and answer a few basic questions:

  • Who are our demographics, i.e. web designers, graphic designers, design companies, pr firms, etc?
  • Are we answering all the initial questions a new visitor might have, like what’s this website about or where do I find the freelance jobs?
  • Are we giving them the option to identify themselves once they arrive on the site? i.e. creative pro, design company, etc.
  • Are we giving them the information they need once they’ve identified themselves? For example a designer might be interested in creating a design portfolio, browsing creative job listings or looking for new inspiration.
  • Are we providing adequate information to answer our site visitors questions? i.e. why should I join Styleapple? , how will creating a portfolio help with my getting new projects?, how can posting a job help me find the right talent?
  • Are we revealing the full functionality, product or service that the website offers? i.e. this site will give you additional exposure outside of your website, provide you with a personalize URL for client review, give you an opportunity to meet other creative pros like yourself?
  • Are we giving them options of solutions? i.e. posting your portfolio online will help in getting your work noticed by potential clients or signing up for job alerts will send you updates when new projects become available?
  • Do we have appropriate conversion forms at the time our site visitors are ready to take action, buy or subscribe, i.e. create portfolio, sign up for job alerts, or post a job forms?

You should not expect your web designer to answer these very important questions for you. I would suggest consulting with an internet marketing consultant or someone who knows about internet marketing to discuss this process as it is vital to your company’s website success. David Meerman Scott’s book “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” is a pretty good read and gives some great tips when designing or redesigning your company’s website.

Is it too much to ask a web designer to know SEO and Internet marketing techniques to maximize your website effectiveness? What’s your opinion?



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