Today I've got common design mistakes that companies make when setting up their Web sites. I hope the following pointers will help you get a fully functional site up without your SMB having to pay an exorbitant price for it. If you haven't read my previous post on the benefits of setting up a Web site for your small and medium-sized business, you'll want to check that out too.
Design with SEO in Mind
The art and science of search engine optimization, or SEO, can be summarized as the designing of a search-engine-aware Web site. Depending on the efforts directed here, the outcome could result in your targeted customers literally coming to your doorstep. What is surprising, perhaps, is that enterprises are the ones that most often fall into the trap of creating a site jam-packed with fancy graphics and animations. In truth, such sites stand almost zero chances of being understood-and indexed-by the current generation of text-based search engines.
Though SEO is a constantly evolving and incredibly complex niche, there are certain simple strategies inherent to doing well in search engines. I shall elaborate on some of these strategies in a later blog post, so be sure to keep up with this little series.
Let the Designers Do the Designing
First of all, let us be clear that designing a Web site is not a job that should be done by your IT department. While this might sound a tad strange now, this was exactly what many companies that got onto the Internet bandwagon early did-they delegated the responsibilities of this "tech" job to the most technical folks in the company. In most cases, the effects were disastrous.
So unless your SMB is a design house or Web designer outfit, you will eventually have to pay someone to do the design work. A good Web design firm will inevitably have to ask a number of questions pertaining to your organization in order to properly capture the essence of your corporate identity. By the same token, it is also natural for a firm to specify certain preferences with regards to the look and feel of the Web site.
However, a common mistake that I have seen too many organizations make is that they end up telling the designer what to do. This could range from telling the designers that they "must" have a useless splash page, to inflexible instructions like "the company logo should be right at the top and be at least 500 pixels across." Let the designers come out with prototypes first, and then take the cue from them to narrow down on what you would like for your SMB. And yes, an outfit or freelancer that charges rates of a certain amount of money per page is probably not a design house, and should be avoided.
I hope that the above tips help your SMB succeed in getting up a site -- or a redesigned site -- that can propel your business to the next level.