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Frequently Asked Questions for SEO and Web Design

The time has come for you to list your business and its products and services on a well designed web site by Maryland Web Designers. Below are subjects to consider:

Will my web site look the same when viewed in different browsers?

It is the responsibility of the web site designer to assure the viewer will have the same experience despite which browser is used. Whether you are using Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Google's Chrome, Mozilla or Opera the display and operation of the site should be identical.

Developers should conform to the standards governed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). They utilize the XHTML or HTML programming language. When utilized properly, the results should be same despite the browser being used. However, some browser makers, such as Microsoft, do not adhere to the accepted standards. This forces a web site designer to take this into account and use their experience in “work arounds” to make sure results are acceptable in all browsers. If the developer, however, only works in Microsoft's Explorer then the site may not display properly in the other browsers. The web site needs to be tested across platforms.

Quiz your web site developer on this issue to make sure they understand the standards issue.

How do I get traffic to my web site?

There are two ways to get eyes on your web site: traditional advertising and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Include your web site and email address on all your business documentation including paper letterhead, business cards, mailings and signs and with your signature on your emails. If using social media such as Facebook or Linkedin, include it there as well. Maintain your site in an attractive, compelling and current fashion so a visitor will return.

The most important consideration is that your web designer strives for Search Engine Optimization so that your site will rank high on the page when searched through Google, Yahoo or Bing search engines. The goal is to have it appear near the top of the first page search returns. Viewers seldom look passed the second page. It is the responsibility of the designer to take advantage of all key words and phrases to lock into the search engines to give you the results you desire.

Who has ownership of the website--the developer or user?

There are two aspects to your site: the content of words, graphics, photos and links which is read by a visitor to your site versus the unseen programming code that presents the data for viewing. Usually the ownership remains with the developer until final payment is made and is then transferred to the customer. Copyright issues are the same, especially when original content is involved.

Sometimes the ownership of the computer code is retained by the developer and is offered to the client through licensing fee. This depends upon the developer and the uniqueness of the project. This should be discussed with the developer.

What should I consider in developing a quality web site?

A good web site consists of two elements: what is seen by a viewer and what is behind the scenes in terms of coding and Search Engine Optimization.

Like printed brochures and advertising, the fundamentals of a good looking and compelling web site are the same. A professional, clean and attractive design is most important. The temptation is to do the artwork yourself or rely on the developer but this is a task for someone with artistic sensibilities to create a quality design. This may not be you and may or may not be the developer. Some will have graphic designers on staff but some may only be concerned with the programming code. You need both so consider both when evaluating web site developers.

Consider the look and feel of your site. Does it contain meaningful and interesting information presented in an attractive manner?  Is it easy and intuitive to navigate through the site? Is the content fresh and current?

Behind the scenes, does the site aggressively utilize Search Engine Optimization for first page ranking results when accessed through Google, Yahoo or Bing? Do the pages load quickly and the graphics display properly. Does the site display the same and properly regardless of which browser is used?

Be sure these questions are addressed while developing your site.

What about upgrading my site?

The internet is a fast paced evolving phenomenon. It does not take much for a site to appear stale and outdated. Revisit your site often, perhaps quarterly, to be sure it is current, looks and feels fresh and inviting and is functioning properly.

What do I look for in hiring a web site developer?

When looking for a web site developer do as you would when hiring an outside consultant in any field. Examine their portfolio to see the quality of their work. Ask for working links to their various customers so you can actually see the functionality of their products. Make sure you contact their references.

Remember you are looking for both a web developer, a search engine optimization expert and a designer. Coding is one thing but a creative and meaningful presentation that follows the technical aspects of what makes up the 200 + factors of Google's Algorythm is another. Make sure they can do it all.

Make sure their programming expertise is current, especially when it come to Search Engine Optimization. 60% to 70% off all traffic to your site will come through search engines.

Do I need a website and what will it do for me?

In the digital age of the internet prospective customers will probably not consider you without some web presence. Even a simple page for a one person business should be offered, if nothing else showing business hours, contact information, location and a brief description of products and services.

Remember, the full potential of a well designed site is to reach prospective customers in a more compelling fashion than mailings or advertising. When done properly, the opportunities are endless.

Can a website assist my employees in doing their jobs?

Your website could provide a portal to an intranet site for your employees--a location only available to them. It could provide pertinent information they may need as well as interactive tools for work productivity and training. It could also be the means for allowing employees to work at home. This is a different type of project so discuss the possibilities with your developer.

Where do I start in developing a strong internet presence?

There are four easy steps to take in launching your site:

  • Domain Name (URL). This is the address of your web site that customers will use to find you. You need to find an address that is available then register it. The cost is between $8 and $35 and must be renewed yearly. There are many places to register your domain name your developer can assist you
  • Website design. As previously discussed, this is the look and feel of your site. It needs to be interesting and well done to keep the interest of a visitor. Artistic design is paramount.
  • Hosting your website. This is where your site lives, on someone's servers. Your developer can assist you. Prices vary depending upon disk space needed and connection speed.
  • Search Engine Marketing - Spreading the word. Include your new domain name on all correspondence, including email, advertising, brochures and social media. Make sure it ranks highly when searched through Google, Yahoo or Bing.

What about unpaid versus paid search listings?

Positive unpaid search listings are a result of good SEO design however paid listings are available to ensure high rankings in search results. Paid (or “sponsored” ads) appear to the top or right side of the search results, perhaps highlighted by a different color. These are known as “Paid per Click” (PPC) when means you are only billed when your website is visited. Your developer can assist you with this or contact the search engine manufacturers.

Keep in mind that unpaid advertising is not necessarily free because of the expense of developing good SEO results. Unpaid and paid search results are not mutually exclusive. You will always want good SEO design to augment your paid results.

What is “on-page” SEO?

These are the fundamentals of good SEO design of which your developer should utilize. This includes creating web content around specific keywords and designing the site to emphasize them. Additionally, keywords should be included in the navigation menu and other links as well as the title page and file name. The idea is for them to populate your site so traffic will be driven to it.

What is “off page” SEO?

This is a fancy way of describing links to your site. The more links from other sources, the strong your presence on the internet.

How soon will I see results?

SEO is an ongoing process. Prepare to analyze and evaluate your site, especially in the beginning, for maximum success.

Should I list my site on other sites?

This can be a beneficial way of getting more exposure but remember, you do not have control of other sites so evaluate carefully.

  By Michael Berkman
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