Ever since I can remember, when I talk to businesses about their websites, they ask me the same question “What’s more important – website design or marketing?” Up until recently I have always replied with the same answer… actually, they are both equally important. But is that changing?
The designers view
Most website design companies will want to sell you a new website design. It’s all about the design, because that’s how they make their money. They will usually find issue with a previous design and explain how you can change this and how that will impact on your business.
They often do have a point, as the design is usually the first thing a visitor notices. It is important to get the look and feel right; so yes, the design is very important. It will also impact on how a visitor perceives your products and services; if the design is poor then it is assumed that the services and products are equally poor.
A clear and obvious call to action is also very important and if this is well considered and designed properly, it should mean that you will get more enquiries. Especially if your visitors like what they see.
From a marketing view
In the same way that a designer wants to sell you the design element, a marketing company will want to sell you marketing; no surprises there. There are a wide range of marketing opportunities available and all can be used to promote your website. A marketing company will say that it is all about the data they add and positioning your site correctly. They usually tend to try and baffle you with terminology and statistics, SEO, PPC, analytical reporting, trends…
Actually, they aren’t wrong. All of these are important but are they more important than the design of a website?
As always, I like to look at these and apply a good level of common sense. If your website looks bad this will affect sales and enquiries, so it must be good. In all fairness it doesn’t have to be amazing, on trend or completely out there. It has to make a user believe in the quality of your services enough to allow them to contact you. But, if a user can’t find your website on a search engine, then it doesn’t matter how beautifully designed it is, you won’t make sales or get enquiries.
What you can see and what you can’t!
But it is now becoming more and more important that you consider another element; a much maligned and forgotten part of the process – the code and how the site is built. Yes, this is the geeky bit; the element that no one really understands. How your website is built is rightfully very important.
Site speed: If your site loads slowly because it’s been poorly coded or has a bloated theme with lots of plugins, this will have a negative affect on your search engine position. Google wants it’s users to have a great experience; slow loaded and badly structured websites will be penalised. Slow websites will also have a higher than average loading time, giving you a higher bounce rate, causing your rankings to be lowered further over time.
Code structure: Code structuring is important when it comes to ranking efficiently in Google. Structuring titles, content & images are all major factors in the search engines. An example of this is header tags. Your page could have multiple H1 tags, causing issues when it comes to Google identifying your focus keyword. You could also have a lack of key headers like H2 & H3s, also giving you a negative effective while ranking.
Page & Site builders: The question we hear a lot is “can I go onto Wix and create a website and be ranked in Google” The answer is yes & no. Yes, you can create a website. However it’s highly unlikely you will ever get a good search engine ranking using this method. Page builders and site builders like Wix & Divi actually struggle to get ranked against websites with a great coding structure. This is because builders like Wix add bloated code to factor all websites on their platform. An example of this is our average home page design comes with 500 lines of code. All this code is relevant to the page you are viewing. Therefore loading fast and allowing Google to dissect relevant information. An average Wix homepage is 5500 lines of code; 5000 lines extra of bloated code calling in all web fonts and unnecessary scripts, causing website speeds to be extremely poor and having irrelevant code for Google to dissect.
Mobile Friendly: Ensuring your website has been coded to support mobiles & tablet devices is crucial. The mobile market is currently taking the lead when it comes to browsing websites. Mot supporting mobile means Google will not rank a website on a mobile or tablet device, if the website does not support it.
What’s the answer?
Well the answer is that there is no individual element that is more important. Each project needs to be looked at with fresh eyes and a plan devised that will enable the right website to be created. Beautifully designed, well optimised and purpose built to enable the website to be found on a search engine, this will give the user enough confidence to contact the owner about their services and products.
When you are looking for a company to build you a website, you need to make sure that they have the skills to enable them to create the website that you need. They shouldn’t try and sell you one particular service, but help you understand why they are all important.
If you have a project you want to discuss in more detail please contact us, we would love to show you how we are different.