Are you thinking about rebuilding your website in 2019? Or refreshing your current site before the holiday rush?
If you’re like lots of people, then you probably have a lot of questions about everything that goes into your new site, what professionals you need to hire, and of course, how to get great SEO!
This week, we’re breaking down every step of the web design process and teaching you what you need to know so that you can launch with confidence
A great web design project includes all of these elements:
- Content Writing
- Brand Photography
- Social Media
And today, we’re diving into each of these elements to show the overall flow of the web design process, and the next posts in our series will go deeper into how to hire for each element, what you need to know, and how to make sure you do it well.
Building a website is a LOT like building a new house. Sometimes you want to renovate, and sometimes you’re building from scratch.
And while an architect will know some things about plumbing, and your landscaper might have opinions about flooring, each of these professionals has their own area of expertise and can’t be subbed out for another professional. A truly successful website will employ each professional in each area of the following expertise for a flawless finish.
If the budget is tight, you might look into an agency. It might sound counter intuitive to think about a bigger agency if you have a smaller budget, but think of it like a package deal. An agency will be able to offer most, if not all, of these professionals at a rate that will likely be more cost effective than hiring each individually. When in doubt, ask around!
Steps of the Web Design Process
The very first step of creating a new website starts with the design. You’ll work closely with your web designer to define the look and feel you want your site to have. Your designer will create mood boards, which will guide the color palette, type selection, and general art direction.
Although very little technical work happens during this phase, it’s good to know what functions you want your new site to have. Do you want it to be a membership site? Do you need client log in? Do you need to be able to accept payments or make appointments? Think about all the features you want your new site to have because it will all influence the design.
While you’re working with the designer to outline the artistic elements of your site, you’ll also be working on the content.
When choosing a copywriter, look for someone who has expertise in both website layout strategy and SEO copywriting. A good copywriter will be able to discover what keywords you should be targeting, then craft website content around them, in addition to having a thorough understanding of what makes for a good website layout.
Your job during this time will be to think about what pages you want on your site. The most common pages are:
It’s likely that you’ll also have a few sub pages on your site for your specific offerings, team members, freebies, etc. Most websites for service based businesses have about 10 pages. Yours might be slightly more or less depending on your needs.
Don’t underestimate the power of great photography. It’s one of the things that can elevate the look of your site more than anything else.
Your job during this time is to find a photographer you trust, then work with that photographer to create a shot list of all the photos that you’ll need on your site.
Think of this as an opportunity to create your own package of stock photography that is all branded to your aesthetic.
Get new headshots taken, and wear your brand colors. Work with your designer to create a list of photos for each section of your website, and think about images that you’d love to have for social media. Have fun with it!
Once you have your design finalized, copy written, and photographs taken, it’s time to start actually building the website. All of these pieces need to be completed for a developer to start her job. Think of them like all the ingredients for making a cake. A baker can’t start if she doesn’t have the flour or sugar, and it’s really hard to change the flour once it’s in the cake, so it’s imperative that each of the previous elements are 100% finalized before passing them off to a developer.
If you don’t have one already through your web designer (many have partners that they know and trust), you’ll need to find a developer.
Of course, find someone who specializes in your platform, and also find someone who understands SEO. We’ll get more into the weeds of this in a future post but just know for now to have a general understanding of both SEO & your platform are important.
This is our favorite part!
While it’s certainly important and helpful for all of your other professionals to have an understanding of SEO, you’ll need someone who has in-depth technical SEO knowledge on your web redesign team. An SEO specialist will work closely with the developer to input SEO gold all around your site, adding up to an SEO rich site.
Your SEO specialist will work on elements like schematic markup and local SEO that will give you a big boost at your launch, and will provide recommendations on how to continue to grow your SEO presence after launch.
The day is finally here! While you don’t need a specific professional for this part, it’s an essential part of the web design process.
Build buzz a few weeks before your site goes live. Remember: you’re not Beyonce– you can’t launch without any notice and expect to go platinum on the first day. Start promoting on social media,
Of course, you’ll need a social media presence. And while this isn’t a direct factor for your SEO rankings, it is an indirect ranking factor, meaning that the bigger following you have, the more relevant traffic you’ll drive to your site, the more conversions you’ll have, and so on. All of these tertiary elements do influence SEO.
Make a plan for ongoing SEO efforts once you’ve launched, and like everything else, be consistent. It’s better to be consistent for months than to post every day for a single week and expect major results. If you are not sure which platform is right for your business, be sure to check out this Social Media and SEO guide.
You know how much we love blogging for SEO (it’s why we do it so much!). Once your site is live and the technical SEO is set, blogging is THE #1 way to build your SEO.
Two elements go into great ongoing SEO growth: content and backlinks (aka, any link from another site that points to yours).
And how do you get great backlinks? By having great content for people to link to.
Unfortunately, websites aren’t a “build it and they will come” kind of effort. They’re more of a “build it, then tell people about it, then keep telling them about it, then give them goodies, and then they’ll come” kind of effort.
And blogging is the best way to tell people about it and give them goodies. Write about topics that are relevant to your audience. Link within your post to yourself and others. Publish it on social media (FB, IG, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, and even Medium!).
Create a workflow to systematize the steps, or better yet, hire someone to do it for you, so that you can focus on the things only you can do.
The Bottom Line
Think of everything surrounding your website as part of the SEO tide. They’re all drops in the bucket, but together they help rise the tide that is good rankings. And that will lead to better traffic on your site, which leads to more SEO (and sales!), and round and round it goes. Everything that goes into SEO is an upward spiral, so do it right from the beginning, and you’ll be on your way to the kind of success you dream about.
We’re always cheering you on!
Meg, and the CDM Team1