There are multiple companies out there that offer even the novice an opportunity to build their own website. They offer easy to manipulate templates and drag and drop features. So, with all those options why would you choose to have a professional designer build your site?
Responsive Web Design
This is a term used to describe developing and designing a website that will work with a variety of devices including mobile phones, laptops, desktops, and tablets. Building a responsive website that integrates "cool features" is more complex than a simple drag and drop design. There is a level of coding required to reach the desired level of perfection customers deserve in their website.
Gone are the days of multiple revisions and the need to keep track of prior versions. With the designs I utilize, at any time we can "reverse" and go back to a prior version if ever required. A great example happened just recently. A customer needed to remove any content from certain individuals. I completed the change. Just a few days later there was a change in circumstances and I was asked to repopulate the majority of the information that had been removed. Thanks to version control, it took just minutes to bring the past content to life again.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engines have progressed as our use of technology has grown. SEO's can find the connection of mobile sites as compared to a desktop in use. They also assist with moving sites with SEO's to the top tier of the search engines. If you have ever typed a question into a box and the internet your are utilizing replies to your question with a pages long list of links to websites, that's part of what SEO does. But, how does it do this?
I'll use Google as an example (since Google is my preference):
Google has a crawler that goes out and gathers information about all the content on the internet. There is quite a bit that goes into this process. How you utilize Domain Level Keywords, Social Metrics, Domain-Level, Keyword-Agnostic Features (domain name length, response time, etc.), User, Usage and Traffic Data, Domain-Level Brand Features (mentions of brand/domain in the news, etc.), Page-Level Keyword-Agnostic Features (content length, readability, etc.), trust ranking and content relevance/modeling scores are all critical features. Above all, the Domain-Level Link Authority Features (quality of links to the domain, trust/quality of links, page ranking, etc.) has the most bearing on the SEO factors within Google. Those are the basics of the SE portion of the SEO. The O factor is the optimization. When you create the content for your website the search engine has to be able to understand what it is seeing...just like the viewers to your site. That old "keep it simple stupid" applies here! There are areas within SEO's (I prefer to use Yoast SEO) where you add title tags and meta descriptions that contain relevant information and are the right length to promote cornerstone content.
As we all know, using a trusted source for e-payments can make or break what you are attempting to sell. If I do not see some type of security certificate and an end source that I feel is reliable/trustworthy, I am not going to complete the transaction and will turn elsewhere. It is essential to not only use trusted sources, but to also be clear to your site's visitors that the safety and security of their transaction is a priority for you as well as for them. There are many resources and when selecting your online option, I recommend that you also consider where else you may be selling your product(s). Do you have a need to set up sales at various venues? Will you be utilizing a tablet or other handheld device? Square, with it's magstripe reader, allows you to swipe anywhere for a percentage transaction fee. Are money transfers important? Google Wallet is one option available for transfers. Most of us are familiar with PayPal. The list is long, and growing, of the options available for payment processing. Once I understand your needs, I can offer suggestions about which may be the best options for your business.
User Friendly Websites
When building a site, I always keep the ease of use of the "end user" in the forefront of my designs. If you have every been on a complex, disorganized, cluttered site then you know what I am talking about when I say I believe it is critical to the success of a site to think organized.
The Importance of Social Media Insights and Google Analytics
Together, social media channels and your website should work seamlessly to promote your online brand.
To promote a seamless merger of the two, I propose that websites:
- Include visible social media buttons
- Integrate social media where it makes sense on a website
- Add share buttons
- Use Google Analytics to track how many people are clicking on outbound social media links. Event tracking is also possible in Google Analytics.
To pick up on trends or help with understanding the success or failure of a campaign, follow both your social media insights along with Google Analytics.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
A CRM system can provide you with a clear overview of your customer. You see everything in one place — a simple, customized dashboard that can tell you a customer's previous history with you, the status of their orders, any outstanding customer service issues, and much more. Simply stated, a CRM system allows businesses to manage relationships and the date and information associated with those business relationships.
If it is of interest, I can set the site to track "hits" via mobile and or PC usage. Most of my clients like to get an update from time to time with a screenshot showing the number of visits they have had to their sites. When there's been a big press release or another important event posted it is a great value to know what is drawing your viewers.
Knowing important features to create successful designs and entice viewers to spend time visiting your site again and again is why I believe it is important to utilize the skills of a designer when considering options for your website.
Multiple Photo Galleries
Import and Export RSS Feeds
Enable File Uploads
Social Media Links
(specific blog programs)
(.pdf files to open or download)
How Do I Know How Many Visitors My Site Is Getting?
Clicks - Count of clicks from a Google search results page that landed the user on your property.
Impressions - How many links to your site a user saw on Google search results, even if the link was not scrolled into view. However, if a user views only page 1 and the link is on page 2, the impression is not counted. The count is aggregated by site or page. With infinitely scrolling pages, such as image search, the impression might require the item to be scrolled into view.
CTR - Click-through rate: the click count divided by the impression count. If a row of data has no impressions, the CTR will be shown as a dash (-) because CTR would be division by zero.
Position - The average position of the topmost result from your site. So, for example, if your site has three results at positions 2, 4, and 6, the position is reported as 2. If a second query returned results at positions 3, 5, and 9, your average position would be (2 + 3)/2 = 2.5. If a row of data has no impressions, the position will be shown as a dash (-), because the position doesn't exist.
Crawl rate is how often search engine robots crawl your site. In this case, Crawl Stats is showing Googlebot’s (Google’s search engine robot) activity. A fast crawl rate is almost always desirable. That means the bots can index your site more easily and more quickly. And if your site gets more attention from Googlebot, you’ll likely earn a higher SERP ranking.
In a nutshell, that’s why the Crawl Stats data is so important. If your crawl rate is low, your SEO is taking a hit. On the other hand, if your crawl rate shoots up all of a sudden, something could be wrong with your site.
The point is, it’s important to monitor your crawl rate.
Splitting these into two categories; site errors and URL errors. Have you even received a message stating "Google couldn't access your site because of a DNS error"? That would be a site error. URL errors are errors that are specific to a particular page on a website. With Google's Search Console, all the guesswork is removed. Checking the health of your website is my responsibility. If a visitor can't access your site, or a page within the site, this needs IMMEDIATE attention.
Index Status Report
The basic view of the data shows only the total indexed value. The advanced view shows additional data.
Total indexed URLs in your site
Shows the total URLs available to appear in search results, along with other URLs Google might discover by other means. This number changes over time as you add and remove pages. The number of indexed URLs is almost always significantly smaller than the number of crawled URLs, because Total indexed excludes URLs identified as duplicates, non-canonical, or those that contain a meta noindex tag.
URLs blocked by robots.txt
The total number of URLs disallowed from crawling by your robots.txt file. If your site is very big, you might want to hide other data so that the graph is scaled to a readable range.
The number of URLs you have removed with the URL removal tool. Again, this value should be quite low in comparison to the other URLs in this report, so it's easier to view this selection by itself rather than in comparison with other URLs.
Product Sales Reporting
If you are selling items through your website, I utilize a program called WooCommerce. With 40,522,118 downloads, WooCommerce powers over 28% of all online stores (as of 3/7/18).
TRACK STOCK LEVELS
Allow your client to manage their entire inventory online with WooCommerce. Track stock levels, set up alerts and automatically stop selling products if inventory runs out.
Offer different variations of your products, such as multiple sizes, colors and materials, and more. Each variation can have its own price, SKU, weight and inventory.
WooCommerce is audited by Sucuri - the industry leader in reviewing and certifying the safety of WordPress plugins.
Because WooCommerce is a self-hosted solution, you retain full ownership of all the critical information needed to run an online store.
WooCommerce tracks all data and provides easy to read reports (sample above).