This is why it's very easy to take the easy route and fall into a trap of copying others or doing what your friends recommend.
Unfortunately the majority of business owners don’t read code, let alone understand what good or bad code looks like, and when you are running a business, the last thing you want to be doing is learning a new skill.
This can make you very vulnerable to making the wrong choice when opting for a website provider or system.
When I were a lass, Yellow Pages was the go to for anything related to services or business.
It would be a once a year mission to badger your boss for an upgraded budget so you could afford at least a quarter sized advert, placed on the top right hand side of the page or nearest equivalent, that remained relevant for the entire year and was eye catching enough to capture interest, alongside the slew of other adverts.
You also needed to have a logo and design that worked in two tone black and yellow and pray that your fax machine had transmitted all the writing correctly and you had made no mistakes.
There was once a terrible barney when someone invested a year’s worth of Yellow Pages advertising into an advert which proclaimed that we sold "t-shits" … but I digress …
Thankfully, a fair amount has changed since those days.
What hasn't changed is the importance of visibility.
In order to grow a business online you need to appear near the top of the first page when someone is searching for the services you offer. People rarely look beyond those options and even rarely, beyond the first page.
So having a website that doesn't do that makes it a non-starter. You can have a pretty, well-designed website on the outside, but if no one sees it, there is no point. The inside is just as important as the outside, in this case.
Getting a friend to make you a website in Wix is fine if you simply want a showcase for some of your ideas, or you rely on word of mouth to attract your clients, or you have enough clients this year and don't want any more.
However, if you want your online presence to bring you clients now or in the future, you need a website that properly incorporates SEO.
SEO is a much bandied-about term. I get about five emails a day trying to sell me an "SEO" package. Most of them aren’t selling SEO. They are selling a contract in which you pay them money for doing not a lot.
SEO isn't an afterthought and it is also not something that can be easily bolted on or fixed with a plugin. It is part of the foundations and architecture that needs to be included before you even start the build.
From then it is a steady and calculated work in progress with well written and laid out code, and includes ongoing tweaks to ensure that you climb steadily up the rankings.
It requires your web manager to revise your code on a regular basis, providing you with a metrics system that you can access yourself to ascertain progress and a regular brief review of where you are and where you need to be.
Things to look for when searching for a good website design company that also provide SEO:
Longevity of clients. Good website firms have clients for more than a year or two.
How engaged is the supplier with the actual experience of getting your website up and running? Ask for two references before engaging with them. Old fashioned values of customer care, time and patience are still applicable.
Whether or not they want to tie you into a fixed term contract. Avoid this if possible. Most good website firms can demonstrate progress within the first couple of months. You don't want to lose a whole year or even two of marketing by tying yourself into a contract that delivers very little reward. Rather opt for a firm that has to demonstrate consistent value and that you can drop if things don't work out.
Don’t be misguided by fantastic claims of being on the first page of Google within a month. As I explained above, SEO isn’t an overnight fix. It needs a solidly designed website to work effectively and then is something that is reviewed and tweaked as time goes on.
We see a lot of "SEO" companies quoting the same gibberish, often repeating the same bullet points in 5 to 10 different ways. If something doesn’t make sense, ask. If the provider doesn’t know the answer and can’t describe it in layman’s terms, then they certainly won’t be able to provide you with a solution that works.
Don’t be put off by having to rely on someone else to provide a good service. There are simply some instances where you cannot do it all. Just choose wisely and well.
Website design is not rocket science, but like most sciences, it requires insight and experience to make it work to your best advantage. Hopefully this article will help you find the help you need.