I am working on quite of bit of redesign this week. Clients simply wanting a new look or they are feeling limitations of their old html code. As Always, people have restricted budgets and try to do everything they can to avoid having to build their site rebuilt from scratch. But, sometimes that might be the quickest course of action. Having to go through old (and some cases, badly written) html code can take a lot of time…many times longer that just written new code from the ground up.
The last couple of years have brought about quite a few changes to the way websites are built.
The good ‘old’ days
In the past, html pages consistent of html tables, formatted with inline elements on every page. It was functional but far from perfect. Design was limited to boxy looking websites with little or no motion. Then, there was a shift to flash web sites that allowed more design freedom but did little to help get your site ranked on the search engines. In both cases, there was not much structure or guidelines to how to build a web site properly, until now…
Standards are key
Nowadays there is tableless layouts and CSS for formatting the content and layout. There are very specific ways to layout your website so it will load fast and provide you with favorable results with the search engines. It is very important to build the site correctly to for various reasons.
- User experience.
If the site does not load quickly, is hard to navigate, is not browser friendly are jsut a few reasons that will keep users form coming back to visits. they will also take your business less seriously if they feel that you are not professional enough to have your site fixed. it makes sense, right?
- Search Engines
Poorly structured sites will rank badly, period. This can undermine all your marketing efforts and cost you a ton of time and money. Why not make sure the site works perfectly before sending it out to the masses.
- Feeds and Social Marketing
High traffic websites always involve a little bit of programming. These small ‘scripts’ allow your website to interact with RSS feeds and Social Marketing websites. Any decent web designer should know about them and how to use them to your advantage. Make sure that you are using these tools, it will help automate a lot of the marketing work that you do.
Contents is still King
There is a large availability of open-source CMS systems out there (wordpress, joomla, drupal). These allow you to take control of your website and give you the ability to manage your text and images on all your pages. Good content is still the very best way to get traffic to your website. But, before you start writing all sorts of great articles you need to remember that you also need to allow some time for online marketing and promotion. Otherwise, how will others find out about your informative content?
The Internet is a living, breathing beast, that is constantly growing and changing. If you plan on spending the money on upgrading your web presence, consider that for just a little bit more money you can have a brand new website that will be up to the latest standards and be compatible with all the wonderful new tools the web has to offer. There might not need to change the look of the website, but if your site is older than 2 years chances are that the internal working (HTML) needs to be over hauled.
Make sure your web designer is not taking you for a ride by just putting band-aids on your current site but still charging you top dollar. In life, you get what you pay for, and sometimes you can get away with using old equipment. But, in business, you need to be competitive and using the wrong solution (in this case and old website), can really hurt your income.
Take the time to research the latest web trends, you bottom-line will thank you!