I love building websites, especially with WordPress. I really enjoy sitting down with a business owner or marketer that wants to revamp their online presence with a new or redesigned website, social media branding or to brand-up their email marketing templates. And I really anticipate digging in and uncovering every little thing that will propel the project into the atmosphere for the client.
With stars in our collective eyes, we go over what’s hot, what works for SEO, what drives traffic and entices visitors to dig deeper in a ‘place’. The ‘place’ being either online or brick and mortar – and usually both. It’s like a birthday party and we can’t wait to open our presents.
Occasionally, when I finally reveal my layout ideas to a new client, there is sudden amnesia about what we talked about initially. All the excitement about how WordPress (or most other CMS) works to make the most of keywords and phrases, links, call-to-action, and the information visitors are going to want right away without having to click through a gauntlet of pages to find it. Suddenly we can’t understand why pulling a blog feed into the home might be useful for SEO. The idea a navigation menu being compartmentalized instead of 15 different tabs for a small business is suddenly baffling. Flash has reared its unnecessary head as a preferred home page. The concept of mobile-first design or even simply responsive design has vaporized.
Gone is the understanding that calls-to-action need to lead somewhere interesting and actionable, or to have calls-to-action at all since those big ol’ buttons really clutter up the content. Can’t we have our mission statement there that nobody reads anyway? Gone is the notion that blogging really can help tremendously in driving traffic, building community, and keeping the website fresh and tasty for search engines.
What happened here?
Back to where we started
During the second or third editing rounds of laying out a website, it’s likely that all of the lessons taught in the initial consultation no longer have meaning for the business. That their particular brand of widgets or services are exempt from following web design and development’s best practices.
It’s a shame because you did hire me to lead the way. To teach you what I know about web optimization, trends and analysis, not to mention my designer-y skills. If you don’t take my advice, or at least some of it, I can’t stand behind my work 100%. Sure your new site or fancy Facebook fan page looks good, but it could look great – and be a real workhorse for whatever it is you are marketing.
Designers want you to succeed
If a designer or developer makes specific recommendations for features, placement, useful plugins and preferred layouts for your particular project, you might take them up on their recommendations. After all this is what we do for a living.
We are geeks and design nerds and read about this stuff – sometimes for fun.
We want you to succeed. We want you to have increased traffic, page rank, a solid community and look dapper cultivating it. And if your designer doesn’t have a clue (or care) about all of the above, you might get a second opinion.
When you look good, we look good. Please take as much of our advice as possible – and run with it. That’s what you’re paying us for.