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Website Design and Digital Marketing

Types of Business Websites

Wed, 04/13/2011 - 09:38 -- admin

At the most basic level, the design philosophy for a majority of business websites can be classed into two groups. The first group are those that are designed to get the highest listing on search engines for keyword searches through focusing on search engine optimization strategies. The second group are those that are primarily an online brochure or company prospectus that focuses heavily on looks, including elaborate slide shows, flash animation or special purpose website scripts.  Of course, this is a over-simplification and nearly all websites fall somewhere in-between the two extremes.

Some of the key characteristics of these design philosophy groups are:

When designed for SEO impact:

  • Simple language used with content that is constructed from words that have high search value.
  • 2 to 5 (maximum) keyword phrases emphasized on each page.
  • Keywords are close to the top of the page and in titles using keyword rich phrases.
  • Graphics are limited to a clean basic design with a few images for emphasis.
  • Very lean webpage coding so that pages will load fast under any circumstances.
  • The purpose is to reach out to people who are doing research on products or services, but who are not looking for any one company in particular.  The goal is to get as many people as possible to visit the website for maximum exposure.

When designed for visual impact:

  • Large, colorful graphics
  • Slideshows near the top of the page as the first thing seen on the page
  • Flash animation (even to the point of having a splash page dominated by a Flash animation)
  • Novelty scripting providing fun eye-candy
  • Language that is more descriptive rather than composed based on keyword strategies
  • Less concern for code overhead that will result in a slower loading time, but will provide a richer visual experience for the user.
  • For people who already know about the company and are going to the website to find out more or to look for company-specific information.  The goal is to convert a more limited group of visitors into buyers.

Graphic designers and SEO specialists constantly battle over elements of design, because a clear-cut SEO strategy can be weakened by an emphasis on elaborate graphic design elements.  The reverse can also be true where the marketing department wants to craft the message with compelling language or visuals that do not necessarily contribute value to the page's competition for high placement for keywords. The direct, simple approach required to spell out long-tail keyword phrases can be awkward on the page if not carefully conceived and executed.

Neither group offers the exclusively "right" or "wrong" approach to website design (usually).  It all depends on the primary goal that the company has for the website.  It can also depend on an evaluation of what the competition is doing. However, the two extremes can be mutually exclusive.  It is very difficult to have a site primarily designed for search engine optimization that also is designed for powerful visual impact.  And vice versa. 

Achieving a balance based on business goals can be difficult. This will require co-operation from all the individuals and departments involved in determining and prioritizing the website purposes.  Working together on a design concept that will maximize the company benefits while providing a rewarding experience for the visitor is always the best approach.

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