7 “Must Ask” Questions Before You Invest A Single Cent into Building Your Website
Are you being sucked in by a “Tombstone” syndrome web design?
Call me a rebel with a cause! But I’m writing to protect you from being conned into what I call the “Tombstone” syndrome of website development.
OK, maybe protect is too harsh a term – how about bring awareness.
Beware the “Tombstone” Syndrome of Web Design
What’s “Tombstone” syndrome?
Here’s the clue. After you’ve had your website built, you run your mouse over all the content, headlines and tabs. If the mouse doesn’t produce the signature hand to get in, then neither can the search engines get in and find you! All you’ve got staring at you from that computer screen is a lovely designed tombstone for your dead website.
Pretty dramatic, isn’t it? Well, think of it this way. Your website may as well be dead for all the good it’s doing you. It’s that simple.
All Web Designers Know About Search Engine Optimization
Sure, you may not understand the intricacies of web building and design. And for sure, you expect the web builders and designers to know what they’re doing on your behalf, right?
If you are not aware of what is absolutely required in an optimized website, you could be in danger of destroying your business opportunities on the internet – you could be investing in a “tombstone” instead of a real live, breathing website.
Let me explain.
Web designers and software developers are producing graphic and flash designs thinking that they are doing you a favour. Yes, it’s pretty alright, however search engines can’t read graphic and flash designs. Let me repeat that: Google, MSN, Yahoo, and all the search engines of the billions of web surfers can’t find your website.
So that means, when your ideal customer types in a word or phrase into the search bar looking for your product, service or information, your business web will never come up because your web developer didn’t allow the words in your website to be live.
Now being live doesn’t always mean it has to be a link – although this is probably one of the most important questions to ask. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Being live means that the headline and first paragraph is not, and I mean NOT imbedded into a graphically designed file. It means your words are free to be searched by the engines.
This Story Made Me Cry
One of my favourite teachers in junior high school moved into the interior of B.C. He and his wife set up a Bed And Breakfast in Westbank. Ken told me they just spent over $2,000 to have a website built. So I took a look.
Honest to goodness, I screamed, then I cried with empathy for them.
Not only did this web designer build them a lovely “picture”, but imbedded all their contact information inside the “picture”. Because of the graphic nature of the website, people could not click onto their email address to write for more information.
People looking for Bed & Breakfasts in the Westbank or Kelowna region can’t find Ken and Lil’s home – it doesn’t come up in the organic search in the top 10 first page – in fact, it doesn’t come up at all.
That’s because it’s a dead end “tombstone” picture that is not read by the search engine algorithms.
And that’s not all. People know Ken and Lil and know they have a Bed & Breakfast. So typing in their names doesn’t produce any results either. Why? Because the “tombstone” webpage put their names and contact information inside a graphic that search engines cannot read. Ouch!
The only way to find them is through Tourism B.C. Lucky for them, they put their business in directories and other marketing venues. If you really want to see their site go to lilyspad.ca Make sure you come back and find out what to ask before you invest in a “tombstone” instead of a living, breathing, working website that generates enough business for you.
And Ken and Lil’s site isn’t the only one out there. There are millions! And people wonder why the big deal about the web? Well of course, they wouldn’t understand. But you do.
7 “Tombstone” busting questions to ask any web builder and designer:
I know you understand this. So to help you along, here are 7 important questions you must ask any web builder or designer before you invest hundreds of your dollars into building you a website.
- Can you build me a header that is a live link back into my home page?
- Is my company name, logo, tagline and pictures live links into my blog and contact pages?
- Do my other pages for example, Contact Us, have a live link to my email address and live phone number that can be automatically dialled through services like Skype?
- Can you build my website design to include live email, website and phone contact information in the footer on very page?
- Do you provide content (copy) writers who know about keywords and optimization procedures as well as persuasive marketing, or do I have to hire a professional copywriter in addition to the website design?
- Can you create content that people can read – that means no white letters on black background and font sizes that are easy to read without squinting?
- Can you research and put keywords and keyphrases in my metatags, tags, and descriptions relevant to my business? (I’ll tell you right now, they can’t!!)
- Bonus question: Will my website become a content rich and a live business opportunity OR a visual “tombstone” offering no potential to be found?
Ask, ask, ask is as important as the well-known marketing phrase, test, test, test. It’s a shame so many people have spent so much on “tombstones”. Don’t be one of them. In fact, ask about hosting, about domain names, about the business potential.
Far too many designers are expert at being creative – find out what they know about the marketing aspect of being on the internet. Then make your decision.
Have a wonderful day and great job!