Whats the old saying? A stitch in time saves nine? Never truer than in website creation. Most web design agencies will start a website project with perhaps a logo and a front page design. At this stage, it’s all about ‘look and feel’ to get the client excited and make sure that the mood and design match the clients’ ideas or business.
Much time can be spent tweaking images, different font styles, colour shades etc. Once the client is happy then bingo – the magic words – ‘ok, that’s good, get it finished. Then comes the interminable task of creating the internal pages, requesting content and trying to bring the whole thing together. As the client sees the website progressing they will come up with new ideas, new content and often change the direction of the whole project.
In the infamous words of lady Thatcher ‘ NO, NO, NO’. This approach most often creates a bodged attempt at what should be a logical, free-flowing site and the path back and forth between agency and client to get everything right can take an eternity.
Apart from the time and energy wasted by adopting this approach, combined with the inefficiencies of scrapping and re-creating pages, re-writing navigation and adding ‘afterthought’ content, Google will not shine on your efforts (if you’re interested, we provide a full guide to SEO here).
So what is the best solution, and what does Google want to see from your site? Firstly your agency should start to construct a logical site map that gives the whole site it’s structure right from the start. Not only does this give the client an overall view of what they need to supply for the content, it allows the agency to structure the site navigation and pages into a natural flow that Google will like.
Top level navigation, categories and subcategories of pages intelligently linked and following a natural process for the website visitor. Internal text links, titles and descriptions, where required, so that readers can jump to relevant sections of immediate interest and, critically find their way back to where they started easily.
This approach streamlines the website build process but also allows for easy ongoing additions of pages and content once the site is live. And of paramount importance, Google will flow through the site easily and will ‘crawl’ deep into your pages and content, giving it a far better view of what your site is about and how best to rank the website.
It all sounds very obvious but most people do get it wrong. Naming your pages logically then giving each page a focus keyword area to discuss will increase your chances of Page 1 significantly. This can only really be achieved by careful forward planning.