Saturday, September 27, 2008

SEO and Website Design.


These days I have come upon a lot of websites which might not have an aesthetically appealing look but still manage to draw enough traffic. So the most important question is whether ‘Design of Websites is all that important’.

From SEO view and Search Engine point of view, web design is not all that important. After all Google bots and spiders that crawl through your websites will not have any appreciation of the aesthetic elements of Website design. They are looking for content and all that FLASH stuff in your websites including the cool pictures that you have put is not going to have any impact in search engine ranking.

But that leaves out the most important factor for traffic generation – The Human Element. A poorly designed site might not catch the retentivity of your viewers. So repeat visits and the social viral form of advertising will come down drastically. How many of your visitors are going to StumbleUpon or Digg or Socially book mark your site , if it doesn’t capture their imagination. So you might tend to lose a lot of traffic that way.

Because a poorly designed site doesn’t capture the viewers interest, your Ads (Google Adsense , Bidvertiser) could tend to stand out. The viewer in frustration could click the ads to see something relevant. That way you could generate some revenue. Let us call it the disinterested viewer adsense revenue.

So where do I stand. Let me summarize my perspectives on the subject briefly.

1). A poorly designed site but optimized for Search engines will bring a lot of First Time traffic. These first time viewers would in frustration click the ads to get something relevant. Since the ads would be context based, the clicking of the ads would lead to some viewer satisfaction and hence all is not lost.

2). A poorly designed site will rate very poorly in Brand value. Hence no viewer will take the trouble to socially bookmark the site. A very important form of viral traffic, which otherwise would have come to the site, had it been properly designed, is lost.

So what are the lessons that one can learn from here.

1). Don’t spend a fortune in designing your website. Make it decent enough to hold the attention span of your viewer. Content is King. Remember that always.

2). Try not to make your website cool. A cool website is good to look at. But many of your first time visitors will not have the patience to wait for the whole page to load. They will leave in disgust probably never to return again.

Make your website content worthy and Search Engine Friendly.


Crazy Egg : Crazy Egg will help you improve the design and conversion funnel of your website by showing you where people are clicking and where they are not through heatmaps and click patterns.

Website Conversion Rate Calculator: The website conversion calculator evaluates the conversion rate for your website using a number of variables. Features a downloadable file to use on your desktop.

SiteSkan by EpikOne: SiteScan provides a free audit of your website to ensure that your Google Analytics tracking code is configured properly. Simply enter your website URL.

Google Analytics URL Builder: For those of you using Google Analytics, use this analytics URL Builder to help track Yahoo and MSN paid search ads.

Google Analytics: The new Google Analytics makes it easy to improve your results online. Write better ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives, and create higher-converting websites. Google Analytics is free to all advertisers, publishers, and site owners.

Vendor Discovery Tool: You can utilize Free Analytics Tool to search a specified URL for the presence of different hosted analytics vendors both paid and free.

WASP - Firefox Extension: This Web Analytics Solution Profiler is a specialized Firefox extension targeted toward web analysts and web analytics implementation specialists.

Ethnio: Ethnio is a friendly new way to recruit people from your website for usability studies, marketing studies, surveys and focus groups.

Google Adwords CTR Validator: This validation tool allows you to determine whether or not you have enough campaign history and impressions to eliminate a lower performing ad copy.

Google Website Optimizer Duration Calculator: Utilize this handy calculator to estimate the potential duration of your website optimizer experiment. Try out various numbers of combinations and see how they affect the length of the experiment.