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Web development: there’s more to a book than a cover

Missed Part One? What Is The Difference Between DIY and Professional Development?
Missed Part Two? Why Building Your Own Website Won’t Save You Money.

The prevalence of do-it-yourself web development tools may make you wonder, why not build the website myself? It’s easy, right?

I’d like to share a recent experience that addresses this web development question directly

In early spring we were hired by a new business to develop their online presence and build a website. They were about to open their doors, and needed something immediately. They decided to build a temporary website using SquareSpace that would be live until the new site was finished.

Their temporary site was up and active quickly. And truth be told, it looked pretty good. The images were strong and the layout clean. And that’s the thing about these simple online site builders like SquareSpace, Wix, Weebly, and, Go Daddy’s Drag and Drop Page Builder. They look pretty, but…

The proof of the pudding is in the eating

The client liked the look of the SquareSpace site so much that they asked us to use it as a guide for the new site. At the same time, as part of the web development process, we integrated Google Analytics with the temporary site so we could track traffic to the site for analysis later.

As we were building the new site, we would compare the two websites. Looking at them side by side quickly, there weren’t many obvious differences. But we compared the traffic after launch and the differences were startling.

Improved on page search engine optimization (SEO)

While the two sites may have looked similar, they were in fact, quite different. Many of the most important elements of web development are behind the scenes. When building a website, what you don’t see and don’t know can hurt performance.

By improving the content and the formatting of pages, we were able to make the new site more attractive to the search engines that index and rank the information. We also recommended to the client that they add new pages, such as Frequently Asked Questions, a blog page, and testimonials, to drive additional traffic to the site.

Improved off page SEO

In addition to on-page optimization, which makes the content of a website attractive to search engines, off-site optimization promotes your site across the web. To Google, sites that link back to your site are one indicator of good content. By paying attention to link opportunities we help to build brand awareness, improve search engine ranking and attract visitors from other websites.

Search engine optimization

WordPress is well-known to be one of the most effective web development platforms for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is true for a number of reasons:

  1. Works well on mobile.
  2. Lets you customize your SEO.
  3. Has logical page architecture.
  4. Generates semantic HTML5 markup.

While services like SquareSpace have SEO capabilities, they are not as deep or robust.

The proof that professional web development can make a big difference

We launched the new website on September 30. The graph below compares traffic to the site based on these dates: September 1-30 and October 1-30.

web development graphic. Google Analytics report comparing October 15-November 15, 2015 to September 1-October15, 2015

The graph below shows all traffic August 14-November 14. You can see that it took about two weeks for the search engines to fully index the site. Then once they did, the results clearly show that traffic to the site jumped by over 300%.

Google Analytics report showing traffic August 15 to November 25, 2015

Visit our website design and development page to learn more about the services that we offer. If you are interested in discussing your internet presence and web development needs, please call us at (518) 392-0846 or email [email protected].

2 thoughts on “Web development: there’s more to a book than a cover”

  1. Great article, I’ve been considering moving from wix to WordPress, cost less and looks like it offers better SEO capabilities, thanks for the good read.

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