So you’re planning a new website and you’re wondering about the answer to this question. You know you’ll need a domain, graphic design, text to describe your products or services and images. You also know that, at the end of the process, you’ll want your market to find your site, so you’ll need search engine optimization. If you’re like most people, you’ll have thought about those requirements in that order.
Now have you ever watched Grand Designs, or other shows about people embarking on DIY adventures, and cringed as the project went to pot half way through? 9 times out of 10, if construction projects fail or cost 10 times more than anticipated, it’s because the person threw the new house up without employing an architect, or built the cupboard without looking at the plans. Web builds follow the same principal.
SEO should form the foundation of your website planning process; once the thing is built without keywords baked in, there’s a certain amount you can do to make it perform but if the keywords that you market is searching for form part of the blueprint, you’ll have a much more solidly performing structure.
The shape of your site – the first level of navigation, the second level of navigation that breaks things up into subheadings and the third level, if you need it – deserve a lot of thought. You need to display enough information so that people can find what they’re after but not so much that they are over-faced. It should be logical, so that visitors are taken on a journey through your site that forms part of your sales process. Before any of this is considered however, you should know what the people who are looking for your service are doing to find it. Do your keyword research and let the results inform what you call your pages – even the choice of domain name that you buy – because if you want to maximize the visibility of your new website then the beginning of the SEO process, should be the beginning of the process.