Planning A New Website Build; Developer Q&A

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Sooner or later every business is confronted with decisions regarding the development of a new website. The process can be especially agonizing for business owners who already have their hands full. Don’t fret! The more information you have about the process, the more effective you’ll be in the decision-making process.

Let’s cover some of the most important questions to ask…

What Skillsets Are Needed For A New Website?

There are three or four key players in a website build or website revamp. Expect to need a developer, designer, and digital marketer to perform SEO and content functions. Developing websites is a highly specialized art. For developers and designers, it can be a lucrative job- only if new websites are continually being built. It’s important to understand this. The web designer and developer’s end goal is to get a website up and running as quickly as possible. (So they can move on to the next one.)

Technical SEO and content are both very important for the performance and impact of a website. A top-notch digital strategist will know where to put the effort in order to gain organic search visibility, rankings, and traffic. They can identify where the “low-hanging” fruit is, as well as what is needed for long-term success. Incorporating a digital strategist into the planning stage will help the website performance on day one. (Including wireframing which shows the structure of basic page elements.) If you missed that opportunity, it’s never too late. Professionals who are knowledgeable in SEO and content writing can still have a big impact on website project at any stage, even after publishing.

Consider hiring your content and SEO strategist as a “white-label” partner.

How Fast Will My New Website Load? 

A highly competitive website must load fast. An experienced developer will have solid recommendations regarding where to host your website for optimal performance results. They should also be comfortable with guaranteeing a site load speed. (within reason) The ideal website load time for mobile sites is 1-2 seconds. Why is this important to know? Most searches today are done on mobile, and more than half of those searches are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load. (Google’s 2021 Core Web Vitals update accentuated the “need for speed.”) Site loading time, responsiveness, and visual stability are all core web vitals. How fast and how well your website loads has a direct impact on your overall search optimization efforts.

The full responsibility falls within a developers role, so ensure that your developer gets it, and gets it done.

Which Web Platform Should Be Used?

The investment into a new or updated website will weigh heavily on who you hire, and what type of web platform they are building for you. When discussing the project with a digital marketer or developer, one of the first decisions to make is which platform to build a website on. Not all website platforms are created equal. There are significant differences between “easy website builders” and sophisticated content management systems like WordPress. Experienced developers will likely lean towards WordPress whereas less experienced developers will lean towards Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly. Simple website builders have increased in popularity since COVID-19. However, if you have competitive goals of improving organic Google rankings for top industry keywords, don’t build a website on your own.

Look for a developer who can develop a kick-butt WordPress site and an SEO digital marketer who ensures that the site is optimized.

Are You A Web Designer Or Web Developer?

Not serious about SEO? Then you may prefer  an “easy website builder” such as Squarespace, Wix or Weebly. These site builds require little website-building knowledge. They are limited to the templates and drag/drop tools and don’t require coding knowledge. For these simple website builders, developers and designers can be one in the same. On the other hand, if you ARE serious about search engine optimization , then WordPress websites are the way to go. For a WordPress site build, you’re more likely to have both a desinger and a developer working on your website.

Here’s a brief breakdown of the two roles:

  • Web designers are the graphic designers with technical skills who are responsible for making the new site user-friendly, and visually pleasing with branding in mind. They are front-end visual and UX people who give their concepts to developers to run with. When your business is super competitive consider a more customized approach- this is where a good web designer can
  • Web developers are often called “full stack developers” and they understand all of the technologies necessary to build a website or web app. They cover CSS Stylesheets, and arrange the core structure of a website. They are proficient in HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. (Older developers may also have Node.js, Python, C#, PHP, etc.) A good developer will be good at solving problems and have the end user experience top of mind.

How much search optimization Is Involved?

Developers and designers are NOT expected to have advanced SEO skills, and most don’t because it’s not that relevant to their work. The problem is that many will claim that they have these skills. When this happens, a client sits on a newly built website thinking that it’s “good to go,” but it’s not. They will not receive the long-term benefits of search engine optimization unless there is an investment moving forward.

Ideally, as the developer moves on to their next project, you have at least one other person on your digital team who can continue to monitor and maintain your new website, update content, and perform more advanced SEO objectives if needed. Establish a relationship with a digital marketer or equivelant who has experience with organic and technical SEO as well as content organization and development. These skills will create an important “checks and balances” system. Have your new website audited to ensure it has a sitemap and is both indexable and crawlable. Any site errors or keyword gaps can get addressed.

Stick with professional freelancers in the U.S.A. Contact Leaning Tree Digital for the content and SEO aspects of your website, as well as the long-term performance.


“As long as you’re going to be thinking anyway, think big.”

President Donald J. Trump

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