Insight on how to make the web work for you and your business, from our Internet Services division.

Improve Your Web Performance with Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Here’s a critically revealing test for your web site. Imagine you are a potential customer for your product, and enter your product category in Google or another major search engine.  Chances are you will not show up on the first results page. Or the second. And maybe not even in the top 100 listings.

Why should this be important to you? The fact is that search engines are the way most people (85%) find new sites, and the way most businesses find new sources for products and services. If you depend on your web site for lead generation, or for direct sales, or simply competitive product information, there are two ways you can drive new customers to your site. One is through aggressive promotion. The other is through Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

The question is, if you can double your site traffic with a fairly small expenditure in SEO, is it a good investment? The answer will depend on your own Return on Invenstment (ROI) calculations based on conversion, sales, etc.  But consider this: How much would you have to invest in traditional promotions such as direct mail, banner advertising, e-mail campaigns or space advertising to spike your response numbers by 100%? That should quickly put the answer in perspective.

More importantly, if you are going to be a player on the web, Search Engine Optimization is simply something you are going to have to do, because your competitors will almost certainly be doing it. Otherwise your web investment becomes less valuable the further down the rankings you slide. To find out how you can do it and how much it will cost seek out a competent web site developer (we are one of the best) and experience a dramatic improvement in your web site performance.

web design or web development?

When it comes to establishing or relaunching your company’s website, you may end up fielding offers from an array of suitors. Some may present themselves as website designers. Others may call themselves website developers. What’s the difference between the two? Can you have one without the other? Which choice is better for your business? The Sumner Group has answers for you!

Design

Website design takes care of the look and feel of your website. Website design can be as unique and creative as necessary to reflect your business image and produce a visitor-friendly experience. But relying solely on website design to build a website can severely limit the site’s effectiveness.

For example, oftentimes websites are designed entirely with flash animation elements. Flash animation websites are almost entirely image-based. Although flash animation websites are extremely popular, and they look great, these website designs are notoriously subject to be bypassed by search engine spiders because search engine spiders cannot read imagery. Regardless of how much text is within the flash animation, to a search engine spider the text simply does not exist. Because of this limitation, such sites never appear on search engines if they have not undergone extensive web development. Add to that the lack of support for Flash on the iPad and other next-generation devices, and it’s easy to see why many businesses are shying away from Flash-based websites, although it is a nifty design tool.

... and Development

Web development makes a website work well with search engines and existing Internet technology. This service, in addition to good website design, will provide the best exposure, usability and visibility for your website.

For example, although the graphical elements of website design include the navigation bar, the actual navigation process (how a visitor travels through your site) is accomplished through a variety of development methods. For instance, internal page hyperlinks, breadcrumb links, site maps and a search function all play a role in user-friendly navigation and can only be properly achieved through effective website development.

The way the content of the website design is managed is also a part of web development. Bringing continuity to website design is best achieved by using cascading style sheets or CSS, which is a web development process. CSS also allows for quicker recognition and response by search engine spiders, thereby increasing the visibility of a website by search engine spiders.