If you have not performed keyword research before starting with the development of your site, then you are not takingthe right approach towards building a website for your customer. You might as well just look in the mirror and say, “It’s all about me! It’s all about me!” Keyword research gives you a wealth of information on how your audience searches, what phrases have meaning to them and what, specifically, they are looking for.
This feeds into the architecture and navigation of the site in huge ways.
Grayscale Comp Grayscale comps are common in the print design industry, but for whatever reason, not so much in the web design industry. In my opinion, they are just as important here as anywhere else. Color is a distraction. We’ve seen clients reject a site design because they didn’t like it. Turns out, they just didn’t like the colors! Grayscale comps allow designers to design the site using the appropriate contrasts without yet worrying about what colors the client does or doesn’t like, or how those colors are working together in particular areas of the site. Approve the design, then add color later.
Coding & Implementation Believe it or not, there are some web designers who don’t code websites. You have to find someone else to do that. Nothing wrong with that, just so long as you know this ahead of time. Sometimes you can have one person do both the design and code, and other times it might make sense to have two people with two different skill sets implementing your development in phases. Either way, for a site to work, the code has to be built to accommodate the design and the functionality you require.
Search Engine-Friendly Architecture I understand coding a site can be a daunting task, especially when you’re adding in unique functionality. But that’s no excuse not to code a site with search engines in mind! Developers need to consider common architectural issues that hinder a site’s performance in the search results, including poor navigation implementation, excessive internal linking, readable URLs, unspiderable links and pages, slow-loading pages, and more. While most developers don’t have search engine optimization experts on staff (even if they claim to!), it’s important to have someone to look over the work being done to ensure the architecture of the site won’t cause problems for you later.
Size Optimized Media Using any media on your site? If so, is it optimized properly? Often they aren’t, and that’s a problem. Everything from images to video should be optimized for speed and search friendliness. Most media can be compressed to be smaller in size (file size and display size) so they download faster. There is usually a keyword optimization component in alt tags or captions which can be implemented when the media is being created. Most video can be optimized for YouTube and images can be optimized for image search. These considerations are an important part of the development process.
Mobile Reactive Not concerned about what your site looks like on a mobile device? You should be! Even if your customers don’t complete transactions on your site from their mobile devices, mobile is often the start of their research process. This is usually the first place branding occurs. If your site doesn’t work or isn’t visually appealing in a mobile environment, you blew your first chance to make a good impression! Yet, with the growth of mobile devices, you can be sure if your audience isn’t using mobile widely today, they will be tomorrow. If you’re not there, you’re not for them.
Install Analytics All this web design stuff is great, but if you don’t have analytics code installed then you have no way of knowing how your new site is performing. Adding analytics code is easy and shouldn’t be an after-thought. It should come standard on all new websites.