There are two things to consider when designing a web site. Certainly the look and feel is paramount. How do you design a site that will stand out amongst the millions that live on the internet? How do you tap artistic sensibilities and skillfully display them on a page that is attractive and compelling?
What may be even more important in conceiving an internet location is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). These are the tools and cues that live behind the scenes to rank your site highly, preferably on the first page, when searched for by an engine such as Google, Yahoo or Bing. No matter how beautiful and inviting your site is, it serves no purpose if it buried on a back page of results and is not seen. Both graphic design and SEO are vital, but the latter might be more important to ensure the traffic to that you desire. Analysis by the leading search engine companies prove that visitors rarely look past the first page of displayed results.
There are many sources that provide the tools to build your own website, often with good looking results. Yet, while they may be attractive and interesting, they still must incorporate the SEO tools for full rendering of results. It may be best to find a professional designer to assist you. There are many companies that can build your site and you can be sure to find one that will fit your budget.
Since they will bill you for their time, it is best to provide them with as much up front work as you can. You will have an idea of how you want to pages to look. Do not hesitate to sketch a drawing, perhaps in color pencils, what you desire Highlight the key words and phrases that best define your purpose that should be incorporated into the SEO results. Your designer may have other ideas but your efforts will serve as a starting point for your project.
Things to remember that will contribute to a successful site with strong Search Engine Optimization are powerful optimized graphics and how fast the pages load. Visitors are easily frustrated while waiting to see what they are looking for and will move on to the next result if sitting too long. Additionally, easy and intuitive navigation through a site is important to keep a guest interested. Key words should be highlighted, links should be tested and work well and, above all, the basic copy needs to be well written and displayed in an attractive form.
Once your web site is finished and in production it is important that you revisit and update often and regularly. Hopefully your design is robust enough to give you the high rankings you desire but this needs to be continually tested to see if this is the case. It is important to maintain the site with new and current information. Visitors are extremely fickle and will move on if it appears that the information is unnecessary and dated.
By stressing these few key points in your website development you can guarantee the traffic you desire.