Michigan Website Design

Graphic Design
Software
SEO

This triangle diagrams the process of website design, and the skillets represented by each of the legs are not interchangeable. In fact, they each require three very different mindsets, skillsets and educational backgrounds.

As a Michigan business owner, we're curious: Do you take pride in what you do? Are you thrilled about the products you supply, the services you offer, and the image you represent? Of course you are. If you didn't believe you were providing value, why would you be in business in the first place?

So here's another question for you: Are you happy with the way your business is represented on the internet? This is a very important question, because unless you're a fortune 500 or prominent national chain, your first introduction to a new customer is very likely going to be digital. They're going to search for what you offer, and google will handle the introduction.

Considering that, let's ask one more question: Do you feel your website accurately and competently represents who you are?

We ask because the answer is a definite no for a lot of people. Maybe your website is ancient and hasn't been updated in years; or, maybe you're stuck with a development team that is unresponsive, inconsiderate, or just doesn't follow through on their promises. Who knows?

If your answer is "no" for whatever reason, perhaps it's time to consider professional assistance in Michigan Website Design.

Now, don't get us wrong. Professional website design is not for everyone, essentially because it ain't cheap. The price factor is an important consideration, and so is the fact that expert assistance might not be for you. If you have a small website site with basic content and simple needs, you have a fair chance of winging it on your own -- even achieving success in your competitive field -- by patching together a straightforward, do-it-yourself website via some combination of the many free development tools widely available online. That approach is totally fine if it works and fits your needs, but let's be honest: There is a comprehensible distinction between the ad hoc adventures of amateur effort and professional website design. The real shebang is not a one man show; it is a collaborative effort by a team of specialists with very different mindsets, skillsets and educational backgrounds.

Graphic Design

The interface, the look and feel, the charm and charisma of the page that occupies a visitor's screen is a function of the craftsmanship of your designer. Think of this: A potential customer is led to your website from google, and seconds after load time has already decided whether to investigate or bounce. That's simply the reality of the market.

The responsibility of captivating customer attention falls upon the shoulders of the designer. This is not someone who has "dabbled in photoshop." This is someone who has mastered it, along with Illustrator and InDesign, someone with a keen understanding of image manipulation, aspect ratio and ready access to other tools of the trade. This person knows how to balance images with text, and how to exhibit a layout that is both intuitive and natural to use. Buttons are obviously buttons. Menus are obviously menus. Things you can click on are obviously clickable. Website Design is not only how it looks -- it's also how it communicates and interacts with the visitor.

Now, you could bump the designer from the equation by purchasing a canned template available for widespread consumption... but then your interface wouldn't really be yours, and chances are, it's already being used by someone else! You could use clip art and stock photos to pepper your pages, but how can you truly convey your message with 3rd party materials assembled from entirely different sources? They might be close, but they won't be you.

Graphic Design is a key point of the triangle, because first impressions matter.

Software

How often have you clicked on a link in your web browser and taken for granted that things just work? As an end user, you're typically only exposed to the icing on the cake -- to a comfortable interface where you can navigate with your mouse, locate items of relevance with a search bar, and read information at your leisure. When you load a web page, the interface is what you see, but underneath and in the background there is a very complicated and structured framework upon which the entire operation is built.

All the "stuff" on the internet is transmitted to your computer and interpreted by your browser via the magic of software. While the typical user thinks of software as "an app that does stuff," at it's very core, software is an extensive string of polarized data -- which is just a fancy way of saying it's a bunch of 1's and 0's that represent ON and OFF. If it's done well, using the end-product is intuitive: click a link, load a web page; toggle some settings, hit "Apply"; type some text and save the result. Actually making the software work is a much more complicated procedure.

The responsibility of website function falls upon the shoulders of the programmer. We're not talking about someone who's taken some classes on CodeAcadmy or helped some buddies put some movies on a webpage. A real website programmer understands the workings and use of logic structures, data structures, algorithmic implementation and systematic debugging.

The tools of the programmer are endless, ranging from  simple text editors to full-blown IDEs which vary depending on the programming languages required for the project. That's right -- languages. Did you know that the majority of programmers need to be "multilingual" in order to build a website?

This is definitely the case with website design. In fact, your typical website design programmer usually codes in at least four languages, and probably more. Front End Website Design is handled by html, css and javascript. The back end languages are rather variable, and could be anything from perl, python, php, to .net, java or some derivative of the C family. These languages are used for so many purposes; in all cases, to facilitate the flow of information from the server to the browser, and in many cases, to build tools that give non-programmers the ability to edit the website themselves.

Front End Web Design

Desiging a system that interacts with someone browsing the web. Essentially, Front End Web Design is programming the user interface for a web browser, tablet or phone.

Back End Web Design

Developing a system that decides when and how to send information to a web browser, phone or tablet. Essentially, Back End Web Design is programming a web server to "serve up information" to a web site visitor.

Now, you could cut the programmer out of the deal and use some canned Content Management System (CMS) to maintain and edit your website. Many software packages -- the most common of which is WordPress -- are readily available and totally free. But please make sure you understand what you're getting into and the risks involved by signing on with such a system. The majority of these CMS's need careful attention and constant software updates to secure.

Did you know that, at the time of this writing, Wordpress has over 6,000 known and documented security vulnerabilities? If you want your website to be safe, secure and protected, your best bet is to hire a professional programmer to write you software that specifically caters to your needs. Your business isn't like everyone else's business, so why would you use everyone else's software?

Software is a key point of the triangle, because without it, nothing works.

SEO

SEO is a common buzzword these days; it stands Search Engine Optimization, and it means exactly what it says: optimizing a website so that it's found by search engines. Back in the early days of Google, SEO pretty much meant "go out and get people to link to your website." Now, it means so much more, and is a key ingredient in website design.

The responsibility of promoting your website falls upon the shoulders of the internet marketer, and if there's one word to describe these professionals, it's tenacity. They write unique, keyword-oriented content for your products and services. They scour your existing content, making sure keywords are appropriately placed in urls, html meta data and body content. They make sure images are named appropriately and given detailed descriptions. They also toil beyond the bounds of the website itself, by managing social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, writing blog posts, creating press releases and communicating with your business partners, contacts and cohorts in order to establish a profuse and thorough cyberspace "hub" that lures potential customers back to the source -- all the while monitoring the quality of your internet presence and planning improvements for the future.

Did you Know?

Google can't "see" images -- it can only read them. So if google reads this html, it has no idea what it's looking at:

<img src="/images/file_001.jpg">  

    That means, no matter how cool that image is, it's not helping your SEO effort, and it's not going to show up in a Google Image search. The internet marketer will fix that, and make it look something like this:

<img  
  src="/images/michigan-seo-group-logo.jpg"
  alt="Michigan SEO Group is a local Ann Arbor business that  
      specializes in SEO and Website Design"

Now, Google knows exactly what that image is, and it will start showing up in searches.

This constant action and tenacious attention to detail equals tons of dedicated man hours, and there's really no way to automate the majority of the marketer's work without generating spammy results. Time spent equals cash invested, which is why professional SEO services are typically contracted with a recurring monthly charge.

Sure, you could just outsource the work to a low profile company and pay a cheap, one time fee -- but please be very careful about doing this. More often than not, outfits like these either deliver no meaningful results -- or much, much worse -- try to cheat the system by using perfidious techniques that violate Google's Webmaster Guidelines. If the former happens, that's a bit of money wasted, but no big deal. If the latter happens, and Google finds out, you've stumbled into a marketing catastrophe. Let's be very clear here: Even if you have no idea what the cheap seo company did, even if you didn't tell them to do it, Google will hold you responsible. Google may not even notify you there's a problem. How will you find out? By realizing that, all of the sudden, your website is nowhere to be found in Google. That's right. Break Google's Webmaster Guidelines, and your website can be completely removed from their search index. Do not ever let that happen.

Search Engine Optimization is a key point of the triangle, because without SEO, it doesn't matter how badass your website is, neither how it looks nor how it functions, because no one will ever even know it even exists.

Nice Legs!

We've spent a bit of time discussing points of the triangle, but let's not forget about the legs. The legs represent communication among the points, and the more efficient the communication, the more effective the final product.

The designers and the programmers need to work together to build a useful interface.

The programmers and the marketers need to work together to make sure the website caters to search engines.

The marketers and the designers need to work together so media and branding are consistent across the web.

It's not necessarily a bad thing -- or even that uncommon -- for each point of the triangle to contain teams located all over the world, but a tight-knit group is better than best. If you want truly effective website design, you want a group of people who know each other, work together, and communicate easily and often with the rest of the team who operate outside their prospective expertise.

Together, Let's THRIVE Online

At Michigan SEO group, we specialize in Michigan website design. Of course, if you're not in Michigan and we can help you out, we'd be more than happy to do so. But it's very important to us to be able to work with our clients on a face-to-face basis, and ultimately, we're just as interested in developing great relationships as we are in developing websites. Our typical client knows the whole team by first name and knows a prompt response is only a phone call or email away. If it's easier for you to talk in person, no problem: We'll simply invite you to our office or meet you at yours.

Do you feel like your internet presence just isn't what it should be? We can help. Give us a call, fill out our contact form, or stop on by for a conversation! We'd love to meet you, and if it's helpful, we'll even give you a free copy of our book on SEO!

Together, let's THRIVE online.