Smart Web Design
I recently started working with a new client here at Cornerstone Media Group. And as part of the planning process that we do for all of our clients, I researched the client’s competition and looked at their suggested sites for designs they like. One site in particular caught my eye because it was the only one with a seemingly professional web design. I say “seemingly” because It had nice imagery and a pleasing color scheme but there was clearly no thought to SEO or site flexibility.
The most glaring web design problems on the site were these two items:
- All of the text on the site was in images
- The site was built with frames
Why is this a problem? I’ll explain:
1. All of the text on the site is in images
If the content of a website is inside of an image then it isn’t visible to search engines. One quick way to tell if the content is inside of an image is to try and highlight it on the page. If you can click and drag your cursor over the text and it highlights, then this is good, it is real text. If you can’t do this then the content is likely part of a larger image. The text you are reading on this blog can be highlighted but the name of our company, Cornerstone Media Group, at the very top of the blog cannot be because it is an image.
Search engines can’t read the text inside of images. So if ranking in Google is important to you, and it always is, then this is a major no-no. The same goes for text in a Flash file, Google can’t read it.
The other reason text in an image is bad is because it makes the site hard to update. What if you want to reword a sentence on your home page? If the text is part of an image then you’re going to have to open Photoshop, find the right file, change the text, then export it out and upload it to a server. This is a tedious process.
2. The site was built using frames
The other glaring problem on this site was that it was built using frames. What are frames? Essentially, frames are a couple of web pages stuck into one page. For example, you can have the left side of the page be one frame that contains your navigation and the body of the page can be another frame. When the user clicks on one of the navigation points in the left frame, the right frame is then filled with the appropriate content. It’s a quick and dirty solution for building a website.
But why is this bad? Search engines like for every page to have it’s own unique address. Frames don’t do this because there is only one address that loads in the various pages. Therefore the search engines aren’t going to be able to see all of the content in the site. They may see part of it or none at all. If you View Source on a page with frames you will see that none of the content is visible, just a few lines of code. Google likes content, not code.
These are just a couple of the factors that go into creating a smart website. I was surprised to see a popular professional organization using a site that was so poorly constructed. It only requires a little more planning to do things right but will ultimately save the client a lot of time and a lot of money.