Introduction to the 4 pillars
Imagine sitting at a table with 4 legs, and one of those 4 legs is removed. The table will very likely topple over or at the very least become unstable. The same is true for your website.
There’s a lot that goes into making a great and powerful website. If you’re looking to build a new website that is going to rank well in Google and leading search engines, there are 4 main pillars that you need to focus on:
- Search engine optimization
- Website Design
- Website Programming
- Website Hosting
When hiring a company or individual to develop your website, take the time to make sure they can provide services and expertise in all 4 of these areas.
With these 4 pillars, you’ll find that there are a lot of commonalities or tie-ins from one to another. The first pillar for example, runs through the entire duration of the project and pulls everything together.
Search Engine Optimization
The First Order of Business
Any good website should start with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is first on this list because it’s the pillar that provides much of the foundation for the others. Starting out a project with good SEO is key. Because it helps to direct so many aspects of the website design, programming, and hosting needs for the site.
The most important steps in SEO are establishing and determining the proper keywords the site should target. The web developer you hire should be able to help find the best options for your site and business for keywords. What to do If your market is overly competitive? The web developer should be able to help you find good, long-tail keywords that are more attainable for your business.
Your website designer should also be able to put together a strategy for how your site will gain ranking for those keywords. A common, (and possibly most important), part of that strategy is copywriting.
Writing copy for a website isn’t as easy as you might think. There’s a lot more that goes into it than simply putting words and sentences together. It’s finding ways to mix in the right usage of keywords and expanding simple thoughts into full paragraphs. A copywriter will find creative ways to tell a story. They will use headlines and bullet points to emphasize the important parts of the message.
Any web design should know the core basics of SEO and the areas to focus on such as image names, page speed, keyword identification, copywriting, keyword usage, and coding.
Grabbing Attention Before You Read The First Word
A website design comprises so much more than just putting pretty colors and font families together. It’s about knowing how to design a page that’s engaging. Making the reader want to read further and stay active on the page. Typically on a page, there’s the main Call to Action (CTA) or various buttons that guide the site visitors toward the main portion of the website.
When it comes to designing the website, the designer should focus on what the SEO audit reports reveal for the project.
For example, if the SEO audit shows the site needs 20 images, the designer will need to find a way to incorporate that many images into the site. This needs to be done without it being overwhelming or bloated with photos.
Far more difficult is to account for all the text that is needed. If the SEO review shows that the competitors all have 1000 words of text on their homepage, the site you’re designing for will
likely need 2000 words of text minimum. Finding ways to work all 2000 words of text into the page and make it enjoyable to read is no easy task.
Another tough element of website design is knowing what design patterns and techniques are not just trending at that time, but highly effective.
Years ago, it was very popular to have a grungy texture and feel to a site. That trend lasted about as long as a full metal waist belt (great looking until you sat down and it dug into your skin).
No, a good website design should be much more than just black text on a white background. But not necessarily designed to the happening trend of the day.
By starting with a strong SEO audit, a designer can create the visual look and feel of the site that will allow the next steps in the website design process to go so much smoother.
Designed To Knock It Out Of The Park
Programming would also include properly setting up WordPress and any needed database or custom features.
Out-of-the-box WordPress isn’t the most stable or secure CMS (content management system) available. Understanding how to tighten up the security settings on WordPress is also essential. This would typically fall under the programming phase of a website build.
It would include things like:
- setting up secure passwords
- Installing needed security plugins
- Plus, knowing which plugins are safe to use and which to avoid
Another important aspect of programming is keeping the code neat and organized. For a website to be good, it needs to be expandable. Meaning that it needs to be able to have new features and pages added to it at any point in the future.
If the code is messy and unorganized, this can be tough or impossible to navigate. Along with this, the programming must not be done in a way that the website is programmed or built into a corner where there is no room for expansion.
Your Hosting Should Accommodate You
Hosting your site on a cheap hosting provider will eventually cause headaches. Your website host should have technical support available to you 24/7 and in ways that are easy to reach and communicate with. That likely means US-based tech support. This would also include configuring an SSL certificate and dedicated IP address for the site and many other technical features.
Part of the responsibility of the host is to make sure that the server is running only stable and supported versions of key programming languages like PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor).
The website hosting provider should also be able to assist with setting up and configuring things like Astra security licenses, malware scans, firewalls, and other key security features for the site.
A key part of a website is the domain name, such as fullscopecreative.com. Your website hosting provider should be able to help you get any number of domain names registered. They should also be able to help get licenses for Google Workspaces or Office 365 and assist with all the configuration of those and any other needed DNS record updates at any time.
With WordPress websites, one of the keys to security is running the system updates regularly. Your host should have options available to help with this to make sure your website is always running the most updated and secure version of all software.
A key fallback security feature needed is backups. A weekly backup should be made of your site and then stored locally or on an online cloud system like Amazon Web Services. Your web hosting provider should be able to help make sure backups are available and working properly for your site.
Yup SEO is so important that it shows up again as hidden pillar 5. This is the basic marketing of the site. Both on page and off page. Online and offline.
In projects that we work on at Full Scope Creative, this SEO component is carried through in all other areas of the site build. The SEO audit is the first step in any project. In that audit, we’ll establish keywords for the site.
SEO is often where the needed asset of copywriting would come into play since so much of SEO is all about writing content. Some would argue (and I could probably be talked into it) that copywriting is a pillar in and of itself since it plays such a huge role in helping to index a site. But that’s a subject for another time.
Now that the site is programmed and ready to launch this would be the perfect time to include features like Google Analytics, reCaptcha codes, and submitting the site to Google Search Console.
How To Solidify Your Website
It’s Easy When You…
Think about the four pillars that will hold up your website.
- Search engine optimization
- Website Design
- Website Programming
- Website Hosting
To use an idiom here, the above four items become “your pillar of strength.” You want a website that is responsive to keywords that move you to the top of the search.
You need to make sure your design comes off as not only a thing of beauty but one that is inviting.
There can’t be enough said about the importance of website programming. Save yourself the headache and hire the professionals. You save in the long run.
That goes ditto for website hosting. You snooze, you’ll lose. In a downed website or in lost potential customer contact. This is that important!
There is an answer. Check out Full Scope Creative. We’ve been doing this type of work for over 12 years. We truly can say, we’ve been there and done that.
Use our expertise to make a website that is designed with your individualized needs in mind.