It's natural for business owners to trust the web designer to do a good job... and visually all may appear fine, but, what you paid for is not always what you get. Hidden mistakes can cost you thousands of dollars in lost traffic, sales and revenue.

Here's the top five mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. Design first, worry about SEO later.

We often hear this from clients... their main focus is to get their website designed and launched. The best time to perform optimization is before the design is even started. Why? Because optimization tasks (like keyword research) can have a significant impact on the best methods to use in design, site structure, navigation and more importantly - how the content is written. Changing these elements after the design is problematic and costly. At the very least; ask your designer to include a search specialist for consulting before design - it can save you in lost traffic, conversions and profit for a long time to come.

2. Too much flash - too many images

This is something we encounter often when we are asked to re-design a site. It's likely the site has been unsuccessful because with so much usage of flash or images - search engines can't even see the content. Most of the time; the previous designer has used images for navigation with no alternative for search engines and the business owner doesn't notice because it looks like text.

3. Same title - every page

There must be millions of sites out there with this problem. The web designer creates the first page; inputs the title and then duplicates the page to build all other pages. The title is not visible on the page so the proofreader or client may never notice (the title does appear in the HTML file and at the top of your browser window when you view or bookmark a page). The title also frequently appears as the link to your site on search engine results. And, the content of your title is one of the most important factors used by search engines to rank your site. Each page in your site should have a unique title that describes the page content. Of course; it could be argued that the designer is not an SEO specialist and, that may be true but - read the number 1 mistake.

4. My new site is beautiful, but where did my rankings go?

Here's the situation: A business owner has a website with about 75 pages and he wants a re-design. The site is older and well-established - there are a great number of existing rankings for important keywords. The designer creates a beautiful new site and in the process; he re-names most of the page URL's. Nobody really notices until the site is launched and all of a sudden the site's visibility in the search engines immediately dissapears. This is a very common problem. If your site was built by one designer using ASP and the new designer decides to use PHP; file names will change and hence your URLs will change. Sometimes it's just a matter of organizing the files during development. You may have a page URL like this: but after a redesign; the page URL changes to: - just this one simple change and like magic your rankings will disappear. I've had designers tell me "Oh, but the rankings will come back". That may be true to some extent - but not always. First the search engines have to find the new page, re-index the page and then re-evaluate the page content. Why gamble? Just make sure the file names STAY the SAME!

5. Yes, you have to actually use words.

No car dealer wants to say "used cars for sale" - they would much prefer "pre-owned vehicles". When was the last time you searched for a "pre-owned vehicle"? This problem is prevelant with many businesses (not the designer) - and even though it seems like a simple concept; if you want to rank for a particular keyword - you have to actually use it in your content.

About US


Located minutes from Baltimore and Washington DC; Drakesol Design offers expert Internet Solution services including: search engine optimization, website analysis, and top-shelf web design to clients nationwide. We take a comprehensive approach, constantly finding new ways to help our clients achieve a better ROI in the form of new leads and increased sales. We focus on usability for both human visitors as well as search engines and design websites that are results-oriented.