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Website Design Process

We are often asked how long it takes to create a new website. Recently we created a graphic that gives some details about that process and shows how relatively complex it is. Here is a low quality graphic version. If you want to use it without the watermark then contact us.

how to build a website

More to it than you thought?

If you follow these steps, particularly the most often neglected ones in the lower “globe” then your website should have a good chance of success.

How to write “rich content” for Google success

website rich content explainedIf you are interested in the “performance” of your business website you will have heard many times that the “quality” of the content is of paramount importance.

I have this from google themselves:

Basic principles of Content Writing

  • Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
  • Don’t deceive your users.
  • Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee.
  • Ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
  • Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.

I want to explore this further and provide some tips on writing good copy for Search Engines to index (record), because if they index your content then you are much more likely to be found higher in the search results, which of course is what you and everyone else wants.

Over the past 16 years and as a professional website development company the team at Clickingmad is asked probably 9 out of 10 times how to write effective website copy by our clients.

The answer is often easy to come by, dependent on the subject, but still eludes many a website owner. I will firstly provide four golden rules about the subject of SEO, (search engine optimisation) that everyone needs to know.

I will state them as negatives. I.e. what SEO is NOT. I’m talking about “natural”, or “organic” results here, not paid for advertising such as Adwords etc.

Some “Golden Rules” for SEO success.

  • Effective SEO is NOT cheap. Effective work on promoting a website takes time. Time is money. Etc.
  • SEO is not fast, it can take months to get any results from this activity.
  • Any work done on SEO is NOT guaranteed. There is no way anyone can try to manipulate the complex algorithms used by the big search engines to their own benefit. Frankly there is no need to try as if you’re spotted your website will either be blocked or so far down the list as not to be relevant.
  • SEO is not a one time operation, as the ways in which search engines work, their predilection to shake up their database on regular occasions and the fact that your competition is also working on their web search results means that you have to keep doing it, as frequently as required.

When I talk about SEO to clients or groups of businesses I use the “plate spinning” analogy.

To get the best from the search engines you have to do many different activities, all at once. So you set your plates spinning and keep them spinning effectively. The plates could be labeled;

  • web page updates
  • website structure updates
  • news updates
  • statistical monitoring
  • meta tag research and implementation
  • competitor research
  • website speed monitoring
  • generic domain name effectiveness
  • more and more updates

The list goes on and on.

Important; if your not updating your website on (at least) a monthly basis you’re not giving it a chance at being attractive to search engines.

As usual I have digressed, so back to content.

Click here to read the next article in this series


Why image sizes on a website are important..

Images on websites can make them load slower. Hurting your rankings on Google and ruining the user experiences.

We have all come across websites that seem to take ages to load, particularly ecommerce websites. It may be frustrating for humans to wait for website pages to load, but what if your website is penalised by Google for being slow?

Google has made it plain that it expects website owners and developers to ensure that their code and design load quickly. I believe it acts against websites that are slow to load by dropping them down the rankings of search results. So if there is even a chance of that happening isn’t it about time you looked at one of the main culprits of slow loading websites? Images… Here is a little test:

Their images… Here is a little test:

Can you guess what the file sizes are of these images:

make websites load quicker

online image compression software

Do they look that different?

Well, one is 77% smaller in file size than the other!

The usual “save for web” setting has been applied through PhotoShop. (This basically saves the image at 72 dpi and into a .jpeg format – more on that below)

A is 34k

B is 7.9k. After the same treatment as A but then run through an online image compression program.


So how can an image that was already fairly small be so important?

Imagine if these images were of a product that you were searching for to buy online. You visit a website that provides you with the facility to “show all” products that match what you are looking for. You could have literally hundreds of seemingly small images that – taken together – equal vast amounts of physical size that the website has to load and your web browser software (Internet Explorer/Chrome/Safari etc) has to display for you.

Taking the examples above into this analogy; image A, shown 150 times on one page, will result in a page load of 5.1 mb, or nearly 5 floppy disks – remember them? (plus all the code that makes the website page in the first place, the header images, the banners, the server speed itself and of course your internet access speed etc).

Image B on the other hand will result in 1.18 mb of imagery.

Yet I think you can see there isn’t that much difference in the quality of the images themselves.

The process I suggest you go through for all images on your website is this:

  1. Get the size right for the space you want it to display in. Don’t just expect your website software to resize it for you. Most do not do a very good job of that. Use a photo editing software package such as Photoshop. (Put the effort in here and the rest is much easier.)
  2. Save your resized image “for web” or a similar setting. This will reduce the pixel per inch that the image is displayed in and make the resolution closer to the norm that the web and web browsers have come to expect.
  3. And the best bit? Use a compression tool to reduce the file size even further. See this shot:

image compression software

I used https://compressor.io/ to reduce all the images on this page. If you look closely at the image above you should see the before and after sizes shown. 34k – 7.9k. Pretty impressive.

TIP: One of the worst culprits in allowing over sized images on websites is WordPress. Folks think choosing a display size will resize the image – it doesn’t, it simply makes the image LOOK smaller. All the original data is still there as is the original file size! Today I visited a website of an American web company (I won’t mention the name) whose images of themselves had not been resized or compressed. I did them a favour; I resized them, optimised them and then compressed them.  One went from 4.1 mb down to 84k! No loss of quality and exactly the same size. I then sent them their images to replace the massive ones – as a favour. Even the “experts” can get it wrong sometimes.

I made a reference to .jpeg earlier. (Joint Photographic Experts Group – who invented it apparently) This and others, like .gif and .bmp for example are file extensions that tell your computer what programs to open them in and indeed; how to display them. .Jpeg removes some of the detailed pixel information of the image and therefore reduces the quality – how much, depends on the setting. It doesn’t mean that the images look rubbish, it means that they fit the media in which we are using them – correctly.

I hope this helps you keep your website fast to load; providing a better experience for your website visitors and keeping the Google god happy as well.

Enjoy your photography and editing!