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The Secret of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The Secret of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Nearly everyone that has a website or manages one, is familiar with the term Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short. But do they really know what it is? Many have told me a very similar answer: “you add a bunch of keywords to your website and then you rank #1 for them.” While in part this is true, it is a very inaccurate statement. It might work if I was some kind of sorcerer with an SEO spell but so far, it doesn’t work. In fact, adding too many of the same keywords can actually make your web rank go down, not up. So where is the line and what is the secret to good SEO?

That line is blurred and undefined. In reality, Google uses over 200 different factors to determine where your website ranks amongst your competitors. Those factors are defined by an algorithm that searches the Google database and returns search results related to the keyword query. The problem is that no one except for Google really knows how it works. To make it more challenging, Google changes the algorithm quite often. Sometimes the changes are minor, sometimes it is a complete rewrite. This leads to an ever changing environment that keeps SEO specialists on their toes.

In April of 2012, Google released an algorithm update code named Penguin (they love naming them after cute furry animals). Penguin was by no means cute to many webmasters and SEO professionals. It’s target was to seek out and penalize any websites that were manipulating the search results with SEO. Many of these websites lost as much as 90% of their traffic and never regained it. Many webmasters had to start from scratch and rebuild, some went out of business.

While many sites were devastated, Google did layout some basic ground rules as how to build websites and perform SEO in the future which still hold true today. Our secret lies within these rules.

Lessons from Penguin: Quality Content and User Experience

Like many businesses, the ones who offer the best product, most often succeed. This is no different for Google. Google’s business model is to serve the best quality web search results. To get the best results, they expanded the algorithm to include a more 3 dimensional approach focusing on the website experience and the content presented to users, not just keywords within a page. They updated the algorithm to predict which websites have the most user satisfaction. It’s layout, quality of copy, images and video.

But how can Google tell if the website provides a positive user experience? Afterall, Googlebot is nothing more than a computer program. How can it see what is on the page and tell what people think of it?


Google Analytics offers detailed data about visitors and their behavior on your website. Many webmasters are already familiar with this. A Google Analytics dashboard provides insight on not just what your visitors are doing on your website but can help the savvy webmaster draw conclusions on how Google uses this data. Google monitors visitor behavior on your website regardless of if you have Google Analytics or not. They use this data to help determine the user’s experience and factor that in to where you might rank in the search results. But this doesn’t provide all of the information Google needs to offer an accurate ranking for specific keywords.

It still needs SEO. The user may have a pleasant experience on your website with thoughtful well written copy and beautiful professional imagery but Google still needs to know why the visitor is there in the first place and what makes the experience pleasant.

Why does your website appeal to users that find with a certain string of keywords? It all lies in SEO. Like image alt tags that tell Google what the image on your website is of. The page title and headlines that inform the user where content they desire is located. The page URL and meta data offering key indicators to the search engine on who a specific page might appeal to and how that page should be handled by external factors (ie: og tag for social media).. Oh yeah, and about another 194 other different factors.

Data Science, Artform and Sorcery?

My exposure to SEO began around 2008 as I built a nationally ranked auto parts website generating 60,000-80,000 visitors a month and then on to run a digital marketing agency for the better half of the last decade. Since then I have seen many changes in the field of Search Engine Optimization giving me an evolved knowledge. With this deeper knowledge I have come to learn the secret to successful SEO.

SEO is not data science and it is not an artform but both. It is a blend of using what we already know in the form of metrics and data analysis but also quite a bit of creativity. Developing good content, well structured websites is important but it also takes a little guesswork trying to predict what will work since Google doesn’t really give us all the answers. There is no real handbook or teacher or school. If anything, it is a lot of intuition and possibly a little bit of sorcery.

Typography on the Web: A Contrast to Design Trends

Typography on the Web: A Contrast to Design Trends

The advancements of web technologies over the past decade have allowed for a much more vibrant experience; both for designers and developers architecting websites, as well as for the end user who views and interacts with those websites. The options for fonts, and available web colors have especially evolved over time, allowing for a broader spectrum of how text-based content can be displayed on a web page. The unfortunate side effects this has caused, are design trends that have steered in a direction away from core principles of typography, readability, and accessibility.

The web was created to make text legible, and readable: Pure black text on pure white background; deep blue links on pure white background; deep purple for visited links on pure white background. As more web colors were available to newer browsers, and monitors, designers have been experimenting with new color options to help set their websites, or brands apart from the rest.

While new options can certainly a good thing, over time the concepts of readability, and contrast have fallen by the wayside. It is crucial to design a website so that all text has the appropriate amount of color contrast between foreground, and background to ensure that it complies with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, at least the AA contrast ratio standard. The best a website can achieve is the AAA standard, but a vast majority of websites on the Internet will not pass the AAA contrast check.

Things have changed for the font tools available as well. Designers have sought to explore more possibilities on how to elegantly display text, with more options of stylized fonts. Before the era of Google Fonts, there were various image, Flash, or other replacement options for text to display outside of the core web fonts available. The tools available now are considerably better, but caution must still be taken when selecting fonts. A designer can pore over various fonts to find one “cool” enough for their site. But, do they consider every kind of user that will be trying to read that font? What is “cool” to a designer, may be difficult to read for an average website user.

The weight of the fonts used on a website are also extremely important – a thinner font weight can be more difficult to read, while a bolder font weight may be too overbearing for most users to even bother reading. Selecting an elegant font that is still close enough to the standard fonts that have been around forever is a vital part of conveying whatever message your website is stating. When tying this together with the colors selected, the contrast of the font on its background is one of the most important aspects of readability, and accessibility.

Even if the contrast of text on a web page looks good to a designer in their perfect settings, caution must also be taken to consider that not all users have the same vision, and not all users have the same brightness, and contrast settings on their devices. Finding the right balance in a design’s standard brightness, as well as when viewed at a lower brightness setting, is beneficial to ensuring users remained engaged with your site. If a user cannot read something, your message is lost, and likely that user is also lost. Keep typography readable, and keep your users reading.

I, Robot…you, Informed

I, Robot…you, Informed

Easily one of the more overlooked tools in any SEO arsenal. A Robots.txt file is not so much the road map that a sitemap is but more the footnotes of your website.

“What is robots.txt?” you ask?

The robots.txt file is a text file that instructs the search engine robots on how to crawl pages on the website. The robots.txt file is a part of the the robots exclusion protocol (REP) – a group of rules that regulate how robots crawl, access and index content. The REP also includes things like meta robot tags and explains how search engines should treat links, such as “follow” or “nofollow”.

SEO | robots.txt | Alpine Design


All robots.txt rules result in one of the following three outcomes:

  • Full allow: All content may be crawled.
  • Full disallow: No content may be crawled.
  • Conditional allow: The directives in the robots.txt determine the ability to crawl certain content.

General must-knows about robots.txt:

  • In order to be found, the robots.txt file must be placed in a website’s top-level directory
  • Robots.txt is case-sensitive: file must be named “robots.txt” (not Robots.txt, robots.TXT, etc).
  • It’s a best practice to indicate the location of a sitemap associated with this domain at the bottom of the robots.txt file.
  • Improper usage of the robots.txt file can hurt your ranking (An incorrect robots.txt file can block search engines from indexing your page)
  • The robots.txt file controls how search engine spiders see and interact with your web pages however some robots may choose to ignore your robots.txt file
Psychology of UX Design

Psychology of UX Design


The process of establishing the color scheme of a fresh website is vital to the integrity, usability, and success of that website. Selecting colors that fit a brand, evoke the intended emotion, and give users a comfortable experience is a major factor in the lifespan of a website, no matter its ultimate goal.

The branding, and nature of a website are important, but careful attention must still be paid to the end user, and how you want them to feel as they journey through a website. The psychology of color plays a key role in the decisions made to advance, and retain that journey for your users. Choosing a certain color for a link, or the color of that link as a user hovers their mouse on it, can explain a lot about what you want that user to do, or what they want to do. The selected colors must also be matched against others that have enough contrast to comply with web accessibility standards. All of these factors come together to define a design with colors that are fitting to the needs of the world you intend to create on the Internet.

Digital Web Design and Branding | Alpine Design
Source: UX Planet


In regard to the most liked, and most disliked colors by men, and women. When you look at general photos of Earth, you see three main colors: Blue (water), green (grass, trees), brown (earth). These are the core colors of the environment we live in. Blue is a calming color, just as water often creates a calm feeling. Green is a lively color, just as lush grass, and trees thick with leaves create a sense of life. Both of those colors show up in the most liked colors for both men, and women. Brown barely makes an appearance in that chart, but is the most commonly disliked color by both of those genders. Brown does not often create a sense of comfort, and can remind people of dirt, of mud, and of another nameless substance humans are all too familiar with. However, that is not to say it cannot be used in ways that still give users a sense of comfort, and belonging as they are guided through a website. The color choice is crucial, but the strategy, and approach to using them certainly plays a significant role.

Google’s Need for Speed

Google’s Need for Speed

Not yet one month into 2018 and Google has already announced a pretty substantial Algorithm update. Simply being called “Speed Update” and it harkens back to 2010 when Google announced that page speed was a factor, but back then it was primarily speaking in terms of desktop search queries.


This new update rolling out in July, now takes a closer look at website’s mobile page speed and although it will only affect a small portion of search results it’s still a glimpse into the future of UX website design


Google’s Zhiheng Wang and Doantam Phan elaborate:

“The “Speed Update,” as we’re calling it, will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries. It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.”


Wang and Phan caution website owners not to sacrifice relevance in the name of faster web pages. It stands to reason that a mobile page with a faster loading time will garner favoritism in 2018’s search results but fresh relevant content will always prevail.


There are many online tools available to test page speed such as Pingdom page speed test at our disposal, so providing lightning fast relevant content to the Google gods has never been easier.

Here at Alpine we’re ready for 2018 and all Google has in store for us, are you?

Attacking the Google RankBrain content algorithm

Attacking the Google RankBrain content algorithm

October 26th, 2015 Google confirmed the existence of an additional component to its already complex algorithm core. Google RankBrain now takes a much closer look at a person’s search query by running queries through an interpretation model that applies factors like location of the searcher, personalization, and the words of the query to determine more closely the searcher’s search intent.

Not since Hummingbird have we paid this much attention to the content of our website’s design, Content Structure, Brand Messaging and how it relates to how we are representing ourselves via our online businesses.

RankBrain is really just Google taking the next evolutionary step in better understanding what people are searching for and delivering the most pertinent and useful content.

Wizard of Moz Rand Fishkin emphasizes the need for SEOs at every level to understand three essential concepts in the RankBrain environment:

1. Different rankings signals apply to different queries

Pre-RankBrain, it might have been appropriate to assess website page optimization by evaluating all traditional signals (link diversity, content depth, keyword matching, etc.). Post-RankBrain, SEOs need to determine the type of content that best serves users’ needs. For something like a sudden hurricane, you’re going to count on freshness much more than the links a piece might have accrued. For something like the history of Indigenous American music, you’ll be relying on content depth, and possibly related topics your domain covers, signaling authority. Know that the machine learning algorithms that drive RankBrain are matching signals to query intent and that SEOs must do this, too.

2. Signals apply to your website’s reputation

SEO seeks to build your brand’s reputation as a resource trusted by search engines and human users for providing a specific experience. The benefits of establishing such a reputation can include ranking well for the keywords most important to you. Does your brand need to build its reputation on freshness, depth, diversity of earned links, high user engagement, or other signals? The answer depends on the topics you cover (e.g., real-time sporting events scores vs. an online course in learning the Spanish language). Do the searches you hope to rank for demand quick, brief answers or in-depth explorations? Over time, your domain must build a reputation based on the signals it wants to serve, realizing that RankBrain creates an environment in which your brand can become known for delivering a particular type of content that satisfies a particular need.

3. One-keyword-one-page is really, really dead

Likely, you already know that the practice of creating a page for “spatula,” another for “spatulas,” another for “kitchen spatula,” another for “pancake turner,” and another for “metal spatula” is a tired old horse that needs to be put out to pasture. Modern SEO would combine all of these phrases (and their associated URLs) into a single piece of thorough content that incorporates natural language, including variant keyword phrases that reflect the way humans search and speak. This is not new news for most alert SEOs, but the advent of RankBrain highlights the wisdom of focusing on total keyword concepts with comprehensive content, rather than breaking out multiple pages to cover variants like “widget” vs. “widgets.”

So taking all this into consideration the question still remains, what does this mean for your company’s content strategy?

Well, it’s quite simple, in 2017 one of the oldest adages in Digital Marketing still rings true:

Content is King!

But what we are learning is that Google is paying even closer attention to the semantics of what we are saying in our brand messaging and how we go about marketing ourselves.

Turbocharging Your WordPress Website

Turbocharging Your WordPress Website

Waiting for a website to load is fun for no one. Most website visitors will not wait long if your page takes forever to load. Slow loading pages not only have an adverse effect on user experience but also on search engine ranking. If a page takes too long to load your visitors will most likely end up leaving your page for another. Google has picked up on this and will punish your page with a lower search position than a page that loads quickly. Your best bet is to shoot for a 3 second or less load time and your visitors and Google will be happy. So how do you fix this on your WordPress website? We spent some time speeding up our site and this article will explain how we did it.

Our Problem – Massive Page Size

Alpine Design’s homepage had a major loading issue. Due to an HTML5 embedded video, our page was over 70 MB in size when an average web page is just 1-3 MB. This left us with a 15 second load time. We had to get the load time down significantly but first we had to get the page size down. Our first step was uploading our video into video editing software. The length of the video was 30 seconds long to start. We know that most visitors don’t spend more than 10-12 seconds above the fold so we clipped the video to 12 seconds. Next we edited the resolution slightly and ended up with a video that was 1/8th its original size. We tested the page speed with GT Metrix and improved our load time to about 10 seconds.

Our next step was to optimize the images. Many images were much bigger than they needed to be so we installed the WordPress image compression plugin EWWW Image Optimizer. This reduced the size of all of the images on the website. Between reducing the video size and compressing the images, this left our homepage with a total size of 8 MB. That is 90% of it’s original size! Our load time dropped to 7 seconds.

Website Caching And The Road To Glory

We have successfully cut the load time in half by reducing our page size but we are not yet to the magic number of 3 seconds. Our next step was to install a caching program. A good caching program like W3 Total Cache will come with quite a few great features that improve your website performance. On PHP website software like WordPress, web pages are created dynamically on the fly. There is typically some lag time while the code queries the MySQL database and “builds” the pages. A caching program will essentially pre-build these pages and take snapshots of the code to server to web visitors. This greatly reduces the database lookups and decreases page load time.

A good caching program will also come with other great features like GZ compression, CSS minify and JavaScript minify. The CSS and JavaScript minify will compress some of the code together to decrease load time. We added W3 Total Cache, configured it and all of it’s features and re-tested the website. 5 Seconds.

Delivering Content At the Speed of Light

Well not really the speed of light but fast is how a CDN or Content Delivery Network can serve your website. A CDN is a network of servers around the globe that cache and store a copy of your website to be served to regional users. We like Cloudflare for it’s ease of use and free package to get started. Setting up is relatively easy if you understand how DNS works. You will need to point your websites nameservers to Cloudflare and then instruct Cloudflare where to point the IP. This is done quite easily in their dashboard and the rewards are almost immediate. Once you configure your parameters, Cloudflare will cache your site and images then deliver them around the globe at lightning speeds. And you can see the results for yourself:


3 Seconds! We have successfully taken our page load time from 15 seconds down to 3 and you can too. If you follow the steps.


Page speed is one of the most important factors of any website since it will directly affect your visitors’ experience and your search engine position. Follow these steps and you too can have a dramatic reduction in your WordPress page load time.

  • Reduce size of media by clipping videos or compressing images
  • Use a caching plugin
  • Minify CSS and HTML
  • Run your website through a content delivery network

We will continue to optimize to get that load time even lower but always shoot for the 3 seconds benchmark.

Which E-commerce Shopping Cart is Right For Your Business? The Top 3

Which E-commerce Shopping Cart is Right For Your Business? The Top 3

When it comes to selling products online, selecting the right shopping cart is the backbone to your success. There are dozens of Ecommerce solutions available and comparing them side by side is an increasingly complicated task. Most shopping carts can be broken up into 2 main categories, leased and owned. Leased shopping carts like Big Commerce and Shopify are cookie cutter shopping cart websites for one size fits all that charge a monthly fee. The first drawback of these leased shopping carts is that each business is different and there really is no such thing as one size fits all. The second drawback is that you will never own your website. All of the hard work you put in building the website, money you have spent with a developer, add-ons or marketing is gone the day you stop paying their monthly fees.

This is why our analysis will focus only on shopping cart platforms that are owned or open source. This means that once you download the website software, it is yours to keep. You are free to edit and modify as you wish. The 3 platforms we are exploring are WooCommerce, Opencart and Magento. Each one is vastly different and offers it’s own set of advantages and disadvantages. Each one has features that may work extraordinarily well for one business but perform poorly for another. We will give examples of the types of business ideal for each platform.





WooCommerce isn’t a shopping cart platform per se but more of a shopping cart add-on for the popular content management system (CMS), WordPress. WooCommerce is the lightest of the 3 shopping cart platforms and is ideal for smaller stores. Since it attaches to WordPress, it is ideal for users that have or need a blog or CMS website.  Say you are a museum that has lots of pages for exhibits, admissions and coming attractions but also has a gift shop. This is the perfect platform for you.WooCommerce can handle the online sales for your gift shop. WooCommerce is ideal for businesses that sell 1 to a few hundred products and these products are not the primary source of income.


The main drawback to WooCommerce is that you must be running WordPress to use it. WordPress is an excellent platform and if you are looking for a new site anyway, you should consider it. The other drawback to WooCommerce is doesn’t have the advanced inventory management tools that larger platforms have so a few dozen to a few hundred product is ideal. The software has many great add-ons that can help you with some of the drawbacks but they can be pricey and compromise the stability of the site so it is best to use this with smaller inventories on a website whose main focus is not e-commerce.




Opencart is a completely stand alone shopping cart platform that is a great fit for the largest segment of e-commerce stores. It is driven off of PHP script using a MySQL database that can run on just about any server setup. It is quite powerful and is ideal for businesses whose primary source of income is product sales. It can comfortably handle anywhere from 1-10,000 products depending on configuration and is ideal for 500-5000 products. It has the easiest to use administration area of any e-commerce platform we have tested and has nearly every tool needed to run most web stores right out of the box.



Opencart also has an extensive online community for support and over 12,000 add-ons that give it just about any capability including blog, SEO and caching. Out of the box, Opencart has limitations for SEO, product and customer management and a few other minor areas but can be easily configured with one of many extensions to strengthen these areas. The latest 2.0 Opencart version has an integrated extension installer much like the WordPress plugin installer. Opencart’s ability to set up product variables, shipping services, payments and integrating with your eBay and Amazon store are some of the best we have seen.

See the Opencart Demo!

Although most users have every feature they need with a stock install, many users will find the need for several extensions to optimally run their store. This is typically an added cost but usually a very minimal one. Opencart has yet to integrate with popular point of sale systems so larger companies with advanced inventory controls might find Opencart a bit lacking which brings us to our next shopping cart.




Magento is by far the king of all shopping cart platforms and is offered in 2 versions, Enterprise and Community Edition. We are concerned with the downloadable, fully licenced and open source Community Edition (CE). Magento CE has every tool you will ever need to run a large scale e-commerce website. Right out of the box it has advanced customer and catalog tools as well as SEO and caching programs for very large websites. We have seen Magento stores handle over 100,000 products with the greatest of ease. Why not just start with Magento if it’s that great? Because it is overkill for most store owners. It can be like shoveling snow off your sidewalk with a bulldozer.

This platform really isn’t for everyone. It is extremely complicated and there’s a steep learning curve just to run your store. You must have some web development skills just to run patches and updates. Most users without these skills will shell out Several 100 to several 1000’s of dollars annually just to have a developer keep their store up to date. Build and extension costs are quite high as well. Opencart extensions run $10-50 while Magento extensions can run $100-1000s and a basic Magento build is often 2x the price of an Opencart build.

With that being said, Magento is right for some users. Users with very large inventories will benefit from Magento’s rich features as well as those who need their inventory integrated with their current management system or Point of Sale. Magento can cache pages more effectively than any other platform to allow visitors to access any page of even the largest catalogs very quickly. If you are running a company that needs the features of the most powerful website and has the resources to do so including deep pockets and\or an in house developer, then this is the store for you.


3 Steps To Branding Your Website

3 Steps To Branding Your Website

“Marketing Is About Values” is probably one of the most prolific things Steve Jobs ever said and not only carved the path for Apple over the following 20 years but also is the perfect starting point for every entrepreneur to develop their Brand Management Strategy.

Steve realized that customers responded best when they were presented with benefits of a product as opposed to its features. The Apple buyer was far more interested in how the Mac made work easier, learning more fun and provided entertainment for the entire family than boring specifications like processor clock speed or how much memory it has.

Focusing on benefits vs. features is the key component of creating emotion in the consumer that leads to greater sales. By taking this principle and applying it to some of your most basic web elements, you can enrich your online Brand Management Strategy in a very Jobs-esque way.


“So we have to be really clear what we want the customer to know about us” is heard in Steve’s message. By this he means that once a company’s values are determined, the message must be consistent across all media, branding and advertising. Before we can do this we must determine what values are important to not only the company but also the customer. You should define and continually re-define answers to these 3 key questions:

  1. What are my company’s values?
  2. Who are my customers?
  3. What values are important to them?


Once these questions are answered, it is possible to create a value driven message. The message must be present from the first time a potential customer sees your ad and is with them through every stage including purchase and use of your product. If your ad is clear about your company’s values and the benefits of your product, the potential customer may visit your website to learn more. If benefits and values are clearly defined on your website, this should lead to an eventual purchase of your product or service.

Once the customer receives the same benefits and values as advertised, they might just pass along their positive experience by word of mouth or social media creating an increase in brand recognition and inevitable sales and growth.


Getting your customer to see the benefits of your product and relate to your values is done on a much more personal level. Triggering an emotion can create a memorable experience thus associating your brand with that emotion.

Let’s say you are selling a convertible sports car. Your ad and website could boast about how powerful the engine is or how many speakers the stereo has but most people won’t remember boring specifications. What they will remember is how the feel when the top is down, the wind is blowing through their hair and the sense of freedom and youth this beautiful machine will give them.

Showing benefits of a product will evoke a memorable response while features are just forgotten.

Using images and graphics in your ads and on your website showing the benefits of ownership create an emotional response that will make people desire your product. Adding well thought out headlines, taglines and copy can help in painting this picture of an emotion that leads to ownership. When selecting images and copy for your website and ads, use a consistent message of benefit backed by emotion and it will more often lead to a purchase.


Giving your business personality brings to life the values and benefits you offer and allows customers to identify with you. This is done through the careful selection of fonts, colors and a well developed logo. Fonts and colors should directly reflect the personality of the company. Is your product or service fun and exciting? If so, the colors should be bold and dramatic to create excitement. Is your product or service professional or formal? If so, fonts might be classic and traditional to represent professionalism.

The logo is your biggest chance to make a memorable impression on a customer. It needs to be identifiable and speak on many different levels. Look at Amazon’s logo. They are known to have everything from A to Z so there is an arrow that points from the A to the Z. It also doubles as a smile, indicating a pleasant shopping experience.



By defining your company’s core values, presenting benefits to your customers in an emotional way and bringing your business to life by giving it personality you can build a lasting foundation. Perhaps the most important part of Steve’s quote was nestled in the middle of the that opening keynote paragraph:

“It’s a complicated and noisy world, we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us”

Perhaps the hidden meaning of what Steve was trying to say was that make sure the stuff people remember is the stuff worth remembering.

Why Should You Hire a Professional Web Designer?

Why Should You Hire a Professional Web Designer?

“My cousin told me she can build my website” or “My IT guy says he can build a website since he took a web design course 8 years ago in college” are phrases we hear far too often as professional web designers. The truth is, anyone can build a website using one of the many drag and drop generic web design templates from places like Wix and The problem is, the website ends up looking like a novice did it and your customers can tell. While your cousin may do a pretty good job for a non-professional or your IT guy built a website in college, since they are not professionals that do this everyday, they may actually do more harm than good. This article will explore some of the reasons why trying to save money may end up costing you more money in the long run.

Your Online Image

Your website is the face of your company to the world and what does that face look like? Drag and drop website builders have little variance in the websites they produce and there is little uniqueness between templates. This software generally only allows you to add text to a predefined template and add pictures and change colors. They typically don’t have all of the extra elements a professional will use. In the end, you will have the same generic website your competitor has except with different colors and pictures.

On the contrary, a professionally designed website will have a unique structure and look to it. All of the colors and fonts should be branded to your business and the layout should be easy to navigate and be very appealing to your customers. A professional will make sure everything is aligned and flows properly instead of the jumbled, mismatched mess we often see with amateur sites.

Conversion Ability

Converting a visitor into a buyer is no easy task. A novice will have no specific training on how to do this. Many non-professional websites have a conversion rate of less than 1%. This means that if your website has 100 visitors, you would be lucky to have 1 person reach out to your company to do business.


Let’s say your IT guy (remember, they fix servers all day long not build websites), builds you a website that converts at a 1% rate (1 out of 100 visitors buy). You market this website and spend $10,000 over the course of the year in advertising netting you 10,000 new web visitors and 100 new customers. No bad right? Suppose you had a professional build your website in the first place and you converted at a 3% rate or perhaps a 5% or 7% rate? You could have had 200-600 additional new customers from the same $10k advertising spend. Trying to save a few $1000 on your website could have potentially cost you 10s or 100s of thousands of dollars.

Organic Search Engine Position

If your cousin or IT guy don’t build websites everyday like the pros do, it would probably be safe to say they have no idea how to optimize your website for the best Google possible. Did you know that the first 5 search results make up for nearly 75% of the clicks for a keyword? This can have a dramatic effect on the number of the visitors that visit your website. There are over 200 factors that influence your search positioning in Google and many of them can be influenced by elements incorporated into your website by your web designer. It is important that whoever is building your site knows what to include to give you every advantage possible.


A little knowledge is dangerous too. A novice trying to search engine optimize your website can also damage your rank that is difficult, expensive or possibly impossible to recover from like a de-indexing. Things like keyword stuffing can cause Google to penalize your website causing it to be somewhere on say, page 4 or 11 of the search results. No one will ever find you there. In extreme cases, Google may even de-index your website and domain if you break their rules. This is impossible to recover from and will require a new domain and website.


Your business is what feeds your family and pays your bills. 80% of all internet users will research a company online before they do business with them. They will formulate their impression of your business based on your website and will compare that to the impression your competitors website makes on them. Subtle differences may determine if they buy from you or the other guy. With so much at stake, why trust anyone less than a professional?