Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

FE, Education & Business Marketing: Quick, Effective, Low Cost Marketing

Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

Website Design Errors: When Web Designers Get It Seriously Wrong

At an event I recently ran in Portugal, I demonstrated how to get a small business on Page One of Google.  I also said that a significant number of web designers and marketing experts didn't actually understand this.


Of course these comments enrage the poor web designers and marketing experts  .. and lets be clear there are some people out there .. not all are bad by any means.  But ….


On my first day back in the UK I was asked to look at a website; it wasn't performing as it should.  It belonged to a business based in Portugal; the site was designed by a web design company based in Portugal, but their business is registered outside of Portugal.


When I looked at the designer's website I discovered the problem wasn't restricted to their client's site.  The web designer  clearly didn't understand how to optimise websites (even though they offer website optimisation as an extra service for an additional fee). 


At the event in Portugal I explained how every page needs unique meta tags but, sadly, this website designer's website had the same meta tags on every page (guys, this is basic stuff and you should know this if you design websites).  Every page looked the same from a search engines perspective and so would never get on Page One of Google .. or any other search engine.       


Here are the keyword metatags from their homepage ….. crm, software, website, online , booking, reservations, sports, design, …. they seem to have failed to understand that single generic keywords separated by commas don't work .. you need keyword phrases.  For example …  Website Optimisation in Faro,  Online Booking systems,  Online Sports Reservations Designer in Portugal,  .. you get the idea.

The page descriptor meta tag also needs to be different on each page .. and on this site it was the same on each page.  If each page of the website is unique shouldn't the description of that page also be unique.  The Page Descriptor meta tag is what appears on the search page when someone sees your web page.  So it needs to be written in good clear language for people .. not search engines .. but if it is well written the search engine will also understand it and push you up the search pages.   

I'm expecting a lot of designers to tell me that Google no longer uses Website designer About Us page the keyword meta tag for indexing web pages …. that maybe, so why has this web design company used it? … and what about the other search engines that do use the keyword meta tag?   Google delivers 80% of searches but that still leaves 20% with alternative search engines, that are worth considering.  The thing is, this design company had it wrong before Google made its changes …. and still managed to get the other meta tags wrong.  They also fail to put good content on their website … see the above "content" used on their About Us page.  Not exactly content rich or compelling reading!  


You don't need a search engine specialist to complete your metatags for you.  This is where you are the expert and can do the job better than anyone else.


So when you write page content prepare the meta tag information as well.  Then you can either enter it yourself or get your web people to do it for you.


So why am I making such a fuss about this.  I don't design websites, I don't work as an agent for a web design business of any sort and I'm not going to recommend a designer to you. 


Frankly I'm annoyed that a business is selling a web design and SEO service and is taking money under false pretences.  Businesses are getting fleeced by these people and the consequences can be dire.  With so many people searching online no one can afford to pay for a poorly designed or poorly performing website.


The problem isn't restricted to one rogue web designer.   An attendee at my Online Marketing event told me a horror story about a new website that had cost 10,000 Euros, was delivered six months late and now needed more work for which more fees were being requested. 


So when you need a new website please seek advice from people that have sites and check if their's is performing well.  Don't go to a web designer without a recommendation and a guarantee of completion times and that your site will work as agreed. 


As I said I'm not offering a web design service or recommending anyone .. but if you care to look at the basic advice I give on this site it will help you ask the right questions and choose a reputable designer .. and I will not charge you for the advice.    


Here are some links you might find useful


How to Choose a Web Designer

Website Navigation Basics


Use the search box (top right) to find articles on other topics like Choosing Keywords, Website Design … and other marketing channels.   



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5 Replies to “Website Design Errors: When Web Designers Get It Seriously Wrong”

  • Stefan I agree with you.

    I am shocked and saddened by how many small business owners have been sold websites that don’t work.

    Unfortunately many business owners see the web designer as their Internet marketing expert but too often these “experts” know little about generating traffic or converting that traffic into enquiries and sales.

    The bottom line is the website doesn’t achieve the objectives of the business owner and he feels disappointed – no matter how nice and helpful the web designer appears.

  • Thanks Paul,

    A good web designer is worth their weight in gold.

    You are of course perfectly correct a good web designer isn’t the same as an Internet marketing expert … the problem is many of them think they are. None of us can know everything and the best designers know their limitations.

    As you infer it is often about objectives .. what is this website being designed to achieve. This is the first question a business and their designer meeds to ask .. the rest flows from there.

  • Absolutely. What is the point of a website if people visit and leave with no trace. Every site needs a purpose that is measurable. Calls to action point people at that measurable .. it could be a sale, requesting a document, or whatever .. and the call to action is the key that gets them to that point and encourages them to take the action.

    I often hear designers and owners say that action is all that counts and that the look of th site doesn’t matter. I beleive you can have both and suggest that where you have functionality and looks the site is even more productive.

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