Why pay for someone to design your web site when you can do it yourself using a WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editor? It is true just about anyone can build a website with any one of the WYSIWYG editors out there today. Many of those editors are even free. Some of the domain name registrars also include access to web site building software when you register a domain name with them. Many people use these services and editors and create some pretty nice looking web sites. However, the reality is that it doesn't matter how good a site looks, if no one can find it or if it doesn't display correctly. These are real issues that come with the use of these editors as well as some professional web designers. Some of today's "professional" designers use some of those same WYSIWYG editors. The main problem with these editors is that in most cases they do not produce valid code. What does that mean and why is it important? The short answer is that valid code is code that is written properly. There are several different types of HTML code such as XHTML 1.0 Strict, HTML 4.0 1Transitional, HTML 5 etc. . . There are also many different browsers with many different versions of each of those. For example Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox, and Navigator are all different browsers. Then there are different versions of each of those browsers such as Internet Explorer 5, 6, 7, 8 etc... There are numerous different browsers out there and each of those has several different versions. When HTML code is not written properly, the web page may display correctly using one of those browsers, but will not display correctly or may not display at all on some of the other browsers. The very first line of code for every website tells the browser which type of HTML code is used for that page. As an example, let's say we are writing a letter in French, and we tell the reader that in the very first sentence of the letter. Now as we are writing the document, we come across a couple of words that we don't know the French word for, so we substitute an English word in its place. When the French speaking reader gets to those English words, they may or may not know the meaning of those words. It is the same with the WYSIWYG editors. They sometimes use 2 or 3 different types of HTML code. When the browser gets to that line of code, it may or may not understand that code. Therefore it may or may not display the page correctly.
The reality is people are using a multitude of different browsers today. It can seem like an overwhelming task to ensure a website displays correctly in all browsers. However, writing proper code which validates is a giant step in the right direction. Anyone can check the code of any website to ensure it is valid. Here is a link to a site that checks to see if the HTML code for a web page is valid: http://validator
Here is another link that anyone can use to check to see if the CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) code is written properly and validates: http://jigsaw.w3
Today's web designer must also be very conscious of how the page will display in mobile devices. This goes far beyond simply how the web page looks. The page must load quickly and use as little data as possible. In most cases a web page should display in such a way that the user can simply scroll straight down the page rather than scrolling side to side. Users should not normally need to zoom in on the web page to be able to read the content. Here is a link which will give a designer an idea about how fast a web page will load. http://developers.
By hiring a competent web designer you will get a website written in valid code which will display correctly in virtually every browser. However, that is only part of the equation. A beautifully designed and valid website is worthless if no one can find that site on the web. A website is only as good as its SEO (Search Engine Optimization). An ugly web site built with good SEO techniques is far better than a beautiful website built with poor SEO techniques. This is actually the most common problem I see when people ask me to look at their website and tell them why no one is visiting it. Most of the time, there was little or no attention given to SEO when the site was built. Imagine we are opening a new business. Let's say we make the best quality widget ever made and everyone on earth must have one of our widgets to breath. Now we open our widget store 100 miles from the nearest town, way out in the woods. Furthermore, we don't put up a sign on our building telling people what we do. We have our phone number unlisted and we don't advertise in anyway. Will we sell any of our widgets? We might sell a few to family and friends, but growing the business will be very slow, and it will most likely fail. This may sound like a ridiculous scenario, but it is exactly the same as putting up a website without implementing any type of SEO. Customers must be able to find your site by searching for whatever widget, idea, or service you are selling. The only way to accomplish this is to build a site using good SEO techniques. Getting noticed on the web can be very easy at times depending on the type of business and its location. If you already have a site up and running, I will be happy to look at your site for free and tell you if I can help or not. I guarantee my work, so there is no incentive for me to take on a project in a situation where I cannot show you verifiable positive results. Would you like to see if I can help? Contact Robby.
By Robby Lockeby