1. Web design as a different technique than traditional digital media design.
Most graphic designers have decided to adopt also the “web designer” hat. The reason is simple. If the client is asking for brochures, business cards, logos and a website design, why would you refer to somebody else to design the website part? Well, there is a practical problem with this approach. Web design deals with other elements that are not part of the graphical design world. In graphic design you often think in terms of promiximity, alignment, contrast and repetition (rhythm). You don’t have to think about technical delivery other than the limitations of the printer and paper. On the other hand, web design prompts the designer for those graphic design elements plus the balance between usability and search engine accessibility.
If you have your website designed by a graphic designer with no technical understanding of search engine marketing, the immediate process of online promotion becomes senselessly burdensome. It is cumbersome to design something that needs to be corrected by somebody else after it’s finished.
Web designers not only know graphic design, they also know web development, web delivery and need to know search engine marketing.
2. A website is not just a promotional item, it requires a complete marketing strategy.
In the marketing mix realm, a website may be considered a small part of the promotional (p). Nonetheless, these days most online marketing experts agree that a website shouldn’t be considered only a small component of a sophisticated online marketing strategy; it should be considered a strategy on itself. This strategy includes price setting, products for the web, promotion (communication) –that includes web advertising, pay per click, banner ads, SEO, and link building– and distribution (domain name registration and hosting). I like how Wikipedia2 on the subject states that internet marketing introduces interactivity between user and the company. Promotion is typically a one way street, online presence is a living creature.
Online movement of client prospects is so fast that customer retention takes a whole new meaning. No matter how many websites you visit in a day, you will never be able to visit all websites in your lifetime (is kind of a sad realization). Making sure that you define an online marketing campaign is far more important these days.
3. Traffic is not the ultimate goal of a succesful site, economic monetization is.
I don’t even know how many times I have heard a client or a friend ask me how to increase their traffic. People seem obsessed with the concept of traffic, as if you had millions of people visit your site that would be a positive thing. Actually it is exactly the opposite. If you increase website traffic without an effective and economic monetization, it may very well make you loose money. Titus Hoskins puts it in a very interesting light: “The solution to that problem is not just a matter of slapping a few lines of Google Adsense code on your pages and hoping for the best. Actually, the solution to earning income from your online site or blog can be as complex or as simple as you want to make it.”1
Just imagine for a second a shopping mall that decides to attract millions of people but hasn’t decided yet if they want to charge rent for the retail space. Optimized monetization of a site is essential to online marketing success, not traffic.
I would rather have a site visited by two people paying $1000 each than to have 2000 people paying $1 each. In the end it seems like the same, nonetheless bandwidth, server errors and other factors affect monetization and decrease the capacity of a profit.
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1 Titus Hoskins. http://www.sitepronews.com/2008/03/26/monetizing-traffic-vs-monetizing-websites/ . Monetizing Traffic Versus Monetizing Websites. March 2008.
2 Wikipedia . Free Encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_marketing. Internet Marketing Definition. Last modified September 2008.