I want a page 1 Google ranking… oh and it has to look good!

If I had a dollar for every time a new client said that, I wouldn’t need any clients. Could’ve retired years ago.

You hear it so often it’s become a cliche, “I want a website that comes up on page one of Google and I want it to look beautiful.”

Actually, no you don’t.

You have just demonstrated that you have no idea of what you want. What you really want is a website that does something completely different and a high search ranking or just looking good are often irrelevant.

What you really want from your website is for it to perform a function.

That function could be to provide a way for visitors to contact you, or show them where you are located, or to facilitate selling your goods though an online shop.

Or it could be to automate a task such as procuring information then processing and storing it for legal, accounting or membership purposes.

It’s function may be to display your work to potential clients as in the case of a builder, architect or artist.

One of my most effective websites was built for a client who specialised in self-managed super fund audits. My client had stopped doing general accounting work and needed a way for her clients to provide large amounts of information. Her only clients were other accountants who logged in to a secure section of the site and entered information by ticking off checkboxes, selecting from dropdowns and uploading documents. She could then log in to another section of the site where she viewed the compiled information and went about her auditing work.

Her business was so successful, she sold it along with the site for a tidy sum, moving on to pursue other interests. No mention of Google or rankings, ever.

Let’s say you sell stuff online through your (made by Eastcoast I.T. of course) e-commerce website. Assuming you’ll only get sales through a page one ranking implies that if you are the number one business that comes up in a search, they’ll purchase your product.

Is that what you do? You just click on the first in the list and buy from them? Of course you don’t. You look for the business that has the item or service you are looking for and gives you the impression they know what they are doing. Maybe what you are looking for is a local service, so you might need to go through a few listings before you find one that’s actually in your area, not one that just claims to service your area.

What if you’re looking for a home loan, or electricity company? Chances are you’ll end up on one of the many comparison websites that list and publish reviews, you’re not going to even bother with Google except maybe to type in “compare home loans”.

The problem is we’ve swallowed Google’s pitch, that if you aren’t listed on their first page, you’re nothing. Nothing a company with a monopoly wants more than to hang onto and exploit that monopoly.

The first thing I ask a new client, whether they already have a website or not, is “What are you trying to achieve with the site?” I need to know about their organisation and what keeps it going, along with what they are doing to improve it.

The website will need to accommodate and focus on those things, so that they are accessed and acted upon by visitors. If it doesn’t do those things, it’s a waste of time getting thousands of visits.

And of course we want websites to look good, that catches peoples’ attention, but if it doesn’t perform it may as well be in a frame on the wall.

So before you rush off spending thousands on SEO, think first about the role your website plays. If you want to have a chat about it, get in touch, I still give a free consultation to anyone who’s looking for help with their website.

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