27 Feb 2008 @ 11:04 AM 

My very simple answer is: As Soon As Possible, even before having a website and a Domain Name. Why? Because a well thought Domain Name may help you in getting a better SERP (Search Engine Result Pages). Let assume that you are opening a new online jewelry store, and your name is John Doe. More than half people in the world would decide for a Domain Name such as JohnDoeStore.com

This is plain wrong for at least a couple of reasons:

  • Your name is John Doe, so what? Nobody knows you as a reliable jewelry retailer. Of course if your name is Ford and you manufacture vehicles in Detroit a Domain Name such as Ford.com would be perfect. Please note that Ford.com exists and it is a registered Trade Mark.
  • The Domain Name in question (JohnDoeStore.com) does not give an idea to your potential customers (and consequently to Search Engines), what your business is about.

Maybe something such as NewYorkJewelry.com (assuming you are in NYC) would be better. The choice of a Domain Name is much more sophisticated than this; I am just trying to make you think in term of Search Engine Optimization.

At the beginning of this post I said that you should think of SEO even before having a website. Why? Usually a website is designed by a web designer (duh!); a web designer is, hopefully, well trained in designing websites. We cannot say the same regarding SEO. SEO is a mix of art and science. In order to get a good SERP your webpages need to be designed to “please” search engines as well as humans. The things that please Search Engines are coded into the webpages. A web designer cares more about the aspect of a page than the things Search Engines like. An example? Tons of websites with heavy Flash presentations. Flash is the SEO’s killer better paid in the world. If you want to kill from the get go your SEO efforts, please, use a lot of Flash presentations. Search Engines are able to understand mainly text; Flash makes wonderful graphic effects with no text whatsoever. Even worse, a Flash presentation is normally really big so your potential customer will click immediately on the back button of his/her browser, leaving your website for good. Did you ever wonder why home pages designed with Flash have a skip intro button? To avoid this annoyance. Unfortunately people do not read and so they leave your website anyway.

Avoid Flash as it is plague; this is my opinion, many won’t agree, but I can prove what I am saying.

Websites are often not compliant with standards (there are standards for everything in life); in this case Search Engines have a hard life trying to index your pages. Many websites have a lot of clutter (hidden into the code) before showing anything to your visitor; in this case Search Engines will index your clutter too, making your content (which is what really matters) less relevant for a Search Engine.

These are just a few examples of what not to do with a website. My suggestion is: in order to design a website, hire a web designer (try to avoid young kids just graduated from a college) and a SEO specialist. A note about young kids just graduated from college. They are trained to design website, but usually they do not understand business (it’s a different major after all) and they have no experience with real life websites. Another thing to avoid are, the so called website generators; automated programs that generate all look alike websites.

Posted By: admin
Last Edit: 04 May 2008 @ 06:21 PM

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