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The 5 Essential Skills Required for Building an Effective Website

No one knows more about using the new Real-Time tools and strategies to spread ideas, influence minds and build business than David Meerman Scott. He's a marketing strategist, speaker, advisor to emerging companies, and author of ten books including three international bestsellers.

Search Engine Marketing  |  Marketing  |  Best Practices

DMS blog redesign2 Over the past decade I’ve analyzed and advised on hundreds of Websites, many as part of the coaching services I offer to participants in the Tony Robbins Business Mastery events I speak at where I offer my New Marketing Mastery online learning program. I’ve found that the best websites are built by a team of people who collectively have these skills: Graphic Design, Content Creation, Platform-Specific Developmental, and Search Engine Optimization. I’ve also learned almost nobody has all four of these skills, so a team approach is the best way to build an effective website.

As I wrote in a blog post a few weeks ago titled How My Site and Blog Redesign Resulted in 350 Percent Increase in Traffic, I recently completed a massive project to redesign my site and blog. The team at IMPACT who helped me build the site include all of the four skills, ensuring that I have the best people working on each task. They know how to work effectively with the HubSpot platform that I use for my web properties.

Here are those skills in a bit more detail:

Graphic Design

The people who are great at graphic design have a mind for the visual elements that make up a site. They are skilled at translating the attributes of an organization to the web by working with such things as color, images, and the right amount of “white space”. I love great graphic design and am in awe of the professionals who are skilled at it, like my friend Doug Eymer who I have been working with for two decades now.

Content Creation

What goes onto the pages including text-based content, videos, infographics, photos and other images makes up the site’s content. I’ve been writing and speaking about the importance of content in marketing for twenty years now and it is still the most overlooked element of a site. Most people focus on design, development and SEO but let poorly developed content creep into the site. If you don’t have content creation skills but need them, I recommend you hire a journalist, something I have been advocating for many years now.

Platform-Specific Development

Once you have design and content, your developers will translate all the various files into the code required for the different platforms to be able to read. It’s important at this stage to make sure that the people who are building the site have expertise in the platform you will be using. In my case, my sites and blog are all built on HubSpot, and my team at IMPACT are HubSpot partners, so they know the ins and outs of developing on the HubSpot platform. Also, do make sure you develop for the specific way that mobile content is handled so your site appears beautifully on the smaller screens of mobile devices.

Search Engine Optimization

People who are skilled in SEO make certain that your site has all the right signals for the search engines to find and index the content so that it is surfaced when people search on what your company does or what you have to offer.

These four sets of skills are very different. That’s why it is essential that when you embark on a website project, you know how you will be implementing each. I’ve never met anybody who is excellent at all four of these areas, so you will need to hire several people to help you, or engage a firm who has a team with those skills.

Executive Producer

There is one more skill, though. That’s the person who looks after the entire site development. A sort of “executive producer” role. The best person for this work is somebody who knows intimately how the website will help to drive action, such as educate and inform, sell, or drive donations.

Disclosures: I have been a member the HubSpot advisory board since 2007 and I have spoken at the IMPACT Live event each year since 2016.

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