Should you follow popular tips and what advice is worth following when creating your website
You would be quite surprised to learn about an advice to webmasters by Google. What they say in their Webmaster Guidelines is – “Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines”. Funny, right?
But their advice is spot on and could not be articulated better, to be honest. By not following this concept, we end up with tons of websites that look and feel the same. What is worse, we end up with websites that are created primarily for search engines.
Look at the heading below. It is SEO friendly. We have copied it from an existing website where it appears as site title in search engine results. It is supposed to be converting and appealing. It says:
Now, let’s analyze this sentence in more detail. First of all, you cannot create something as demanding as a website in 30 seconds. The service that says so is actually promoting a website builder that is using templates and automation to let you create your website fast. There is nothing wrong with that, you need not be a coder to create a website, an appealing website, but the above approach is just fast, nothing more.
A good number of services will let you create a website in minutes. Some of them use basic AI to let you follow a template depending on your business or industry. Others use machine learning to propose you the most successful website designs, the most successful to their knowledge, of course. And all of them use the phrase “original” or “unique” in a fairly misleading way.
Look, when you start designing your website by following a successful template, you in fact end up with a design many other businesses are using as well. You do not consider yourself smarter than all of them are, right. So, the chance is good that an appealing website design, a template one, will appear in hundreds of other websites. It might be a successful one but it will not make you “unique”.
We’ll discuss how you can create a relatively original website for your business a bit later. What you should know that you couldn’t have a unique website. Yes, you can’t have that, and there are good reasons for this.
Let’s start with this: we can rarely have all the components of uniqueness in one place. Do you have a unique product/service, a unique value propositions, an original brand vision, and message and do you serve a unique market? Of course, not. Each and every business, with a few innovative exceptions that usually enter the mainstream quite fast, follow a pattern, a trend or just enter an existing market or industry.
That said, your business is not a unique one from day one. The same applies to the way you build your online presence, usually following the same SEO practices and content marketing tips all other businesses are following.
Furthermore, you cannot have a unique website until you prove you can. Why? Because users are accustomed to a few template designs you cannot escape from. It is like forcing a Westerner to start reading from right to left. It is possible but is it a practicable idea and for what purposes. So, you end up with a number of website design conventions you cannot avoid and thus your options are limited. You limit your options further by following the current trends.
Look at the websites of those numerous blockchain companies around. We have loads, a really great number of websites where you see the design concept of lines connecting dots. It conveys a certain idea but it rapidly becomes a boring and meaningless concept from a design point of view i.e. in terms of originality.
You also need to follow certain “recommendations” by online monopolists to get a boost when your website design is concerned. Google have their Material Design guidelines and concept, others have theirs too. Thus, we see a unified look of websites even across various business niches and industries. It is unavoidable if you stick to all the guidelines and standardized concepts by companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, and a few others.
You need to follow quite a good number of requirements for your website to be considered a well-designed one. You must be aware of the difference between “well-designed” and “unique”, though. And design is not all. You also need your search ranking high to have your business up and running. And you also need a good user experience for your customers to be happy and return for more products or services.
Therefore, you need your design and content optimized for search engines, lead generation and user experience alike. You need to optimize your design by applying the Material Design principles if you are to get a boost by Google. They do not explicitly say you need to, to my knowledge, but you can make a good guess they do prefer sites that follow their design guidelines.
Do you end up having a site that looks very similar to thousands of others this way? Well, yes.
Optimizing your content and still having articles or blog posts worth reading is, even more, a complicated thing. For instance, this very article does not use any focus phrases intentionally i.e. for the sake of SEO optimization. Will this article perform better compared to articles that intensely use keywords such as “original website creation” or “create original content for your website”? I doubt so.
As you can see, Google’s search algorithm returns 63,000 results for content that is supposedly dealing with the creation of unique websites.
See the quotes used in the search? This means that only exact results for this phrase are returned. If we use the search phrase “how to create a unique website”, without quotes, we get about 940,000,000 results.
Well, 940 million results are quite many. But, in fact, most if not all of these articles either are optimized for this keyword phrase or provide advice on how to optimize your content, not how to create an original one. And you know why?
Because nobody can teach you how to create original and unique content. Sure, you can learn to optimize content and do it in a natural way. But you either create unique content or not. And this applies to business content as well, not only in creative writing.
Let me give you an example. If you are running a repair and maintenance service, you can use SEO to have your website among the top results in searches for repairing a certain device or device type. But I’ll still explore the manufacturer’s website if I want to download the original user manual, right.
So, you should forget about “hard” SEO when creating original content. These two things simply do not fit well together.
Well, we create original content by just creating it, you know. There is no other way.
Do you think that these 940 million pages where methods for creation of unique content are mentioned are all original content? You bet they’re not. And you already know why. Because they borrow and copy from each other, sometimes even copy and pasting the same content over and over again. Oh, some SEO optimization is also involved.
Thus, you have millions of pages that all repeat the very same tips and provide the very same advice on how to create content and how to optimize it. When you follow these tips, you definitely end up creating non-original content. Sure, you can follow a few general rules but they are so evident that you need not discover them by visiting any special web pages.
We all have access to the same stock photos to design a website. But do you really need to use that picture of people using a laptop and a smartphone to suggest these are busy business people? This is predictable and users do not even notice these images anymore. To follow trends and tips by “influencers” will not help you in making your website original. Only re-thinking these trends and tips through the requirements of your own unique product concept will produce something original.
Inevitably, you should follow a certain structure and user experience logic when creating a web property. Nonetheless, getting out of the model is what makes your creation stand out. In the same time, you should avoid creating designs for the sake of design, as it is equally counterproductive. Think of it as if you are creating a work of art but a utilitarian one.
You need to adapt to the fact that it is getting increasingly hard to create a unique yet useful website in the age of mass production. You mass-produce by following a certain template – a model. That is why so many sites look like the very same creator creates one website after another by changing only a few words on the homepage.
Somebody needs to create a minimalistic design. Someone else likes that design. And then an increasing number of businesses start creating minimalistic websites because it is trending. And it is easy too, as website builders immediately start producing minimalist templates. That is how it works and that is why your website is not original, really.
What to do? Just do not blindly follow trends and advice. Create designs that reflect your needs and those of your customers. If you need a complex design, then go for it. If you need it simple, then make it simple. Add as many components as required or place a single button on an empty page if that is what you need. No more, no less.