As I celebrate my 16th year in business, it seems a good moment to reflect on what has changed with website design and SEO during this time. These two subjects are so tightly bound together that it’s good to reflect on how these have changed in the last 20 years. There’s much more to say than I have space for, but for me it really starts in the late 1990s when website design was in its infancy.
Changes in website design in the last 20 years
Back in the late 1990s, you just needed a website. It didn’t have to look good or have much text and so long as your pages linked together, it was just fine! You could expect your website to act as an automatic magnet for visitors, due to there not being many business in the same field as yours. People would somehow just find it without you having to do anything. How easy was that?!
In addition, websites were mostly created in HTML using one or two standard fonts – Arial, Courier and Times Roman. There was very little graphic design input, just a few small fuzzy images dotted here and there. After a while graphic designers got fed up wincing at poor typography and ugly layouts and decided it was time to get stuck in, that websites would not be owned by the Coders alone. Designers started using a Table structure to design sites, this helped with the structure of the pages and made for a better user experience.
The early 2000+
Google started to gain importance and Keywords became a necessity in making your website searchable. But as more and more websites were launched online, some people started to fill their pages up with loads of Keywords that made the written word useless for humans but great for SEO. This was called ‘Keyword Stuffing’ and went on for quite a few years. Other Black Hat techniques were used to get websites further up search results pages as more and more websites popped up on the internet. Eventually Google worked hard to counteract these behaviours and radically changed their algorithm. This was intended to send sites that used these techniques to the back of the queue.
Around this time Double S Design was busy putting graphic design skills together with HTML. We started to created Responsive HTML sites when mobile devices became ‘smart’. Tables became obsolete in favour of CSS as it is far better suited to fluid layouts. Websites were no longer created for desktop screens alone. This created an additional challenge for designers who needed to think how the layout should change for smaller screens. Double S Design is proud to announce that we were one of the earliest adopters of Responsive design and there’s still a couple of Responsive HTML of ours online.
Now competition is higher than ever and we need to build websites with interesting, compelling content that entices people to engage with your site. Your website should give the visitor confidence in your product or service and invite them to buy from you. Being honest and authentic is as important for humans as it is for Google and Bing. Everyone wants their website to be found on page one, so having a planned strategy for your website is important for giving you the chance of acheiving that goal. We work with a team of marketing focused copywriters, SEO specialists, Bloggers and other designers to enable us to furnish you with a functioning website that gives you a return on investment.
In the last five years we have been building websites with WordPress, it was becoming clear that people needed to update their sites themselves and WordPress offered an easy solution. With our background in HTML and CSS we are able to create unique websites within the WordPress framework. This enables us to give our customers added benefits – that the site fits the purpose of the business, rather than fit your business into a box. We seem to have gone full circle, if you think back to the beginning of the article. We just wanted to make customers websites clear, logical, beautiful and easy to use; something to be proud of.
By the way, I still wince at ‘cookie-cutter’ websites, if you want to take yours to the next level, give us a call.
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