Blog: Web Design
Three legged Stool

It Takes Three Legs To Make A Table Stand

Avatar for John Locke

John Locke is a SEO consultant from Sacramento, CA. He helps manufacturing businesses rank higher through his web agency, Lockedown Design & SEO.

You’ve heard it said, “it takes three legs to make a table stand”.

Similarly, your website, your most important marketing asset, also takes three legs to stand.

The three legs I’m talking about are content, design, and development/UX.

Much as a table lays flush with three legs, your website needs these three pillars to properly support your marketing efforts.

The First Leg: Well-Planned Site Content

The content on a website is the information that your customers come to find. Sadly enough, many web agencies do not gather content early in the design process, and often leave it for the week before launch.

Most often in a web project, you will see placeholder text, aka lorem ipsum or gibberish text, used throughout the design flow. Ugh. This is utterly broken as the process.

We should be working on the content first, during, and even post-launch. The greatest design in the world means nothing if you don’t have the right content on the website.

With SEO, what matters more than any other factor is having the highest quality content on that specific subject. If you want to rank #1 for a certain topic, you must have a page that covers that information, or solves that customer problem better than every other page on the web for that topic.

Content planning needs to be one of the first steps in designing your website, not an afterthought.

While design plays an important role, no one comes to a website to look at the design unless they’re another web designer.

The first thing that you should be focusing on in a website redesign is what are you going to put on each page. This includes doing a content audit of your website, looking at what needs to be on your site, and developing a content strategy and publishing calendar to fill the content gap.

Design is the Second Leg

If your website is a table, the second leg holding it up is the design. Design is important to SEO, and here’s why.

Let’s say your customer looks at two sites with the exact same content. One site is aesthetically pleasing, and the other one looks like it’s straight out of the 1990s. Which one is going to be the one that they trust more? In every single case, it’s going to be the one that looks more up-to-date. Why? Because good design is a signal for high quality.

Design is there to accentuate the message you are broadcasting. The purpose of design is to amplify the message that the content is bringing. It is a component that helps tell your story and distinguish you from your competitors.

Design is there to help tell the story, not be the story itself.

When all other factors are equal, a well-designed site is generally going to outperform a poorly-designed site.

If design is how it works, not how it looks, than part of how it works is establishing trust. Perception is reality. How people perceive your brand is part of your overall SEO.

Can there be exceptions to this rule? Of course, look at Craigslist. It doesn’t have the world’s greatest visual design. It will never win design awards, but it’s one of the top 10 sites in the world for a good reason. Craigslist gives people what they want very quickly.

For the rest of us, we need to have a website that reflects the quality that our products deliver. That means you need good design.

The Third Leg of the Table is UX and Web Development

Your website can have great content and design, but if the web development is sub-par, it won’t support your marketing initiatives as much as it could.

Speed is one factor of user experience and SEO that cannot be ignored. Inefficient coding makes a site load slow, while fast loading pages convert customers at a higher rate and rank higher in search.

Google recommends that your HTTP load time be less than 2 to 3 seconds. A one-second delay in page load time decreases conversions by 7%. But the average e-commerce page loads in 7 seconds, while customers expect a web page to load in three seconds.

The longer it takes for a page to load, the less likely your customers will stick around. Time on site and bounce rate are metrics that Google measures to help determine whether a page should go up or down in the search rankings.

You have to have a well-developed site in order to have good SEO. Having good web hosting is also part of fast loading pages.

Also, how mobile-friendly is your site? If you don’t have a mobile-friendly site, you’re not going to rank as well, which means less traffic, less customers, and less revenue.

Another thing to consider is how easy is it to publish new content to your website? If you have to call your web development company every time you want to publish a new page, that’s a real problem. Your site should be there to serve your marketing team. If you can’t add content easily, then you need to reevaluate the foundation you’re using. The ability to add new content on a consistent schedule is very important to SEO.

Lastly, how well does your website integrate with your marketing software? Do the contact forms work correctly and import leads into your CRM? What about having an email newsletter list that people can sign up to easily? Do you have Google Analytics installed and set up correctly? Are you taking advantage of the Facebook Pixel for retargeting and lookalike audiences? Have you fully optimized your site for technical SEO?

These are all important web development questions that you need to answer to fully leverage your website as a marketing platform.

Are The Three Legs of Your Website Solid?

Like a table needs three legs to be stable and solid, so your website needs insightful content, clear design, and optimized web development. Having all three of these components will help you have a successful, well-ranking site that gets targeted traffic from your ideal customers.

Avatar for John Locke

John Locke is a SEO consultant from Sacramento, CA. He helps manufacturing businesses rank higher through his web agency, Lockedown Design & SEO.

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