What is More Important to a Small Business:
SEO or Web Design?

Small businesses usually have limited budgets for marketing and promotion. It therefore can become necessary to make choices when it comes to priorities. One question that small business owners often ask is whether it’s better to invest in web design or SEO. Ideally, you would be able to do both. However, if you have to choose, which should be your priority? Let’s take a brief look at why each is important and then determine which should be your priority.

The Importance of Web Design

A website is often the way people are introduced to a new business. This is less true for traditional brick and mortar businesses, but even there people nowadays are likely to find a business online before they walk in the door of a business. Having an appealing, professional looking website can make a good impression on visitors instantly. On the other hand, having a poorly designed website, or one that isn’t user friendly, can quickly turn visitors off. That’s why web design is extremely important.

The Value of SEO

Search engine optimization makes it easier for people to find your website. A SEO specialist is likely to remind you that if people never find your site, it makes no difference how great it looks. There are many SEO tactics, from focusing on keywords to getting quality links from other sites to getting ranked locally by Google. On the other hand, you have to be careful with SEO, as Google now actually penalizes sites that are too aggressive about it or that go about it in the wrong way.

Conclusion: Why Web Design Should be Your Priority?

While both web design and SEO are very important, if you had to choose a priority it should be web design. While it’s true that a great website doesn’t help you if no one can find it, the reverse is just as true – if lots of people visit your site but it doesn’t impress them, you don’t gain anything.

Web design is much more concrete and clear cut than SEO. When you hire a company to design your website, you can tell them exactly what you want in terms of design, layout, graphics and so forth. SEO is much less precise. It’s possible, for example, to invest thousands of dollars into a SEO campaign and see hardly any results. In fact, the wrong type of SEO can actually harm your site’s ranking.

Finally, the focus of Google in recent years has been to reward websites that provide quality content and that give visitors a good experience. This means sites that are easy to navigate and that load quickly. In other words, a well designed web site will already have SEO advantages over a poorly designed one.

This isn’t to downplay the importance of SEO. The fact is, however, if you have limited resources, your first priority should be creating a great looking website with content that will be of interest to your visitors. To some extent, this alone will help your SEO efforts.