Oh, the dilemma! As an SEO person (I hate using the word 'expert' or 'pro' because we are always learning and things are always changing), we constantly work on making sites load faster, appeal to Google and follow all the rules. But as a consumer, I want a pretty site, easy to read, attractive, and one that stands out, which usually means movement, big images and buttons.
UGH - The Dilemma Hence lies our dilemma. I get it. You want an amazing site! Who doesn't!? But because we are SEO people first and web designers second, we build and design for the search engines, leads and rankings, not like graphic designers.
I had a graphic designer come to me a couple months ago and said they wanted a new site. She does beautiful work and laid out a whole website for me the way she wanted it. The problem was that it was all in pictures. No actual text or content, just large format pictures. If we went with exactly what she wanted the site would have taken 3 minutes to load and Google would have laughed at it, if it even took the time to view it at all.
We kind of went round and round on the design for a couple weeks because she just couldn't figure out why everything couldn't just be her amazing graphics. She's a dear friend as well so I got real with her. No one will find your site and no one will wait to view it. Is that what you want? LOL... well, no, of course not, so we made some compromises. We allowed her a few graphics designed for web and she allowed some actual text content. The finished product is amazing (I think, anyway) and so did she - Peddy Graphics
But this is the same scenario with just about everyone. We did a beautiful site for a photographer in New York and you KNOW she wanted her photos to look stunning. But we couldn't just throw any old photos up there; they had to be optimized for search engines and the web. Not so cut and dry as you might think. They have to look amazing and they have to load fast. To do this, we usually use a caching software like Cloud Flare or a CDN service that allows images to load on the closest server, speeding up the entire site.
What if a graphic designer tried to do SEO?
This is the situation we get into BUT I think it's also a good one. Think of it the other way around; would you want a graphic designer or branding manager designing your website? It might look amazing but score an F on the Google rating scale.
We were asked to clean up our church's website because it was so slow and wasn't performing. Turns out there were 15 videos playing immediately when you got to the homepage. Imaging how that slowed down the site!? The main designer was a graphic designer and she does BEAUTIFUL work but putting it on a website was not working. We had to reformat all the videos, pare things down and adjust all the images and coding. But that's what we do! And we love it. Check it out: Grove.Church
I see it all the time - There are dozens of web design companies that 'claim' they do SEO too. But it's not their main focus and 9 times out of 10, they are using old, outdated techniques that will actual get a site banned rather than help the site.
Using an SEO 'expert' (okay, I used it) to design your website means that it will be optimized first, designed second. We make sure all the code is accurate, there are no errors, and it does what you want it to do CAPTURE LEADS. A site might be pretty, but does it drive home who you are, what you do, and how a person can buy your service or product? Not only do we design for search engines, but for clients to find you, call you and buy from you (or use your service). We make it pretty after all the foundation work and that's what you really should be looking at.
Some our sites we are really proud of: