I have been working at VIA for over 6 months now and wanted to share some thoughts I had on the differences between working in the real world and university.
When it comes to getting more visits to your website, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is one of, if not the best, things that you should consider.
First a quick crash course to explain what exactly SEO is. SEO is the practice of setting up your website using every tool available to promote your website appearing in search results. It can be separated into two distinct sections - Content & Technical. The content side requires content to be written with keywords used appropriately throughout, along with suitable images with descriptive alt tags. Links to social websites such as Google+, Twitter and Facebook are also required to help promote your website and allow users to easily share posts from your site. This all helps generate links and traffic to your site which Google and other search engines look highly upon. The technical side involves creating the website using the latest coding specification and adhering to best practices such as clean code, page speed, minifying files & compressing images and providing the content in a clear and concise format, such as using heading tags (H1, H2) and Schema.org micro data.
When you are planning on getting a website built for your business, you should consider if the platform will have enough features or functionality to allow you to manage the SEO for your website. For bespoke websites built from scratch, complete control over every aspect of the website is standard so every method to optimise the SEO of your website can be used, including web server settings and analytics. Using a pre-made platform such as Wordpress, you have less control than a bespoke build, but plugins such as YoastSEO or All in One SEO can help general users once they learn how to use them. With these platforms, it is best to self-host or have them hosted by the company creating your website. If you are on a budget and go for a cheaper template platform or solution, you are much more constrained on what can be done on the website on the Technical side of SEO. These options are usually hosted on their own system with limited access and are often created for general users to be able to use without much difficulty so they may not have the best code practices or page speed. These sites depend on the Content side of SEO to be found on the web and could require a copywriter or an expensive PPC (Pay-Per-Click).
So when you’re planning your next website, make sure to decide how much traffic you want from search engines or if you just want a website that will be found by links on your social channels, emails or print marketing materials. Paying the extra from the begin could save you money in the long run as well as bring in more business.