Optimize My Brand

Strategy, tactics, ideas and tips from Creative Company.

Fire the web designers, hire the content marketers

It’s happened again, a client discovers their chosen web designer is clueless

Clueless about what’s important about a website, about how to create content that the search engines look for and reward with a higher ranking. About how to get found online.

web addressHere’s the scoop …

A company we’re talking to about marketing has a website that has been built by a web designer. That’s DESIGNER in all caps. It’s attractive, the colors are good, the brand treatment is decent and the product shows off well. It’s a decent visual treatment and design.

However, being a DESIGNER, they obviously asked the client to provide the content and copy for the site. The client obliged by copying and pasting (though crediting the source) information about his product and category from many other sources on the web. In addition, someone said “we need keywords” and then listed a whole bunch of keywords on their site plan page.

The result?

Google gives this website a zero page rank. ZERO. (out of 10) In other words, this website will never be found unless you already know the domain name.


  • Google wants fresh, original content, not copy that’s been copied over from another website
  • Google wants pages that have keywords that relate to what’s on that page
  • Google frowns on keyword “stuffing” … just listing a whole bunch of keywords on one page
  • Google wants copy that’s written for real people, not search engines … so copy that’s overloaded with specific keywords will read like the web manager is trying to fool Google

Why do we care what Google wants? Because Google is used for 70% of online searches.

If Google can’t find you or won’t present your website as the result of a search, you’re not going to be found by the people you’re trying to reach. It’s not good to try and fool Google.

In fact, Google views this website as poison … and it will take some significant work to get it back up in the page rankings.

So the client is upset … and wonders why his web DESIGNER didn’t know this?

This is not the first time we have seen this scenario.

There are lots of web designers from many a web design company, usually freelancers or small design partnerships, that offer web design. They understand design and can create an attractive presentation, in most cases. And they understand enough programming to get the new website posted. But they don’t offer web strategy, content development, search engine optimization or any of the other vital components of a successful website.

Sure it costs more to have someone work on the foundational strategy and develop web-friendly content, but what’s the alternative? Flush a bunch of money down the toilet to have a pretty website (that was cheap) that no one will find?

Or do you as the client want to learn all of the ever-changing intricacies of online marketing, SEO, content development, website strategy, inbound marketing and web functionality? … so you can inform your designer? Maybe not.

Enough ranting. There are web firms that are content marketers and strategists. They’ll make sure your website is user-friendly and Google-friendly. And they have designers on their team who can create an attractive and engaging website. They get SEO. They can support you with Pay Per Click and ongoing updates to keep you fresh in the all-knowing eyes of Google.

Some firms come from a marketing perspective rather than a technical  background, so they incorporate marketing positioning, great design and online best practices … the best of all worlds. That’s where Creative Company fits. (A little shameless self-promotion.)

And there are web designers who can create a design and get it online. You choose.

A website is an essential point of choice

It’s an ongoing challenge for us, to keep up with the latest Google algorithms, ensure we understand keyword strategy and then blend that information into the brand positioning. It’s an ever-shifting world. Yet we also know that a website is a critical point of choice, especially in the B2B world where buyers do their research online before they ever contact a company or salesperson.

Here’s a bit more information you may find useful.

Take a look at a couple of websites (besides our own) that are beautiful to look at and effective as an integral marketing tool.

 What is your current web marketing challenge?

About the author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer's four decades of work in the industry, starting as a designer and adding marketing, copywriting and digital marketing, has generated response for clients since 1978.

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  1. Love this, Jennifer. It’s the new age of the copywriter. To riff on Shakespeare from Henry IV (Part I or II, I can’t remember), “First we kill all the designers.” (I think he actually said “lawyers”, but same sentiment). But what it means is that people like me, writers, are going to be in greater demand. Set it in Arial, reflex blue, doesn’t matter; as long as it’s original, interesting, and fun to read.

    • Hi Jeff … it’s so true, isn’t it? My last two hires had to be writers too … because it’s even more important now that it used to! Although I won’t abandon good design … the content and message is essential. Yes, original, interesting … inspiring and provoking … plus fun to read!


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