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How the wrong web designer could destroy your business

Patrick Nelson
Test your website fully

It's disturbing just how many ways there are that the wrong web designer can damage a business. Whether it's carelessness, ignorance or just plain incompetence, these people wield far too much power over their small (and, I guess large) client's businesses in an economic climate where mistakes can actually drown a business.

I spent this morning working with a client who had recently had their website redesigned by another agency. We bid for the work, but didn't win the pitch. The client has kindly come back to us for online marketing advice and help.

Whilst looking through the site, I discovered, much to my client's dismay, that their website designer had set up a tag on the home page of their website that is causing major problems for them within Google.

In short, this tag (the canonical tag for those of you who are interested) is used to tell Google that one page is equivalent to another page - for search purposes. So, for example, page B may be a duplicate of page A. You set up a canonical tag on page B that points to page A. Simple. 

Except that this web designer put a canonical tag on every single page of the site. And then pointed every single one to the home page.

The effect?

The effect is that Google could only index one page of the site because every other page visited told the search engine that page was a duplicate and that the home page was the one to use.

With these canonical links in place, despite their best efforrts, absolutely nothing that my client did would ever have any effect on optimising their site in Google. 

I genuinely believe that this was not an act of carelessness or maliciousness on the web designer's part. More likely, it was down to a lack of understanding. Time will tell.

But, whatever the reason, the fact is that this one mistake would cost my client a lot of money and a lot of time if it had continued to go unnoticed.

This is why I believe that it's always worth getting a second opinion. Even if it costs you that little bit extra, get another website designer, consultant or professional Webmaster to look over your new website. A thorough check should cover a variety of areas. Here's a list of some of the things that we check:

  • Speed
  • Spelling
  • Cookie law compliance
  • Search engine friendliness
  • Analytics
  • W3C compliance and Accessibility
  • Mobile friendliness
  • Code quality
  • Internal links
  • Page titles
  • Image formatting
  • URL formats
  • Server behaviour
  • Social interest
  • Technology (how well built the site is)

Don't leave your website success to chance - with the large number of amateur website designers out there, between you and them, the only person who may take responsibility for your website is you.