Do I need an Information Architect for my next website redesign?

Good web design is not just about the exterior or interior design of your website. While the look and feel of your website is important to your brand, there are many more elements that need to be taken into consideration.

If you are building a new website or updating an existing one, the principles are much the same as if you were building a new home or renovating an existing one. In either case, you want an outcome that suits your needs, the needs of your customers, your budget and some sort of return on investment.

Building a solid foundation for your structure

Information Architecture - Design blueprint

Let’s take the scenario of building a new home. You have the plot of land and now you want to put a house on it. You have an idea of the type of design (look and feel) you want but more importantly, you want a solid foundation on which to build your structure.

Unless you’re a builder or an architect, chances are you don’t know where to start so you might ask friends or family for recommendations or you might shop around for some building quotes. You meet with 3 or 4 building companies or architects and you choose one.

What makes you choose a particular building company or architect depends on several things namely price, timeframe, and reputation but ultimately, your decision boils down to how the builder or architect responds to you and your personal needs. This may not be apparent from the outset but as your project gets underway, you want a relationship with your builder or architect that is built on trust, understanding, knowledge and open communication.

Along the way where obstacles may arise, you will want to work with someone who provides solutions to suit you and your family, rather than them. The best solutions will be provided because the builder or architect has a handle on the “big picture”. They have a knowledgeable overview of all parts of the process, they understand the capabilities of the resources they need and have, and they know how these resources interact within the process. The same can be said of an Information Architect (IA).

What is information architecture (IA) anyway?

Information Architecture - bridge builders

One definition I’ve seen says that information architecture is the practice of designing and organising information structures. To me, this is just one part of what an IA actually does. Just as a building architect is a person trained in the planning, design and supervision of the construction of a building, an information architect is a person trained in IA planning, interaction design and supervision of the construction of a website.

This is not the same supervision as might be allotted to a Project Manager. Just as a building architect designs a blueprint for the construction of a new home and supervises how that house is put together, an information architect designs a blueprint for the construction of a new website and supervises how that website is put together.

As Peter Morville (the “founding father” of information architecture) puts it, Information Architects build bridges between:

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Weekend Wrap 20: What is SEO? UX myths & the ultimate LinkedIn cheatsheet

We kick off the Weekend Wrap with some easy to grasp  SEO basics – it’s good stuff and it is in an Infographic for ease of reading.

For the more advanced SEO geeks there is a technical post with step by step instructions on how to avoid duplication and have correct optimisation for WordPress.

Did you hear about Interflora disappearing out of search around 14th of February?  Have a look at this post and make up you own mind as to why Google refuses to comment. Why is Interflora is showing up so quickly, just 11 days after being penalised?

If you’re not up with Google+Local you will definitely want to read this one – insights from David Mihm – the authority on Local Search.

Moving to social media and the hottest social business platform right now seems to be LinkedIn.  If you think it’s just a portal to showcase your C.V. think again… there’s an awful lot of business done on LinkedIn and this is one of the best guides to effective LinkedIn use we have seen.

Next up Copyblogger asks the question – is it time for content marketers to abandon Facebook? What do you think?

We have found some brilliant posts in the content marketing field including a very comprehensive resource for everything you can think of related to content strategy and SEO – Huge! check it out!

There are posts on creating remarkable content (high end stuff), web copywriting tips from one of the best, a 3 step process to writing content…

And there’s lots more…

The image this week comes from our new location where a lone gull sits looking over Ohope Beach – which has just this week been voted the Best Beach in New Zealand.

New Zealand beach image

SEO/ Search engine optimisation:

What The Heck Is SEO And Why Should I Care?

This fantastic infographic from Point Blank SEO is a back to basics, simple introduction to SEO for people who do not really want to know about the complexities of SEO implementation. Exactly what is SEO? Simple concepts, a brief history, easy to understand explanations for the newbie or for people in your organisation who are not up with digital marketing and SEO.

SEO Friendly WordPress in 12 Steps

Right, now that the easy stuff is out of the way it’s time to get into a more technical post on how to correctly optimise your WordPress site to eliminate the dreaded duplication issues that Google is unimpressed by and to ensure your site functions as well for SEO as possible. Nice post, useful step by step instructions – check it out.

Interflora Gets Its Google Rankings Back, 11 Days After Penalty

This story lit up the SEO blogs in the last few weeks. Massive UK brand Interflora was removed from Google for paid link strategies which breached Google’s guidelines. Every news site that accepted their paid advertorials had their Pagerank reduced to zero. You can imagine the loss of revenue this would mean for Interflora (and for the news sites). They must have worked day and night to remove the non-compliance and then 11 days after the penalty they are back – but with lower page positions. I think some of the sites that have had to wait 3 or even 6 months would not be impressed with the speedy return.

Google refused to comment about Interflora’s disappearance from its search results, but two days after the penalty — and another penalty that lowered the visible PageRank of some UK newspapers — Google issued a warning against “advertorials” that pass PageRank.

UX Myths That Hurt SEO – Whiteboard Friday

SEOmoz’s Whiteboard Fridays are always very informative and come straight from the fore-front of SEO thought leadership – especially when hosted by Rand Fishkin. This one looks at common User Experience myths that actually hurt SEO efforts. Particularly interesting is the use of stock images to enhance a page versus one with just text – which one do you think would work better?
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