A super great looking website does not equal a well optimized website!
I have found from experience that many excellent web designers simply do not understand the nuts and bolts of search engine optimization. An excellent, good looking website does not mean that your new site will place well organically.
Here are several things to ask your web designer to make sure that your are getting a good balance of design versus SEO:
1. State that you do not want text to be incorporated into your website as images. In many cases a web designer (due to control of elements) will create text with images. I particularly see this in titles above content. Search engines cannot read images and so you lose opportunities to include your keywords by a designer using images where they should use text.
2. Do not over use Flash. Flash is pretty, but search engines including Google still do not do a good job indexing all Flash websites. I cannot begin to tell you how many calls I have fielded from clients whose Flash website is not performing organically and who want my help to improve. You cannot search engine optimize Flash. One thing to think about is that Microsoft’s new Silverlight which is like Flash is search engine spiderable, but many browsers do not have Silverlight enabled at this point. Contain Flash only in your banner at this time for best organic performance if you must use it at all.
3. Make sure that your web designer understands how important the source code title tag is and the meta description tag is. If they do not understand your concern, your designer does not understand SEO. Sometimes to get the best of both worlds it is best to hire a super designer and then an SEO consultant who makes sure that the site architecture, images, file folders, and even page names are built around keywords. We do provide consulting services in this area if you have already selected a great web designer, consider using our consulting services to assure that your website has the best possible chance of top organic placement when it is launched.