Whilst a website does need to be attractively designed and look professional in order to give the best possible first impression to clients and customers that come across your page, you need to also be thinking about SEO from the earliest possible opportunity.
It is a common problem, and one which many SEO specialists battle with, that businesses come to them with a complete website and then ask them to optimise it for the web. The truth is that SEO and web design both have to be considered at the earliest stages of designing the site, for them to work together effectively.
A really well-designed, SEO-friendly website will just work, flawlessly and easily, without the points where each element has been brought into play being obvious to web users. Here are some of the places where these two concepts collaborate best.
In modern times, mobile phones are everything for businesses and customers alike. We are living in a mobile-first age, where consumers will use their phones for everything from shopping to ordering food and taxis, reading and sending email, making calls and video chatting with friends.
Every website needs to have their site optimised for both search engines and mobile phones. Your mobile phone site layout should be created alongside your regular site as this is the site that is most likely to be seen the most. In fact, in 2020, chances are most of your customers will only ever look at your site on their mobile phone.
Working with an SEO specialist you need to think about the types of things users will do on a mobile phone as opposed to on a computer, and tailor your mobile site to those needs and wants. If your site is not loading properly or is not easy to navigate on a mobile phone, you will start to receive higher bounce rates and find yourself slipping down SERPs.
As mentioned previously, you can’t simply rely on an attractive design to appeal to internet users and get conversions, but an attractive design for users means more than something that looks great. It has to be designed so that people are able to read and use the site properly, which is where SEO comes in.
Your website should avoid design choices such as:
- Text that is too light or dark to read easily on its background
- Blocks of content all over the place
- Too many hyperlinks
- Text that is overly large or too small to read
- Difficult to read fonts
- Too much or too little white space
- Too many images or no images at all
- Irrelevant content that makes the page hard to navigate
When putting the design together, it helps to put yourself in the shoes of your audience and decide what use this design element will be to them. If there is no point in it, or it makes your experience less simple, cut it out.
One of the most critical factors in whether a user converts on your page or adds to your bounce rate is the speed of your site. Internet users are used to pages which load in a fraction of a second these days, so if your page is taking up to 5 seconds to load each time they will quickly navigate away and find a page which does load quickly.
Remember that, if a user is on their mobile, their internet connection might not be fantastic, and this will be working against you too.
One way to deal with this is Google’s mobile-friendly test, which is a useful tool that can give you feedback on everything from mobile-friendliness to mobile and desktop speeds. The tool is able to provide a report that details anything you can do to speed up your site as well.
Gaining users’ trust in your website is key to getting your website to rank higher on SERPs. This means ensuring that your web design and SEO work in tandem to help users form good opinions and trust you from the earliest possible opportunity. Internet users are very quick to form opinions of sites, and it can be very difficult to get them to change their minds once they have them.
As a brand, building trust means living up to the expectations that you’ve set for yourself. As a website there are more specific choices that you can make to inspire trust in visitors. Internet users are expecting to see a clean, easy to navigate website, from a professional brand. They want to be able to find all of the information that they want, quickly and without having to search for it.
A website which is outdated, looks unattractive or is difficult to use makes people suspect that the company isn’t trustworthy, and they will most likely head to another site that does offer them the visual representation they were expecting from your site.
Website usability is a combination of things that make it easier for a user to go through the website and find all of the things that they want to quickly. Usability combines things like device-specific design (as mentioned under the ‘mobile-friendly’ heading), page speed, website design and so on.
Key factors to consider include:
- Home page and site navigation. It should be easy to move through the site and find the different elements without searching. Your home page and site navigation are your map for users, so should be comprehensive and flawless.
- Page layout. Keep important elements of your page big, and less important elements out of the way. Feel free to lose elements if they don’t have a specific purpose.
- Every website should have a search function that is clear on every single part of the site, so that users can head straight to it if they know what they want and can’t see it right away.
- Use a professional web designer and research your design ideas from the start to make sure your design is beautiful and appealing.
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Give us a call on 0151 652 4777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can help.
Posted on Friday, February 28th, 2020 in Branding.