Effective web design is vital to online success and ultimately the success of your business. However with the wealth of advice and detail regarding design and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) available online, it can be very confusing for complete beginners to know where to start. Here I will explain the key aspects of planning, designing and optimising a site to enhance user experience and achieve high rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Strategy and effective planning
How many times have you been frustrated whilst visiting a website due to a lack of content, poor usability and slow load time? Strategy and effective planning play a key role in solving these issues. As soon as a visitor lands on your website, there should a clear guide of how they should take action.
To do this, a planned structure needs to be created and tailored to your business and its intended target market. After it has been completed, you can plan specific pages that appeal to different audiences and help shape their journey. Identify what potential visitors might want to see and create relevant graphics, text, video and possibly animation to enhance the user experience.
When it comes to the Internet, people are becoming more impatient – you have just 7 seconds to impress before the viewer goes elsewhere. I can’t express enough how important it is to create a three click navigation system to allow the visitor to know where they are, how to find what they need and how to back to where they started.
There is a close relationship between strategy and design; once you have these principles set, your website is on the road to success.
Using planned navigation along with a clear and easy to use layout can ensure your message is conveyed effectively. Design plays such a vital role in modern web creation and choosing the right elements should be part of a tailored package to reach the end user in the best possible way. As part of this, consider these other design elements: consistency, colour, competitor analysis, device compatibility and the use of web-safe fonts.
What is SEO and why should you use it?
SEO can be described as a process to improve where your website appears in organic search results for specific keywords in search engines such as Google. There are hundreds of factors that contribute to where a website ranks, which broadly fall into the category of on or off-site.
If your website (on-site) has been designed badly or without SEO in mind, then there is a strong possibility that no new visitors will ever find your website through search engines. There are a few things you can do to prevent this:
- Navigation – Your site should have clear structure that allows search engines to crawl and index it.
- Page elements – Titles, descriptions, headers, copy, images and URLs need to be created with branded and generic keywords in mind.
- Fresh, unique, regular content – The site should be regularly updated to keep it fresh, meaning search engine crawlers will return to the website regularly
- Internal links – The website should contain a range of internal links and occasional external links to authoritative websites.
- Load speed – Every page on your site should load quickly as load speeds are taken into account by search engines.
Using the strategies outlined above would give your business an added advantage regarding design and SEO. The important things to remember are to have a strategic and effective plan, a good layout and navigation and to consider the basics of SEO and put them into practice.