The last decade has truly seen the landscape of the business world change completely. Whereas in the past simply having a nice, clear website was enough, nowadays your business site must include a whole lot more such as contemporary design, social media content, usability and conversion. The advent of the SEO era has truly morphed the online business world into a much more competitive area where the consumers are viewing information and products in different ways than before.
Ay modern website in 2013 must have a clear strategy of what it is supposed to achieve. It is imperative that you take a marketing led approach that combines search functions with a clear user interface and access to social media. The website should not just advertise your brand, but also maximise your conversion rate so that you are achieving profit on top of brand recognition.
Lets us take a look at some of the important web design features –
1 – Design
You would be surprised how many companies I deal with come to me with cluttered websites where the previous web developer has tried to squeeze in every possible feature, no matter how much it make the site look confusing. Extra care must be taken to ensure you plan a website that is ordered, clear yet engaging, and functional to use. This is where the compromise between the designer and the SEO teams must be recognised….and that is a delicate balance to find.
Make sure your site is in keeping with what the target market wants. Keep navigation as simple as possible as users hate being unsure of where to click and feeling lost. Don’t be scared to be creative and modern, though, but try to look at your design choices objectively.
2 – Usability
Sure, the goals of SEO is to get traffic into your website, but the combination of your SEO focussed website must also act as a usable site once your visitors arrive. Analyze eye tracking studies to implement new ideas into your current website interface. Have clear headlines that capture the attention of the site visitors. Make sure your site is easy on the eyes. Choose your fonts, colours and images carefully and that they do not present an unpleasant experience for the user. Make navigation options obvious so that no frustration is experienced.
3 – SEO
Use friendly URLs so that search engines can identify the subject of each page on your website. Ensure you build HTML and XML maps so that your website is indexed properly. Also, keep post titles relevant to the page content and descriptive as to provide as much detail as possible. In addition to this, flash menus can cause problems as some search engines have problems identifying their content. Keep anchor links with real descriptive words as search engines don’t always know that “click here” is something important.
4 – Content
Content is what binds the design and SEO features together. Good content is essential and quality should be preferred over quality. Make sure all writing is clear and concise…..and obviously relevant to the subject. don’t be too long winded either, as often users are looking for specific details and information.
Make sure all your content is dated properly along with clear headings so that users can ensure they are reading the most up to date posts that are relevant to them.
5 – Integration
Your web design should be flexible enough as to allow further expansion in the future. When you feel it is necessary to integrate new features, having planned ahead can make the task much less daunting. Also, it is important to understand the different ways in which people are viewing online content. The rise in popularity of smart phones and tablets means that your site must look good on a variety of screen sizes/resolutions whilst also being accessible for users with touch screen devices.