Designing your new website is an exciting step towards improving your online digital presence. In the past, designers might have jumped into a website project focused solely on aesthetics. Today, another important element is requiring website designers to focus on details behind the beautiful design: search engine optimization (SEO). Designing a website with SEO as a primary consideration can help your website appear more prominently in search engine results, increasing its chance of being found when your potential customers are looking online for information about products or services like yours. In this article, we’ll offer SEO tips to help your new site get noticed.
Create a Sitemap and Simple Navigation Structure
One of the first steps to laying out a well optimized website is creating a clear, concise navigation structure. Site visitors depend on your navigation to guide them around the website and provide a top tier of organization for your website content. Creating a sitemap and laying out your page structure before designing any pages can help you establish how the site will flow as a whole and identify the best way to organize the information so it can easily be indexed by search engines. Check out our article, “Six Qualities of an Effective Navigation Menu” for additional ideas.
Recognize the Importance of Load Time
A user might never see a beautifully designed website page if it’s stuck behind a loading screen. Research shows that 11% of users bounce from a page that takes three seconds to load, and 38% are gone after five seconds. By seven seconds in, more than half the audience is lost. Because even fractions of seconds count, it’s essential that all images and design elements be optimized to load quickly and efficiently to help create a seamless user experience.
Begin optimizing elements by checking your file sizes. Large files take longer to load; compressing files (while maintaining image quality) can help your pages load more quickly. Check out this guide to optimizing web images for additional tips.
Use Descriptive Alt Tags
In addition to optimizing your images, it’s important to tag them with descriptive alt text. Although users don’t see the alt tags, search engines that crawl your website rely on these descriptions to understand what is in your images and how they relate to your content. The easier it is for a search engine to index and understand your website content—including the images—the better optimized your site will be.
Design with Mobile in Mind
Most users now expect a comparable—or even enhanced—website experience on their mobile devices. Depending on your target audience, you may choose to focus your website design solely around the mobile experience. Regardless, ensuring your website elements work smoothly on both mobile and desktop is essential to an optimal user experience. In addition, a responsive website diversifies your pool of visitors through increased accessibility across devices, creating more opportunities for your site to generate leads.
Prioritize the User Experience
A design is only as good as the user experience it provides. Certain design trends come and go, but laying out information in an accessible and digestible manner is a tried and true ingredient of website success. It’s important to remember that the user experience is crafted together with the right page layout, story, connections, and visual cues. To create the best possible experience for your website visitors, use care with all of these elements.
Bonus Tip: Set Up Tracking and Analytics
It’s always good to know how your website is performing, and it’s a bonus to understand on a page level how your design elements are contributing to that performance. This allows you to make more informed decisions about the design and make tweaks as necessary.
Are you looking for help designing or building your new website? We have staff that specialize in website design, development, and SEO optimization ready to assist you in creating a beautiful website that helps you achieve your digital marketing goals. Contact us today to learn more about our services!