Why Website Design is Important For Your Business’ Marketing Efforts
By now, just about every entrepreneur, whether they are a small business owner or the owner of a larger company, understands that marketing is a major driving factor in a website’s success. There are several techniques that can drive prosperity, but one of the most important is search engine optimization, which utilizes Google search to help bring in more customers.
These practices alone will not help your business succeed; they need to be integrated into the core design of your page. There are several ways that this can be incorporated into your design technique, let’s take a look.
Ten Design Techniques That Can Help Your Page Succeed
1) Incorporate a Good Domain Practices
This is one of the most important site design decisions that you can make when you’re starting a new site. As was mentioned earlier, good marketing practices have to be incorporated into the very makeup of your site in order for it to be successful, and your site’s domain name will definitely have a large amount of impact in the site’s marketing.
Back in 2012, Google made a major changed in its algorithm, which made it some pages wouldn’t rank higher because of the fact that they have a keyword in their domain name. This EMD Update made some believe that the domain name wasn’t as important, but there’s an aspect of domain naming that has been undervalued: branding.
Branding is very important for the marketability of your site. What would a site be if its domain name didn’t match its brand name? Consider the top brands in the world: what would Google be without Google.com? What would Amazon be like if its site wasn’t Amazon.com?
For this reason, when you’re establishing your site, make sure that you select your brand name first and then make sure that the associated domain name is available before you start. If it’s not available, then you may need to take things back to the drawing board. In any case, it’s important to claim your domain before your competitors do, and it also helps to think ahead and also secure any potentially associated domain names as well.
Uniqueness is also important. It’s important for your site to stand out from the crowd and your domain name should be something that is memorable and can be associated quickly with your brand.
Once these steps are complete, it’s time to make sure that your subdomains 301 redirect back to your primary URL. This allows for your page to have an easily navigable structure for your visitors. Finding a good domain name is important, so make sure that you embrace some good techniques when selecting one.
2) Embrace Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is another very important design feature to consider when you’re developing your site. For many entrepreneurs, this is seldom done correctly. Search engine optimization for your site means that Google’s web crawlers, which are sometimes called spiders, will be easily able to crawl through the content of your page and index it for Google search results. Sites that are optimized correctly for Google will show up with a higher search ranking when a customer is looking for a particular service.
Optimizing your site this way is definitely something that needs to be done at the beginning stages of design. While many consider that optimizing your text is the best way to market your page, simple text is often not quite enough. It takes top-down organization to make your site easy to index and have the right type of structure.
You need to be sure that your business is well-represented on your site; effectively, your business’s information needs to be posted, your services need to be well-outlined, and your page needs to be correctly organized so that your customers can easily find what they need (Google’s spiders can recognize this as well).
Your page needs to have good indexation, which means that everything has to be readable via text because the spiders can’t quite recognize the value of images or video. This isn’t to say that these features don’t have value for your overall marketability, but when it comes to search engine optimization, they are a little less valuable.
Therefore, your site should have things like web fonts and clearly label what it is you do so that the web crawler can properly index your site.
In addition to this, for your site to have the best performance when it comes to Google’s web crawlers, you should also have great HTML coding. HTML is the basis of just about everything on the web, and Google’s web crawlers definitely look at the HTML of your site when they search. Some content management systems do much of the HTML for you, but the automatically generated content can have errors that can confuse web crawlers, so you should always:
- Manage and delete any unnecessary div files
- Achieve the proper balance of HTML to Text ratio – typically, between 25 and 75 percent works well
- Manually check all of your heading tags and ensure that your meta title is correct
- Check for any coding errors – there are auditing tools can help you with this
3) Use the Right Hosting Service
This is another aspect of website design that tends to be overlooked. If your site is slow or has a lot of downtimes, you’re simply going to lose out when it comes to lead generation and conversions. With this in mind, select a service that is known for stability. Here are some features that you should look for:
- Your host should be designed to work well with your content management system. If you’re planning on using a standard CMS like WordPress, then there are several excellent hosting service options out there that tailor to the platform.
- It should have good server uptimes because, if your site is down for extended periods, then you’re losing out on conversions. No hosting service can provide 100 percent uptime, but you should definitely try to find a host that has a history of uptimes in the high 90s. Even 99 percent uptime leaves some room for improvement.
- As you might expect, slow performance is a conversion-killer. Hosting services that use shared bandwidth for their customers can cause your site to experience slower overall speeds. Nothing will drive a potential customer away faster than a page that runs slowly during peak hours. While hosting services that have more bandwidth and RAM might cost you a little more, the potential lead conversion possibilities make the investment worthwhile.
4) You’ll Need a Good CMS
A content management system is needed in order for you to build your site. The CMS that you select will greatly affect just about every level of your website design, so choose wisely. These days, there are hundreds to choose from, but we highly recommend WordPress.
- WordPress: WordPress is the most popular content management system out there for good reason. It started out as a blogging platform, but its inherent ease of use made it perfect for building sites. WordPress is also a great option because many hosting services are setup to run WordPress sites, so you can expect a good overall level of performance.Additionally, Google plays well with WordPress because of its wired in a way that the web crawlers can easily read. WordPress also has great options for overall customizability; you can build the look and feel of your site with over 2,000 themes and tweak its overall performance with over 36,000 plug-ins.
5) Refine Your Links
For the sake of indexation, your site should have internal links that Google’s web crawlers can find and crawl. Internal links will point to a target that exists on the same domain that the link is located on. For example, your internal link can be used to navigate different pages on your site, or it can be used to help your users navigate the page’s hierarchy. Moz has a great guide on internal links and how to use them in the most optimized format on your page.
For the sake of the spiders, you should have easily findable search engine directives, tools like XML sitemaps, and you should avoid duplicate content. In any situation, you want your page to be easily navigable by Google’s web crawlers. In fact, if this seems like a lot of work, there are even some tools out there that can ensure that your page is easily crawled by any search engine.
6) Your Site Needs to Be as Responsive as Possible
When designing your site, one of the best tools for your online marketing will be how responsive your site is. When a visitor is browsing your site on different devices, there are few things that’ll drive them away as fast as content that loads unevenly or slowly.
With this in mind, it’s smart to develop the design of your site so that it can respond to the different screen sizes that are becoming more commonplace in today’s world. This means that your page shouldn’t be hard to read and navigate, even if your users are surfing on a Smart TV, laptop, mobile phone, or tablet.
One of the most important features of your site’s performance will be responsive web design, so you’ll need things like:
- Adaptive Images: Having images that adapt to the user’s screen will allow them to scale properly. These effectively set a percentage to your image’s size so that it can easily adapt to the container that it’s hosted in.
- Responsive Images: If you want your site to rank well on Google’s search engines, then your images will need to be responsive. This means that they will change in size based on the user’s connection speeds. This allows users on slower connections to experience a similar image load time as those on the faster connections. One of the technologies that can accomplish this on your site is a Jquery solution like HISRC.
- Media Queries: This allows you to add rules that can work specifically for different types of devices that will grow or move your content so that your users can have a better overall experience.
7) Never Forget Keywords
Keywords are at the center of search engine optimization-based online marketing. If you start with a stable design structure, you’ll find that establishing a sound keyword strategy will be relatively easy. Since Google implemented its EMD update, keywords are best left for the internal aspects of your site, not in places like the domain. That being said, you can use keyword targeting to establish a functional hierarchy in the subdomains.
In addition to this, always use keywords within the content of your page. This doesn’t mean that you should simply stuff your page with keywords and hope for stronger search engine optimization; you should use your keywords organically. A good practice is to include your keywords in header tags and in the opening and closing paragraphs of your articles.
Also, many businesses neglect using synonyms and alternatives to the selected keywords, but these are very useful for the web crawlers. Finally, the appearance of keywords in the structure of the page is a very useful strategy. Effectively, this means including the keyword in the alt text of images and in your URLs.
8) Use Heading Tags
You probably understand by now that text is king when it comes to internet marketing and site search optimization. Another step you can take in improving your site’s text is using heading tags. Typically, these work to form a hierarchy and structure in a document on your page; h1 tags are the largest, h2 tags fall in the middle, and h3 tags are the smallest.
These tags help categorize your content; you can use them to point to certain information on your page or you can use them as natural start points for your content. In any case, using them in your design will help your users find content quickly and will help the web crawlers understand the structure of your page.
It’s crucial to actually align the heading tags with the visual hierarchy of your site. This means that you start the title of your page with an h1 or h2 tag. Then subheaders can use heading tags that are somewhat smaller.
9) Use the Best Images and Icons Possible
While Google doesn’t have its web crawlers detecting images on your site, there is still a lot of value to having the right images for your users. How can this be the case? Well, take a look at your Google search page; one of the main search options is “image.” Google image search parameters can be used just like its standard search parameters. For example, say you’re running a dental office; you can certainly optimize the images on your site to be recognizable by Google image search.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Name the image appropriately so that it’s clearly described. For example, rather than 051236.jpg, change your file name to dental_office.jpg. This small amount of description makes it easier for the image that your page is hosting to be found by Google.
- Change the image’s alt tag to something that is descriptive of the image’s content. Alt tags are an alt attribute for an image tag. The alt tag will describe any image on your site; in fact, alt tags are designed to be used by screen readers to describe the images on your site to blind users. Google created an article that promoted creating good alt text because its spiders CAN read the alt text when they are crawling through your site. For this reason, it’s helpful to use a focus keyword in the alt text of your images.
- Make Your Images Shareable: You can use the Open Graph protocol, which was introduced by Facebook in 2010 and allows your image to be used in social shares on both that platform and Twitter. In addition to this, you can also add Twitter Cards to your images so that they can be used similarly on that platform. Social media presents a massive opportunity for your business and adding these protocols to your site can definitely drive conversions.
- Keep Your File Sizes Tight: Larger images may have startling resolutions, but those massive files will slow down your page load times. For this reason, try to optimize your images so that they look good but also will load faster.
- Icons instead of text: For a great UX, you can also consider using icons rather than text in some areas of your site. While text is definitely still king when it comes to web crawlers, the occasional icon on your site is fairly useful when you’re trying to lead customers to convert.
10) Information Architecture and Structure are A Great Tool for Marketing
Keeping your page well-organized is one of the hallmarks of responsive web design. Information architecture is a tool used by web designers to increase the usability of your site and also enhance the findability of any of the information that you have hosted there. Web pages can be very complex, which is why the first step that you should take in boosting your online marketing presence is to make that information more easily navigated by web crawlers and your users.
- The user experience: This breaks down into usability. Web crawlers don’t actually use your site; they just catalog and index its information. That being said, user experience (UX) is one of the factors of a site that is considered by Google’s search algorithms for page ranking.
- In addition to the search value, your users need to be able to feel comfortable using your site, which is where the user experience (UX) comes in. Typically, the UX of a site exists right where the information architecture and the user interface (UI) meet. The UX is different for each site, but optimally, you want to create a wireframe design of your site that maps the page levels of the site.
- In addition to this, your site’s structure should be clearly defined so that your users can quickly navigate anywhere on your page within four clicks or so. Finally, walk your customers through the conversion process. You’re running a business on your page, so it should feel natural for your users to “walk” through your site and make purchases.
- Organizing your info so that it’s findable: Web crawlers typically can take time to fully index your site, so you really want to ensure that they can find everything with relative ease. This means that your information needs to be ordered succinctly because that will cause your content to rank higher and be more easily discovered. Additionally, go for simplicity; your content should be designed to be easily discoverable and navigated. This applies to content for both web crawlers and users.
Web sites are complex by their very nature and many people get a lot of the best digital marketing practices right, but there’s always room to improve. Remember, when you’re looking to have the best conversion rates, design is your best friend. Always plan your page from the ground up to embrace Google search, responsiveness, and ease of navigation, and you’ll see the success that you desire.
In order to have the best possible design experience, contact us at Create the Movement. We are a conversion-centric digital marketing agency that has designers and developers on-staff that understand the marketing process and can help your site convert the right way.
CREATE THE MOVEMENT LLC
1502 S Boulder Ave #206
Tulsa, OK 74119