There are a lot of elements involved in website design these days. The focus on user experience and keeping site visitors engaged and on-page is taking a front seat. User experience alone has numerous variables that need to be integrated for maximum conversions. "In essence, user experience measures the quality of site interactions, which in turn measures the quantity of site success and conversions," Casey Weisbach of Forbes explained. "An increasing number of businesses are finding the value gained from investing in user experience as part of their digital marketing strategy."
If you are developing a website, the following website design priorities are a must to consider. These strategies are important, and could boost Google rankings, visitors, and those coveted sales.
1. SEO Needs To Be A Priority
Organic search rankings are vital to the growth and success of a website. This makes search engine optimization, SEO, a priority during website design. Having SEO part of your website design strategy can also reduce your need for paid ads, since you will rank higher on SERPs organically.
"Yet all too often, businesses don't think about SEO until after having a website designed (or redesigned), and these sites are often sadly lacking on the SEO and digital marketing front," Marcus Miller of Search Engine Land explained.
There are a lot of elements to search engine optimization, like keyword implementation, on-page tactics, readability, meta data, and more. SEO is also off-page too. To increase your site's online visibility, you need to consider link building to your top website pages and keyword anchor texts.
2. Implement Robust Informative Content On-Page
Content is very much still king, making content development a big time priority for your website design strategy. When creating web pages, it is essential to ensure the content is long-form and detailed, as well as answering key questions website visitors want answers to when visiting your website. Experts recommend filling in the page with a lot of content. For example, 2,000 to 2,500 words has been found to take up more reality on Google's first page. Think about how you can extend your content and make each web page naturally filled in with informative text.
One of the best ways to build a powerful website is to serve up actionable advice via your content. What does actionable actually mean? This is a style of writing that goes very deep into detail. It not only answers a site visitor's question, but also show the visitor how to do something. For example, if you are showing a user how to navigate and easily use your software service on your website, be sure to have plenty of actionable content to guide them. Content also does not need to be text. You can use optimized and embedded videos on your website showing screen share and how-to details.
3. Site Speed Is A Website Design Must
Designing a website involves much more than just throwing a theme on WordPress and waiting for traffic to roll in. It has become part design, part user experience, and part SEO. In the middle of all these factors is site speed, making it a site development priority. By designing a website with site speed in mind, you are ensuring that Google loves the site, and that users can access the site information fast, and without fail. For instance, using a shared server could potentially cause speed issues, since the website will be sharing disk space and other key server components with other websites parked on the same server.
To mitigate this risk, have a server plan that makes sense when it comes to site speed. A virtual private server can be helpful in this space. VPS hosting is now very affordable and keeps site speed a priority for you. If you are not sure how well your website is performing in the speed department, run a speed test using Google PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom. This can give you helpful tips on what needs to be optimized for optimal website speed, and help you make a decision on hosting upgrades.
4. Keep Mobile Responsiveness In Mind
More searches are happening on mobile devices than ever before. In fact, nearly 60 percent of all searches are happening via mobile. What does this mean for website design? It is imperative to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly and responsive.
According to Google Developers, "The desktop version of a site might be difficult to view and use on a mobile device. The version that's not mobile-friendly requires the user to pinch or zoom in order to read the content. Users find this a frustrating experience and are likely to abandon the site. Alternatively, the mobile-friendly version is readable and immediately usable."
This can be as simple as starting with a mobile responsive theme. There are plenty of themes now that have this time-saving feature, allowing your site to display correctly on any size device, like the different screen sizes of an iPhone or Android flagship model for instance.
5. There Needs To Be An Emphasis On User Experience
User experience is a big time buzzword in the digital marketing space these days. If you are not familiar with user experience, or commonly called UX, stop designing your website and do a bit of research. User experience is much more than technical back-end tactics, like optimizing page load time. It is also heavily linked to how users navigate your website and the ease of use in which users do it.
For example, have your main website menu clearly visible with all your primary pages available for users to browse and click through. You also need to ensure there are plenty of call to action (CTA) buttons in place. This leads site visitors on the journey you want them to go through. Engagement with your website also plays a role. You want to be sure users can easily navigate and engage with your site content. This increases time on page and can have a significant impact in your organic Google rankings. Think user experience, and you will be rewarded by your audience, as well as Google.
6. Have Trackable Metrics In Place
How do you know if your website design and development efforts are paying off? By tracking data and analytics. A website is never done. There are always tweaks to be made, whether capitalizing on new industry keywords using landing pages, or optimizing for speed.
"There are hundreds of different ways you can increase retention and conversions, but before you do that, you have to figure out what metrics you should be trying to improve," Neil Patel explained.
To know what tweaks need to be made, you will need to track metrics using data from Google Analytics, or other platforms available online. Set metrics like two second site speed and 100 conversions per week, track them, and adjust your site until you hit your metric goals. And once you have made those important tweaks, be sure to track them as well. You may find that some tweaks simply do not work as you theorized, so it could be back to the drawing board. Website design is definitely not a one-time, set it and forget it type of thing.
There are definitely a lot of essential website design priorities you need to have at the forefront during development. The above five are only the tip of the iceberg, but among the most important. Implementing them into your development strategy is a great first step toward design and launch success.
From SEO and site speed to user experience and tracking metrics for further tweaks, make the most of your website's potential from the start. Website design is no longer a singular thing. It involves a number of factors from multiple digital marketing assets. What is your top website design priority?