It’s no secret that the best websites are those that cater to both the consumer and the search-engine crawlers. Form and substance are both necessary, with neither being sufficient. Looks shouldn’t be sacrificed for content, and vice versa. Sometimes it can be hard to know exactly what constitutes as form with Google’s ever-changing algorithm. However, there are a few cardinal rules in web design that should never be violated. These are three of them. Your users and SEO will thank you, and then you can thank us.
Mistake 1: Embedding Large Media
When we tell you to keep the big picture in mind, we’re not being literal. We often have clients request flashy video headers. While beautiful and engaging when tastefully executed, large media files should be used sparingly, if at all. Make no mistake, your pictures should be crystal clear, but this can be achieved without hampering load time. Ensure your team knows that opting for the highest-resolution images and HD video throughout the site will likely have a negative effect on the time visitors spend on your site, and, therefore, the conversion rate.
Mistake 2: Missing Mobile Optimization
Roughly two-thirds of consumers visit a site for the first time on their mobile device. This isn’t a conscious effort, but the modern-day client and customer is always on the go. Whether waiting in line while running errands or checking in with email between high-powered business meetings, most everyone with buying power has a smartphone within their reach the majority of their waking hours. It is a costly error to not ensure that a brand’s mobile version of the site is tailored specifically to the smaller screens of smartphones and tablets.
While some brands choose to develop a mobile app to cover their mobile-bases, this is not necessary in all cases. A mobile app is not simply a mobile-friendly version of the site. Many steps can be taken to improve the user’s mobile experience. Consider the above example of loading speed. This is especially prevalent to users who are operating on a 3G network when not connected to wifi. Google and your customers will both penalize a brand in equal measure to how much longer than normal they have to wait for a page to load.
Mistake 3: Popups are Out
Popups were once a popular, flashy method of ensuring a user saw a brand’s call-to-action to sign up for an email list, take note of a sale, etc. However, that fad has come and gone, and Google is penalizing brands slow on the uptake. User experience and Google’s organic search algorithm are often analogous to the chicken-and-the-egg parable. The case of popups on their way out is no different.
Users react negatively to their user experience being interrupted by a popup that requires them to x out before even noting the content of the site itself. Because of this, Google penalizes sites with popups. Because Google penalizes sites with popups, they are relegated to later search engine results pages (SERPs), so consumers put less stock in them and spend less time browsing, if they make it that far in the SERPS at all.
Consumers are demanding better than a gimmicky, gaudy vying for their attention. Give the people what they want with intuitive navigation, eye-catching graphics, concise copy, and clear calls to action throughout the site.
While far from a comprehensive list of mistakes developers and brands make when designing their websites, these few tips are sure to set you off on the right track. Good luck, and if you’d like additional advice tailored to your brand and business, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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