Your website is one of the most valuable members of your marketing team, working around the clock to ensure that your customers can find your products and services. There are so many factors that go into how your site will rank on the search engines results pages, from your design to your site’s performance and your font choice. Understanding how your website development team creates the most optimal site for your both your customer and the search engines is the best way to create an amazing website that gets results.
The Web is a visual place, and with billions of pieces of content competing for your customer’s attention, the most appealing visuals win every time. Your reader will make a judgment about your business after only a few seconds on your website, so creating a visually appealing website is vital to your business. Trust, more than anything else, drivers consumer behavior, so if you want your readers to buy from you, they have to trust you. If your website development is poorly designed, is difficult to navigate or is rife with grammatical or spelling errors, you will lose them to your competitor.
Branding and Theme
There are certain feelings you want to convey with your site. If your brand is aspirational, as found in real estate, luxury clothing brands or high end products, you want the site to convey a high-end appearance through colors, font choice and images. If your brand is fun, casual and cool, the attitude should shine through, dominating the site. Users want more than just your content—they want an experience. Providing that will keep them coming back again and again.
Another website development trend is the use of colorless design. Many websites are using white space to their advantage, going minimalist with color or using it sparsely in design. Others include elements that appear black and white but switch to color when the user clicks on it. Readers love how clean this appears and spend more time lingering on the site, which helps your search engine optimization.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization is the art and science of having your website appear as high as possible in search engine results pages. There is a direct correlation between good website development and search engine optimization. The search engines simply don’t like poorly designed websites and they won’t suggest them to searchers. A well-designed site with easy navigation, stunning visual imagery and high-quality content is vital for your SEO and will prompt the search engines to suggest your site to users time and again. Search engines look for several factors when they decide which sites to deliver to readers.
Your website design must be easy to navigate if you want the search engines to suggest it to your potential customers. That means placing a navigation bar in a predictable place and having predictable pages. Home, About Us, Contact, Services and Pricing are the most common headers.
With the majority of Web users accessing your site from their mobile phones, if your website is not mobile responsive, your search engine ranking will tank. The search engines will ding you and you will find your site move further down until they’re no longer featured on the front page. When your site is mobile responsive, the layout adjusts based on the screen its being viewed on. If the user is accessing your site from a tablet, a mobile-responsive site will adjust to that screen size. If they’re using their phones, all of the content shrinks to fit. If your site is not mobile responsive, your readers will get frustrated with being unable to access your content and go elsewhere.
Making your website design accessible is another way to increase your site’s SEO ranking. By building accessibility options into the design, you can make your site easy to navigate for people who are visually impaired. There are several ways to do this.
- Create audio text of the site’s written content
- Make the site keyboard-friendly
- Add alt-text to your images
- Choose your colors carefully
- Avoid autoplay videos or music
Integration with Social Media
Linking your site with your social media accounts will help to connect your readers to interactive content, communicate with your company and make them loyal to your brand. By linking your social media accounts to your website, you can easily share content across platforms and turn your customers into your own personal marketing team. They will gladly share your products and services with their networks, growing your business.
Social media accounts also add credibility to your business through social proof. When your customers visit your site, they may read your testimonials, but there is no greater impact than seeing real people rave about your products, share stories about your services and post their photos enjoying your business online. In addition, you can use these platforms to increase your keyword reach, boosting your SEO.
Being available to your customer 24/7 is vital in the cutthroat world of online business. Having an agent available to answer a question can make the difference between gaining and losing a sale. Most small businesses, however, do not have the budget for around the clock staff. Enter the chatbot. Your chatbot is an automated customer service agent who can answer questions, make product recommendations and solve common customer problems. Because most customers ask the same questions over and over, it is easy to program your chatbot to answer the most frequently asked questions. Chatbots also help with your website’s SEO. The more a customer lingers on your site, chatting and asking questions, the better your rankings.
If you want to take your website design a step farther, consider integrating an AI (artificial intelligence) chat system that uses empathy and intelligence to deliver a more authentic experience. Your AI chatbot speaks in a conversational manner, responding with information based on the customer’s input. These AI bots are preferable to live human agents because they can research and deliver answers faster, handle multiple calls at once and respond within seconds to customer inquiries.
Your chatbot can handle IT issues, ordering, ticketing, marketing and CRM. If there is an issue that your chatbot cannot handle, you can program the system to escalate the issue to a live agent, drastically cutting costs.
Speed and Performance
Website speed is a key element of website design, and performance and has a heavy affect on your SEO. If your site takes too long to load, your readers will go elsewhere for their content. Studies have shown that readers will wait, on average, about three seconds for your page to load, at which one point they will give up. If this happens too much, the search engines will start penalizing you with lower rankings.
Downtime is an SEO killer for your website development. When the search engine’s crawlers visit your site and it’s down, they get an error message that tells them that your site is no longer in operation. If the Googlebot sees that your site is down frequently, it will crawl your site less and less until you completely drop out of the to 20 rankings. All of your hard work will have been in vain, and you will be penalized, even when your site is up and running again. When you are searching for a hosting provider, be sure to inquire about uptime and downtime rates. Website design is more than simply having vibrant images and content, your site needs to be functional as well.
Google has launched a new initiative that prioritizes mobile-friendly sites, using the mobile version of websites for ranking and indexing purposes. This is vital to your website development. Remember that we said that having a mobile-responsive site was vital for SEO and rankings? With this new roll out, mobile-responsiveness has become a necessity, not a “nice to have.” If your website has separate URLs for desktop and mobile, Google will deliver the correct version to your user, based on their device. Google decides which websites to move to mobile-first indexing based on a number of factors including links, images, captions and alt-text.
When website designers start thinking of the best ways to make your site stand out from the competition, the typography’s effect on SEO is usually the last thing that they consider when it comes to website development. The truth is, however, the typography of your website can affect your rankings. If your reader can’t read your fonts—either they’re too small, the wrong color or difficult to read on mobile, they will surf away from your website, affecting your SEO rankings. When a user goes to your site and immediately goes back to Google, it’s called a “bounce back” and this will definitely hurt your SEO rank. Consider typography when planning your website design.
While using expressive fonts can make your website design stand out, consider their readability. A site that is hard to read can harm your rankings and make your page less visible to searchers.
Up to Date Code/Framework
The web is dynamic, constantly changing every day, and it is important to keep your website’s code and framework up to date. Your website development team will occasionally check your website to ensure that the code is up to date. If your site is built in WordPress, for example, the site will occasionally send out updates to fix security glitches. If your website development team is not updating your code, you may find your site being ignored by the search engines. In addition, if you don’t update your code, you may find your website and your website design the target of hackers. Your website development team will back your site up to the cloud so you will not miss any of your important content.
Website Trends for 2021
For years, sans serif fonts have been in vogue with website designers, and have been the go-to website design tool for websites across the spectrum. The big website design trend for 2021 is using the elegant font families for headlines, image captions and written content. Expect to see more of this in the upcoming months. Some of the more popular font families include the Georgia and Times and the lesser known Portrait.
Use of Emojis
Emojis, once thought the purview of teen texters and casual social media communications, have come into popular uses across industries. Expect to see the thumbs up, smiling face and laugh-cry emoji on your banking websites, veterinarian’s homepage and on popular blog pages in website design. While it used to be taboo to use emojis in business settings, these images have become more mainstream and widely accepted as an additional form of communication across the board.
Hover Gallery Images
A twist on the traditional navigation bar, the hover gallery allows users to hover the mouse over the navigation header (Home, About, Contact, Pricing) and have a representative image appear. Website design teams are jumping on this trend, creating a truly fun and interactive experience for the user. These images give the reader a sneak peek into what they can expect when they click on the link.
More cost-effective than photography, illustrations are having a moment with companies both large and small. A nod to the black and white comic-like newspapers illustrations of years past, website illustrations are a fun website design trend that makes websites pop. Illustrations break up blocks of text and draw the reader’s attention.
Meeting the desire for customers to have better visuals of the products they’re purchasing, e-tailers are moving toward 3D visual imagery in order to sell their merchandise. These 360 views show all angles of the product, zoom in on detail and can even deliver a virtual try-on, using the customer’s image as the model. Combined with high resolution, this trend gives customers the wealth of information they need to make a purchasing decision. As one of the hottest new trends for 2021, the 3D visual trend is only expected to grow.
When it comes to designing a website that will not only attract your target client but the search engines as well, keeping up with the website design factors that make up the perfect site is key. By keeping your website running smoothly, making sure your code and framework are updated, creating new content and designing your site for readability, you can enjoy high search engine rankings and keep your customers coming back again and again.
D2 Branding provides exceptional website design and development services in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the surrounding areas. For a complimentary 15-minute marketing consultation with D2 Branding, call us today at (918) 520-8012.