Ten years ago, the common things we see on websites are frames, navigation bars (that we still need to scroll up and down, left and right), blinking graphics, moving texts, huge images as backgrounds, etc.
Some of us who created websites in the past ten years will probably feel guilty as to why we neglected the principles of design and the user-friendliness of a web site.
There are two very important things you have to consider when designing a website: Users and Search Engines.
A Website should be designed for Users
- Download speed. If you are planning to create a website for ecommerce purposes, be sure that your website loads faster than 4 seconds. Otherwise, say goodbye to your hard-earned traffic.How can you make sure that your website loads fast? Stay away from adding a large, high quality photo as a background image. Do not design your site through Flash as not all of your users use high speed broadband. Do not add too many pictures or videos and music that auto-plays.
- Easy Navigation. The best thing you do before you start creating a website is to make a blueprint or a floorplan of your website. Create a sitemap for you to better organize your site pages and landing pages.Users love ease and not getting lost. If, however, they searched for something that is not in your site, create a lovely 404 page that will tell them that they’re lost and lead them how to go back to your home page or in the previous page they visited. Each page should look the same as your content so they wouldn’t think they’re moved to another site.Your navigation bar should also be seen in the upper fold of the website so it can easily be seen. Also, don’t stuff your navigation bar with buttons, too; keep it to a maximum of eight.
- Matching theme colors. Do not be tempted to use just any color just because you can. Keep in mind that colors can either invite your customers to read on your material or drive them away. A bright red background hurts the eyes. A dark background may appear too lousy and gloomy that discourages customers to make a purchasing decision. Learn the art of color psychology.
- Place well-researched, informative content. Nothing beats well-written sales copy. If you have to hire content writers to come up with a material, you can always do so.
- Make your Contact Page visible. Your contact page is one of your landing pages because this will help you gain leads and future clients. Make sure it works so you can capture each and every lead that comes to your site. Make it inviting because it is your doorway to increasing your sales.
A Website should be Designed for Search Engines
- Include correct, appropriate Meta data. This includes your Meta title, Meta description, and keywords which we can place in the HTML code of the site. Your meta data represents your website or site pages in the search results after a query related to your content is done. This is also one of the best places to add your company at the Title because it promotes branding.
- Create and Submit an XML Site Map. There are tons of sitemap generators in the Internet today which are for free and all you have to do (most especially if your pages are already well-organized) is to add your URL, copy, and submit it to search engines. This will help search engines crawl to your pages and index them accordingly.
- Customize your URLs. Always use words in the URL instead of numbers or parameters (like ?p=123) as this helps in indexing.
- Use CSS. CSS helps organize and simplify your code. Because of this, your website or blog is quick to load which helps both users and search engines have easy access to your site.
- Images should have alternative texts. Search engines haven’t developed a skill to crawl pixels yet. If you are trying to rank for such images, it is recommended that you use alt. texts to provide for a worded description of your images which can now be read by bots.
- Research the right keywords for your website. Use Google Adwords or Wordtracker to research for keywords to optimize your web content.
Always remember these two huge principles as you create a website as this will pave your way to your online success. What else would you add?