Too many businesses get in their own way when it comes to their website through bad design. Bad design isn’t always the ‘terrible graphics, too many primary colours’ kind. Often, it’s the ‘we spent thousands on this and we’re not going to change it for anything’ kind.
Design can be a blessing and a curse for a website, and can ease or trip up your SEO. A design that appeals to the eye at first glance will not necessarily be very functional. Usually, a design that seems sparse at first glance will prove to be functional. Most sites try for a balance between aesthetics and functionality.
Design isn’t all about appearances. If you’re approaching search engine optimisation on an existing site, there’s not a lot you will want to do to your aesthetics, but much you can do about structure. Content placement can make a big difference to the experience users have on your site. Clarity in content and navigation also ensures search engine spiders crawl the places on your site you want them to. Talk to us at SEO Consult about how to structure your site for search engine crawlers.
A part of user-friendly design, of course, is page size. This will affect the loading time of your pages. Many sites needlessly upload large images and resize on the page. Re-sizing the images before they are uploaded can drastically alter loading times and improve your user experience.
A lot of time is spent on the design of a site’s home page. Home pages are important because they act as the front of a website, often doing what a store window does for retail in real life. The difference is that a pretty home page just isn’t good enough to get customers in when it comes to the net. The content focus of the internet means that looking pretty will only get a site so far. A home page also needs to be informative, invoke trust and easy to digest. These can seem like high aspirations for what is really the gateway to the real body of your site, but they do need to be kept in mind when creating content for your home page.
Google itself provides a good case study for design. The home page for Google is clean and white, with the logo taking up the next major bit of space, a search box and two lines of navigation. The site uses a very plain font, and puts the important stuff in the most easily accessible places. Also, no scrolling is required.
The next step into the site, which is the search engine results page that people more commonly see, is still relatively uncluttered. Google, which makes its money from advertisements, runs one line of obvious ads down the right hand side, with a bar of around three at the top as well, but not all the time. Not every search returns lines of ads.
The search engine provides things to keep in mind when thinking about how your site can appeal to users. The ease with which everything can be found on Google is one of the reasons the search engine has stayed strong for so long. The site also allows a bit of humour now and then with its holiday logo updates. A design like Google’s won’t work for every site, of course, but it provides some food for thought.
Content courtesy of SEO Consult