Once you have your website up and running, you’re good to go right?
I mean, you took my advice and you don’t have ads all over the place or pop-ups. That is a fantastic first step!
Keep in mind however that you’ll always want to be on the offensive making sure you have a great quality website design.
I can’t stress enough that it is important to have a gооd quality website design. While design quality can be subjective, there are standards out there on the web to make sure that sites that are included in the search engine index fall within a certain minimum criteria.
If they fail to fall within the acceptable range, they will be removed from the index and good luck getting traffic from any of the search engines, often the holy grail of website traffic.
Bing, Google, and Yahoo (and other search engines) evaluate your design as well as your brand when it comes to indexing. There are a few basic elements that you should always include to make sure you don’t end up on the naughty list.
So if you're working on search engine optimization, then you'll need to work on your visual design as well.
When we talk about elements, we’re taking about fonts, graphics, colors, and branding. Branding includes your logo. You need to take these elements and make them work together cohesively in the most important areas of your website.
Add Styles to Theme (Instead of Pages)
In web design, there are these wonderful programming language files call Cascading Style Sheets (or CSS). This is what makes your website look the way that it does. It affects the colors, fonts, and so much more. It can even effect how your website appears on different browsers and monitor sizes (mobile phones anyone?).
CSS can help with creating a responsive design. It's a relatively easy coding language that is easy to learn. You don't need a web development degree to increase your skills!
Not all designers know how to use CSS, and most solopreurs don’t either. It’s never a bad idea to learn the basics. At the very least, you should be using your theme as much as possible to make style changes instead of using a page builder for everything.
Next, we need to chat about color. When it comes to color, everyone has different preferences. Women prefer tints (colors with white mixed in) and men tend to prefer shades (colors with black mixed in).
When it comes to your color choices, it may make a difference in sales or goals. There have been studies that show that people have different reactions to various colors.
While there isn’t a universally liked color, we do associate certain colors with certain emotions. And how you use colors can make a huge difference in your conversion rates.
Sometimes certain colors will affect conversion rates by helping your call to action stand out. Sometimes colors can affect the trust factor of your branding. You want to make sure that your colors are consistent with your business and give off the right vibe.
What about those images and graphics we work so hard to create? Images and graphics are a crucial part of the web design process. Nobody wants to read a wall of text anymore.
Good quality design means using photos in different areas of your design. A picture is worth a thousand words and in today’s landscape of scanning instead of reading, you can’t afford not to include pictures.
Does this mean that you can copy and paste from Google anytime you want? Nope! That would violate copyright laws. You can however find legal graphics in a number of places.
First, you can take your own. If you’re a food blogger, I’d recommend learning to take great photos of the food that you’re creating or consuming. You can take photos with your smartphone (just don’t use the zoom – you can crop or correct them on your computer with photo-editing software).
If you’re not the world’s best photographer, you can always hire one. There are many photographers out there who do product photography. You can even find some Facebook groups where a photographer will take photos of your products in exchange for your product.
There are also stock websites. Some are free and others are paid. With a few well places stock photos, you’d be amazed at the large difference than it makes in creating professional quality design.
Take a minute to learn about the basics of graphic design and you'll be amazed at the results! It will also enhance your social media marketing as well.
Web Design Layout
Next, the layout can make a difference too. Did you know that there are two dominant patterns when it comes to how people read a website?
A number of people use an “F” pattern. In this pattern, their eyes scan the top part of the page, move down on the left side, and then scan across again. Eventually, they stop scanning across and just focus on moving down.
That’s why it’s so important to get your higher and best converting material up at the top of your page when you have the most attention from your website visitor.
The second pattern is the “Z” pattern. People will scan across the top, then diagonal, and then will scan across the page again further down. I like to place images at the corners of the Z in order to maximize exposure to content I believe will convert best.
Page Speed - Oft Overlooked
Finally, we can’t talk about good design without talking about page speed. How exactly does page speed influence design?
When it comes to search engines, they are fans of speed. They don’t want to serve up search results that are going to lead slower than grass grows. Instead, they want fast sites so that the people who are searching on these search engines like Google can get the information they need quickly.
Does your website take more than 5 seconds to load? That’s too long. You need to reevaluate your design to make sure that it’s the most efficient it can be. You may need a better CSS code, smaller graphics, or a different design pattern.
Once your website is snappier, you’ll notice your pages floating further up near the top in the search results, just from a few minor optimizations
To Wrap It Up...
When it comes to web design, there are certain areas that can make or break your design. It's important to make sure that you make intentional choices with things like layout, color, and other parts of your design.
Make sure your website is fast, that you're coding properly (even if you're using a page builder and don't consider yourself a coder), and that your design is optimized in these small ways to appear in the search engine results.