How Companies Should Approach New Website Design
When a company decides to hire a design firm to develop a new website, there are a growing number of critical items to consider. The main objective should always be to meet a specific list of business goals. Whether the company simply wants to inform the public of their services, or provide a full suite of business tools, modern websites are like the motor of a car.
This website “motor” has several moving parts that each serve a specific purpose in order to move the car with the utmost efficiency. If any of the components are weak or failing, the car will not operate to its fullest capacity. The power train of the online “motor”, or website, are structure, attractive and efficient design and proper keywords and phrases.
Modern websites should be built upon a solid structure that not only supports the goals of the business, but also flows in the most natural way possible. Doing so not only keeps web visitors engaged, but also promotes the best search ranking possible. Google, Bing, Yahoo and others expect well designed websites to follow certain procedures and formatting. This approach will create a readable presence with sections defined by code, fonts and layout.
For example, if all written web content uses a single style definition, the search engines cannot tell the difference between once segment, and another. Section titles, or topics, need to begin with a header that describes and summarizes the subject matter to follow. The process of following this approach of content organization will also aid the reader. They will have the ability to quickly scan the page and choose which areas to focus upon. Keeping the attention of web visitors is getting more and more challenging. We’re fond of telling clients that you have about ten seconds to capture the attention of visitors to their site. With so much content instantly available, web surfing choices are abundant.
Next, websites need to be optimized. The search engines reward well designed websites that use little bandwidth, have optimized images and code, are mobile ready, and has fast hosting servers. The reward is seen in terms of search ranking results. The more planning that is in place from the project start, the more these parameters will deliver successful results.
Sites that use less bandwidth have compresses images that don’t end with a simple .JPG. All web pictures should be web optimized, which maintains the highest quality possible while delivering the smallest amount of data possible. In addition, website photos should have natural names and Alt Code settings. Doing so not only delivers a speedier experience, but also is rewarded by the search engines.
It is a must that your new website be mobile ready. This year Google is placing a high importance on this single factor. Recognizing that mobile website usage can now exceed that coming from desktops and laptops, delivering a good experience is essentially required. Here in Loudoun County, Virginia, business websites can expect to receive an average of 40% mobile use. This number is now simply too large to ignore. Some of our Leesburg and Purcellville website development customers enjoy upwards of 75% of all traffic stemming from smart phones and tablets.
Your website visitors should no longer be expected to zoom into your page(s) and hunt for items. Instead, the site should be rendered in such a way that it can support any device, whether 2.5″ across, or 36″ across. When rendered on smart phones, your website should automatically recognize the brand, model and size. When doing so, it should display the text and image content in a vertically aligned fashion. This allows the user to simply scroll down the page to consume your messages. At the same time, a list of pages can be accessed in drop down manner. Mobile users expect not to hunt for your page names, it just a bad experience.
Another factor held in high regard by the search engines is website file serving speed. The faster your web host, the higher likelihood of gaining optimal search ranking. While value oriented web hosting costs less than $100 per year, it also means that your sharing the server CPU with up to seven other websites. Wicked Design uses Virtual Private Servers that scale to meet the needs of website activity. Using fault tolerant hard drives, and scalable RAM, your ensured to have optimal performance no matter the traffic. We also manage all hosting requirements upon request with an hourly fee. Learn more about our hosting here: http://wickedesign.com/web-technology.
Research tells us that use images and photos are responsible for upwards of 85% retention rates of your content. Text content retention comes in much lower, averaging around 15%. While we don’t recommend replacing all of the written word, we do suggest the strategic use of imagery. This comes down to a good plan for design. Image topics and placements should be considered at the start of the website development project. Photos that are embedded within written content not only make for an attractive presentation, but also can help with visitors remembering facts about your site, and more importantly, your brand.
Optimizing Websites for Search
If your company does not sell products and services globally, then you should likely focus your web strategy on selling local. This means that your written content should reference cities, counties and towns that surround your business. If you sell bagels in Maryland, you had better make generous use of the word. In addition, if you operate in the southern part of the state, you should also include Frederick, Bethesda, Baltimore and Hagerstown, and Rockville. Neglecting the use of appropriate geographic regions can keep your search rankings lower than you’d like, much lower. There are right, and wrong ways, to approach this. The search engines have a particular set of rules to follow, most of which they do not provide to you. Published research is one of the best ways to stay on top of the expectations of search engines.
Your text website content should also be written to the expectation of web visitors, not yours. This crucial step requires the business owner, and / or web designer, to step back and think about how web visitors think, and search. For example, you could say “Our sandwiches rock, and you will like them”. In reality, this will never be a search term used by a potential customer to find your restaurant. Instead, their search will be “Where can I find tasty sandwiches near me?”. Therefore, text that is written to align with potential searches will go much further in terms of gaining click-throughs to your site. Perhaps you could write “We offer delicious, made to order deli sandwiches in Ashburn, Herndon and Reston”. Therefore even the written text of your new website should be structured in the most impactful way possible.
While this section of the blog post merely scratches the surface of optimizing websites, it does provide a good starting point, and framing. At Wicked Design, we take the time to apply all of these methodologies in helping your business to grow. In the end, a well designed website will result in more calls and visits from customers. Want proof? You found this article.
Is your business ready for a new website that will attract more visitors? Then Contact Us for a free quote. Our Client list is proof in the pudding. Wicked Design serves the northern Virginia area including Maryland, Fairfax and Loudoun Counties, and the metro Washington DC area. 703-470-6029.