6 ways to optimise your website design
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If you treat your website as a living and breathing part of your business, you'll see there are ways to constantly nurture and refine it to attract customers and boost sales.
Nowadays, people generally start looking for products and services online, and those searches begin with a search engine. That’s why you need to ensure your website design is clear and optimised for the likes of Google. This is called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Here are six ways you can optimise your website to maximise the experience for people and increase your ranking in Google’s search results.
According to a (a search engine optimisation platform) 57% of search traffic is now from people’s mobile phones or tablets. This demonstrates the critical importance of designing your website with mobile top of mind – not as an afterthought that’s just a compression of your desktop designed site.
For a mobile optimised website, you’ll need to keep content concise and easy to scan and scroll through. You may have to abbreviate headings and subheadings to avoid them dominating the whole screen – and remember that a lot of solid text can be very off-putting.
Also bear in mind that a table, diagram or flow chart that looks great on your laptop, may not work on a mobile screen.
Bullet point lists are easier to read and absorb than lists of items in a sentence, and a little white space breaking up text goes a long way. Attention spans are very short, so keep information simple, clear and relevant, and lead with the most important messaging.
Tone of voice is important too. You’ll find some pointers on how to talk to your customers in our 10 marketing tips for your small business article.
It’s better to use navigation to direct readers to additional information, than to cram everything into an excessively long page. Alternatively, design devices such as tabs and accordions can be used to accommodate information at different levels of detail.
In developing the structure of your site – its information architecture – consider the ‘journeys’ of different types of customer (such as return visitors versus new) and accommodate their needs through navigation and variations in the page content served.
Strong imagery is a great way to quickly tell a story about your brand. People tend to scan rather than read every word of copy, so as an alternative to beautifully crafted prose you may be able to use imagery to provide emotional impact instead.
Presenting impactful images is harder on mobile, with the size constraints involved. So, make sure your image cropping works for different screen sizes and formats, prioritising mobile and taking into consideration how small images will appear on phones.
Think about which keywords (and phrases) are most likely to drive people from Google to your website. You can look at Google Trends to see how popular the keywords are with people over time.
Make sure your page titles, headlines and subheads include the keywords people look for on Google, and don’t forget to use them in the meta descriptions (in the page code) and URLs too. Talking of URLs, you’ll need to take availability into consideration when you name your business.
Another place you may be able to incorporate keywords and phrases is in the ‘alt tag’ descriptions of the images you publish. Search engines look for image descriptions that match the content in the page, ranking the page higher if everything is linked together with some logic.
Then consider using Google Analytics to measure how effective your use of keywords is at attracting searches, and to discover how people are using your site.
Links to pages within your website and to external sites (particularly reputable ones such as government information sites) are important for SEO too. If your text links include keywords, even better.
Before launching your website, read every word of it out loud. It’s generally agreed that in most instances, website copy should be conversational – so this is a good way to check if you’ve ticked that box. You’ll probably pick up a few errors along the way too, making the exercise even more worthwhile.
Then get your website in front of as many people as possible and watch how they use the site. Be on the lookout for navigation issues, unclear content and design issues. You need to make sure visitors can quickly get the information they want from your website.
We hope these tips have been useful. You may want to consider hiring a specialist website designer, design agency or SEO consultant to help get your site optimised. And if you’re selling from your website and want to accept payments from your customers, make sure you have an online payment solution1 that meets your needs.
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This information does not take into account your personal circumstances and is general. It is an overview only and should not be relied upon. The information provided in this article should be used as a guide only. We recommend that you seek independent professional legal and tax advice about your specific circumstances. Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL and Australian credit licence 233714