- Posted by SEMCLIX
- On December 30, 2011
- 0 Comments
Considering A New Website Design?
Before diving into designing a new website there are many important factors that you may want to consider in regards to a site’s design, targeted users and purpose. A good starting point is to ask yourself the following questions:
- Does my home page convey my goals for the site?
- What kind of interests do my potential visitors have?
- Does my site cater to my visitors needs?
- Is my site easy to navigate?
- Does the website load quickly, even with a slow internet connection?
Below I’ve outlined the different website design factors to consider that will affect the answers to the above questions.
1. Home Page Design
A home page is one of the most critical areas of a website. This is the opening of your virtual sales funnel and will define whether your users decide to explore the deeper pages of the site. Your home page should clearly outline your services and your call to action.
The most important information and messages can be displayed in the forms of text, images, videos, or other interactive ways. A best practice is to create links or pathways to all of the various areas that the site might branch off into. Relevant information should be neatly organized together and prioritized around the user’s and company’s needs. A great example of an organized home page design is SEOmoz.org. SEOmoz is a company that produces software for SEO company’s and also has a very popular industry blog that offers the latest SEO tips and news. As soon as you land on their home page you are presented with a clear and concise message “SEO & Social Monitoring Made Simple”.
They’re home page banner offers serveral calls to actions for users that may be in different phases of the sales process.
- Start Your Free Trial – “See if it’s a fit”
- Take A Tour – “Learn more”
- Plans & Pricing – “How to get started”
They have prioritized the order of how information is presented from the top to the bottom of the page;
- Navigation > Primary priority > User Experience
- Home Page Banner Call To Action > Secondary Priority > Company’s Revenue
- Client Logos For Credibility > Assists Secondary Priority
- Individual SEO Tool Screen shots > Services/Products > Assists Secondary Priority
- Most Recent Blog Posts > Alternative call to action to retain a visitor as a reader to hopefully convert to a customer > Assists Secondary & Primary Priority
Your own site may have different priorities but the idea is still the same. People read from top to bottom, and information that is important should be seen first. The user is always the primary priority, because with out them there’s no point to have a service.
2. Your User’s Interests
3. Your Target Audience’s Needs
Website Usability & Structure
4. Site Navigation & Architecture
When creating a new website many people don’t consider how important a website’s navigation and architecture are. A website’s structure is going to have an important impact on the site’s on page SEO and can be difficult to change without affecting rankings as the site matures. Google’s design and content guidelines clearly state “Make a site with a clear hierarchy”, so ideally you should first break the website down into it’s most important sections. For example;
Example Website Core Sections
These pages can all be core areas that will have their own unique branches and substructures. Typically a best practive is to utilize a horizontal navigation bar near the top of the site’s layout to directly link to these pages. During this development phase you may also want to consider which pages you intend to have targeted under competitive search phrases, and be sure that these pages are no more than three sub folders deep. This will insure that page rank won’t be too diluted when directed to targeted pages.
Also keeping valuable pages shallow will allow your users to be able to easily find information they are looking for. Someone visiting should not have to click more than two or three times before landing on the page they are searching for. Another important factor regarding a website’s navigation is offering multiple ways for people to discover pages within your website, some other navigational elements include: breadcrumbs, user site maps, search bars and vertical sidebar navigation with links pointing to the relevant sub pages. These elements are designed to help users know where they are on the website and allow for easy access to other pages.
5. Page Load Time = User Experience
The majority of today’s Internet users have access to high speed internet access. However, there are still many users that have low bandwith services, such as people who live in rural areas. A website’s load time will directly affect what kind of experience a user will have. No one likes a site that takes forever to load and neither does Google. Hundredths of a second can potentially decide if a site will acquire the number one position. A site that is too graphically intense can produce annoyingly long web page load times causing prospective customers to leave your site before they even know your services. Aside from certain server configurations a developer can use the following techniques to lower page load times;
- Use CSS Sprites
- Define Image Dimensions
- Reduce Image File Sizes *
* If you are using Abobe’s Photoshop, the “Save for web” option or save the image, shoot for 72 dpi resolution. This will have a quick and significant impact on a page’s load time.
When It’s All Said & Done
A company’s website has the potential to become a very powerful sales tool when developed with the user in mind. A combination of good design, navigation, quality content, and user experience are all key elements needed to create a website that will gain the trust of your visitors and get them to take action.
Whether you are planning on developing an ecommerce store or a business website that will advertise your services it’s best to fully understand who your targeted visitor is. Knowing this information will allow you to plan accodingly for the type of expereience you wish to create for them when they visit your website. Remember good SEO should actually enhance the users experience, and you will be rewarded with sweet rankings for developing a website that accomplishes this.