In part 2 we follow on with the basics of design as part of optimising your site. In Part 1 we ended with the following list and explanation:-
Although the above are really design considerations, design is one of the keys to good rankings and having a successful website. With this in mind I will briefly run through them.
The site has to look nice, it has to be easy on the eye, and must never be difficult to look at. The only movement on a page should be to draw the eye to a call to action or other very important element. Music should be opt in, not opt out, as this is a no no. Plug in technology should be avoided if it is not bundled with the main browsers. Many people do not have the ability to allow downloads, as they will be visiting from their place of work, or, even at home will be reluctant to download anything for fear of viruses.
The site must feel right, IE the feel/tone of it should match the aim of the site. If your product/service is up tempo then so should be your feel. Bright reds etc are mad colours, and will stir the emotions, whereas soft pastels will relax.
Although broadband in pretty much the norm, there are still a lot of people on dial up, or slow connections, to force large sites on them is to lose clients. Keep the site fast to load, and if you must have images, make sure the text comes down first if possible.
This is the first real SEO related element. The search engines can only add pages to the index that they know about, with this in mind, the easier your site is to navigate, the faster you are likely to get spidered, and also the easier it is for your visitors to find what they are looking for. You should have a small navigation element on every page, that as a minimum takes you to the main category pages within your site.
The search Engines have to build their opinion of your pages from the content on the pages, and what others think of your site, there is nothing else for them to work with. The early days of the web, you would read pages of text, some of the text on those pages would be blue and underlined, we knew that meant they were hyperlinks. The only way to know what to expect when following the link was to read the text that was within the link itself, this is known as ‘anchor text’ and now, only a few years later people are realising that it is important, while it always has been, many simply forgot.
The anchor text within your navigation system is an important part of helping the search engine algorithms to understand your pages, where possible, you should use anchor text that describes what to expect from visiting the target page. Please note though that at no time should this be allowed to affect the usability of the site.
This is another key element to SEO/SEM. Many of the DP (donkey Pooh!) pages have no focus, and because of this the quality information is simply lost in the flood!
An essential part of the success of your site is the way you deliver your information. Before you put pen to paper you must carve in stone the ‘reason for living’ that is your site. you MUSt decide what you want your site to achieve, what the initial aims and goals are for the site. What do you expect the site to do? So I say again, decide the ‘reason for living’ ask yourself, WHAT IS THE REASON FOR BUILDING THIS SITE? An answer like ‘to get me business’ or ‘to attract customers’, simply isn’t good enough. the reason for living should be clear and measurable. EG.
The website exists to let people know who we are and what we do. The ultimate aim of the site is to get more customers to our services. We will achieve this via them contacting us via online and offline methods.
Unless you focus on this question, your site is never going to reach it’s full potential. Once the reason for living has been established, then and only then can you begin your SEO.
Part 3 Monday, together with some answers to the MANY questions I have received from you all.