Creating a website is exciting, inspiring, and motivating, especially if you’re making one to help increase profit and your exposure to potential clients or customers. Making a website can also be overwhelming and feel time consuming, particularly if you’re not a super tech-minded person.
You can read countless online articles on the “do’s and don’ts” when creating a professional website, some are helpful while others are obscure and make you feel over your head. We will discuss a few things that are essential to remember (but often overlooked) when getting a website up and running.
We are living in a tech age where anyone has the ability to create a website, so it’s also important to remember that not everyone understands tech speak as well as professionally trained web developers and designers.
Are you a budding designer? Maybe you’re already tripped up by the term “front-end?” In short, the front-end of your website are the features you can interact with and see. In some ways, it’s a lot like facing product in the merchandising world.
Not only do you want everything to work properly, but you want it to be aesthetic to your site visitors. If it looks good, your visitors may stick around longer than the average browser, which according to the Nielsen Norman group is less than a minute. Additionally, your site traffic is likely to increase, as is your profit. Make sure to optimize the following front-end features:
Site navigation is one of those things that you need to get right, especially if you want online visitors to stay (and return) to your site. We’ve all visited a website that looks really cool but is a nightmare to navigate.
Unless you’re trying to make your website top secret or be elusive, make your site easy to navigate. Place some of the major features, such as a menu, search bar, or contact form, in an accessible area. The average browser doesn’t want to spend time looking for essential information.
There will always be an unofficial debate about which font is the best and which one is an eyesore. A lot of it comes down to personal preference, but it’s important to remember that what you love may not go well with a general audience.
The font should be readable and basic, especially for the content of the site. If you want to throw some “fancy” font, use it in an area that won’t make or break the site. 16 point (pixels) is about the minimum size you should choose for your font and be smart about the color.
If you remember the early days of the web, you may recall the borderline garish use of color. Use good judgment and colors that attract visitors (and profit).
Whatever you do, make sure that you make your site mobile-friendly. Mobile shopping is one of the most popular ways to shop, and if your site doesn’t work on a mobile device (tablet or smartphone), you’re less likely to close a sale.
Think about it this way: If you had the choice of any two sites to purchase from on your cell phone, but one of them had tiny illegible fonts, and only looked good on a desktop, which one would you choose?
Fix All Redirects & Broken Links
Broken links and redirects happen from time to time. However, they can scare away potential buying customers and returning visitors if you don’t fix them ASAP. Keep in mind that a site full of problems can also lead to a lower Google ranking, so it’s best to keep it running smoothly.
Using a tool like Screaming Frog to fix these issues will save you the headache and embarrassment of having a site with broken or redirecting links.
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Behind the Scenes
So, your front-end looks and works great. It’s easy to navigate, easy to read, and looks modern and relevant. Is it all good? Don’t forget to about some of the “behind the scenes” features to make your site as good as it can be.
Improve Site Speed
You have less than a minute to impress the average website visitor, right? In addition to needing a responsive site, your website must be fast. Slower sites were expected when internet connections were slow. Now, you’d be hard pressed to find any web user who’s “ok” with a slow site.
Fortunately, when you use a website builder, a lot of those factors are taken into account on a server and setting level for the user. They take a lot of the technical and hard work out of building a site. This makes it a good option for those who are a little less tech-savvy but still have the eye for design.
Is Your SEO in Good Shape?
There’s always talk about search engine optimization (SEO), but what does it do exactly? Most importantly, it helps users to find your site. If your website has poor SEO, you are likely to get lost in the pages and pages of Google. The goal of SEO is to make you one of the top search results.
The easiest and most effective way to improve your SEO is by making sure your site is full of keywords, titles, and meta descriptions (snippets of text that describes your site’s content). When selecting keywords, you can choose some general words. Don’t forget to be specific too (especially when selling a product or service).
Building a website is a learning experience, but it can also be extremely rewarding when it goes as planned. While things like content, pictures, and the product you sell are important to include in your site, taking the time to optimize your site will bring (and keep) visitors to your website.
This is a guest post by Nik Donovic. He is an SEO and digital marketing expert, having worked in the space for almost six years. He enjoys the technical side of SEO and how it translates to a great user experience that also leads to more traffic and conversions.
**The views & opinions expressed in this guest post are of the guest author’s and do not necessarily reflect the opinions & views of the Design Roast community as a whole.**