The Top Priority for Your Website: Design with the User in MindDecember 2018
When most people think of “optimizing” a website, they think of strategies that will help their site rank higher on Google searches. Certainly, SEO and everything that goes into it is an essential priority for any website manager. However, the most effective optimization is not achieved by targeting an algorithm or a machine, but by targeting the user.
Related: Best Practices in Website Design
Think about it this way: Google’s algorithms and search engine crawlers—the elements that determine which sites rank at the top of any given search—are designed and tweaked to look for things that users want. For instance, when Google shifted to a mobile-first template for judging and ranking websites, that decision wasn’t arbitrary. It happened because Google had noticed, through tracking web searches, that mobile searches had overtaken desktop searches. As a result, Google shifted its rules to preference websites that provided a superior mobile experience.
Similarly, virtually every aspect of SEO links to the user experience. Keywords are useful to Google because they help identify pages that might be relevant to a user’s search. Backlinks indicate that a site is an authority on a subject, which increases relevance (and thereby, user experience) even further. Things like fast load times and responsive design make a site easier to use, which Google rewards in the form of ranking boosts.
When trying to optimize their websites for Google, many business owners or site managers get bogged down by thinking about “what Google wants.” They try to learn all about the algorithms and technical aspects that drive search rankings. While a technical understanding of how search engines work is not a bad thing to have, the fact is that most site owners could accomplish just as much by asking a straightforward question: what will our users want?
This question can and should be the guiding light for developing or updating any website. It’s the skeleton key to unlock so many aspects of superior, Google-friendly website design. Asking yourself what questions your users are asking or what information they are seeking can help you plot a content strategy that serves those needs. Once you have an idea of the sections, pages, and content that you will have on your site, you can use those details to start planning a logical navigation system for your site. Making everything easy to find will limit your bounce rates and increase the likelihood of a first-time user converting into a repeat visitor or paying customer.
Finally, don’t forget about what virtually every modern web user wants: an eye-catching design. Web design in 2018 has evolved to such a degree that having a beautifully designed website is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. Paying attention to things such as colors, font, visuals, video, and layout will not only make your website easier to read, but it will also instill trust in your customers. Simply put, most people today use the internet to tell them which businesses are legitimate, professional, or serious about trying to meet customer needs. Website aesthetic and ambiance absolutely matters in this equation.
At Inherent, we can help you analyze the wants and needs of your userbase and build a beautiful website to meet them. To learn more about what we can do to take your site to the next level, contact us today.