It’s probably easy to think that a excellent website design is one which simply looks good. Those who think they know a little bit about search engine optimisation, or SEO, may also tell you that keywords and meta tags are key elements. It’s true that these factors all come into building the perfect website, however, things are actually a little more complex than that.
Thanks to various changes Google has made to its algorithms over the years, the way in which we build websites is always changing.
Yes – there are cheap and easy ways to build sites using simple programs and schemes. But are you necessarily giving your visitors the quality content they crave?
What elements should a good website have? What makes some of the best websites stand out from the rest? What’s more – what is really going to drive your traffic? Is it flashy visuals, solid content, or a complex web of backlinks? Cases may vary – but we’ve rounded up some great ways you can be sure to build a fantastic website that your audience will want to visit again and again.
Above all, a great website is one which performs well. This should be fairly obvious! However, by this, we mean that your site needs to be technically proficient. That means search engines should be able to crawl through and find everything they need to index you properly. It also means that your website should be fast and laid out in a logical pattern. And, most importantly, should give your visitors the answers and support they need sooner rather than later.
Technical SEO is a huge part of building the perfect website. As the name suggests, things can get more than a little involved sometimes, but it is all worthwhile. An experienced SEO expert and web development team will help you fine-tune these aspects. Good technical SEO will help Google and other search engines prioritise you to the right people. It is not just about keywords!
At the head of this guide, we mentioned looks. As your parents probably told you once or twice, looks aren’t everything! However, when it comes to building the perfect website, you shouldn’t ever discount the looks. While the perfect design and look are obviously going to differ from person to person, you should think carefully about producing a website that is easy to use, and which is refreshingly simple.
User experience is front and centre of modern SEO. This means you should be thinking about how easy visitors can use your site across multiple devices. What about mobile browsers? Can visitors easily read your content? Are you clearly linking to useful pages, or do your visitors have to spend a lot of time wandering around finding where to go?
A great user interface is one which is quick to use and which is memorable for all the right reasons. Keep your message and your ethos clear, and make sure that you prioritise keeping your visitors away from that back button. The more awkward and unappealing your site is, the more likely they will click off and go elsewhere. Be careful!
Making sure your site is completely secure is absolutely crucial. In this day and age, any websites which don’t use the HTTPS protocol, at least, are falling way behind the pack. This means that one of the first things you should do with your site is completely secure it. Make sure your security certificates are up to date and ensure that you regularly maintain your site.
You are going to need to establish and demonstrate trust. Do you accept payments through your site? Make sure to let customers know that their money is completely safe. This isn’t just going to put your visitors’ minds at ease, but it’s going to help Google understand that you are serious about keeping their searchers safe. Any loose threads or hints that you aren’t looking after your site is going to flag up. This, naturally, means you are going to fall down the search rankings.
Always update your software, check your SSL, and make sure you are ironclad. Choose a reputable web developer and host who can protect you against all modern threats. Otherwise, you are going to risk falling prey to the worst kind of attacks. That isn’t going to look good for your online presence, nor is it going to be particularly helpful for your visitors. Protect the people you are appealing to at all costs!
We have covered a little bit of this above, but it’s worth repeating. We are in the middle of a massive mobile revolution! If your website is not already super fast and ready for mobile devices, then you are going to risk falling even further down the rankings.
Your website needs to be easy to navigate and to read across all devices. This may sound like a bit of a big ask, but it’s easier to attend to than you think. Fantastic website builders and content management systems such as WordPress will let you build a site that’s completely responsive. This means you only ever need to build one design, and your CMS will do the rest to morph it to multiple devices.
There is no excuse to build a desktop-friendly site on its own. Google is thinking more and more about its mobile users. This is to such an extent that mobile-friendly sites are actually receving priority in search listings. Mobile sites are less cluttered and are much more streamlined than desktop equivalents. Therefore, your visitors can always expect a brilliant, smooth and speedy experience whenever they visit.
Ultimately, it’s all about cutting down visitor hassle – so they stick with you, buy from you, and come back to you again and again! Simple!
Being relevant, clear and on-message is so important. Google understands that its searchers are looking for answers to their problems. Therefore, you need your content, and your message, to be completely on-point. You need to present an obvious ethos, branding, and to think carefully about the questions that your visitors are likely to ask!
You shouldn’t ever waffle, or go off-topic. You need your regular content, as well as all the data you present to your customers and visitors, to be streamlined and straightforward. People are not going to want to spend ages looking for answers from you! The best sites are those which give answers right away, not through hours of deep digging. Google knows this, and now you do, too!
Irrelevant content is always going to be a deal-breaker. Google is clamping down more than ever on sites which stuff keywords, for example. This is known as a black hat approach. Black hat SEO surrounds throwing keywords out randomly without any purpose or plan. White hat SEO, meanwhile, makes sure to partner keywords which are relevant to any content. It means that people can find content with specific phrases and will actually get to read content that matters to them.
A good website should never trick people into visiting. Be concise, relevant and clear.
Many people forget that keeping friendly with search engines is all part of the puzzle. We’ve taken a brief look at technical SEO above, but the points are worth discussing further. As well as communicating clearly to visitors and searchers, your site should be clearly indexed and should show crawlers and bots what they can expect from you when they visit.
This is crucial so that Google, for example, knows exactly where to put you, and what to do with you, when it comes to rankings and appealing to the right people. The more your site communicates with search engines, the more confident crawlers will be at prioritising your content. It just makes sense – Google is your friend!
You’ll need to work with a web development team with years of expertise in fine-tuning SEO and search engine communications behind the scenes. Set up a solid framework which is adaptable and easy to manage in case you need to make any future changes.
This is crucial. Not all websites used to have blogs, but you’ll probably find that this has changed a lot! That’s because Google re-indexes you the more content you produce. Therefore, it makes sense that your website should post regular features and blog posts on things that are relevant to your audience. After all, you are only going to catch a small number of fish with a handful of worms!
However, again, there needs to be a balance. You can’t expect to pull in engaged visitors if all you produce is lifeless content that is barely relevant to their needs. Think carefully about what your visitors are actually looking for. What sort of features would you want to read about when visiting your site? Try to build a content plan, if you can, and stick to it wherever possible.
Last, but not least, you should always be thinking carefully about the type of media you use, and the quality of your content. For example, always try to use high-resolution images, and video which is relevant to your visitors. You could create your own high-quality video content, for example, and share it with your readers to help them understand a specific area of your business. What’s more, video content is proven to engage well with many people. That’s because it is easy to digest, and it’s often very entertaining!
Try to stray away from cheesy stock photos and pictures which look as though you’ve pulled them off Google Image Search. Great business websites, for example, make sure to use actual photos of their teams! This means you can show your visitors exactly who you are and what you do. There’s often no better way to create a sense of humanity around your brand.
High-quality media matters because it is so eye-catching. You need to pick the right content, position it well, and make sure it looks good across all devices. Again, with a solid CMS interface such as WordPress, this shouldn’t ever be too difficult. It’s another good reason why you should work with a web development team who offers a streamlined CMS service to ensure you hit the ground running.
There are a few website builders out there which can make it look like setting up a great site is very easy. Sure – it’s simple to get up and running in a few hours, but long term, these sites are not going to perform very well. The visual choices available to you are limited, as is the support you can receive. Many website builders outsource customer service and care, and don’t have an in-house or fully-qualified team who is completely hands-on with your website.
With a fully-fledged website, designed by professionals at a private firm, you are going to reap incredible benefits from years to come. You’ll receive a website which not only looks great from the get-go, but which also outperforms your rivals over years of online presence. What’s more, if you want to tweak or hone your site, you will have access to experts in SEO who can help you along the way. You will only ever need to call your development team and get the support you need in minutes.
SEO CoPilot is a company that genuinely cares about producing great results for all our clients. Once we set you up with a website, we take care to monitor it and develop it as it grows. Setting up a website means more than just building a design and letting it go free. It means maintaining it and making sure it stays relevant for years to come.
Are you looking for a great website? Choose a team with years of SEO and developmental experience for the best results. Call us here at SEO CoPilot today, or get in touch via web form, and we’ll call you.