There are many things to keep in mind when designing your business’s website. Some are crucial to ensuring your website enhances the user experience and increases your appearance in organic search results, such as having a responsive, mobile-friendly design, which we’ve discussed in detail in previous posts. But others consist of the basic building blocks that are often unintentionally overlooked, such as optimizing your site for SEO and making sure your site secure. Here we’ve identified four common web design mistakes to avoid when creating your website.
1. Hiding Important Information
We live in a world of instant gratification. When someone is looking for something, they need to be able to find it now. Most users no longer have the patience or attention span to take the time to dig through your website to find the information they’re looking for. Make sure important information is prominently displayed on your site, including contact and location information, information about your company, and pricing info (if available), as well as links to places to connect outside of your site — social media, distribution channels, etc.
2. Failing to Link to Social Media
Outside of your website, it’s important to connect with potential (or current) customers where they are spending their time. And these days, that means social media. If a person is interested in a business, he or she is likely to “like” it on Facebook, or follow it on other channels such as Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, among others, to keep up to date on the latest information about the company. And in today’s social world, it’s important to be present and active on the different social platforms. In fact, 92% of marketers say that social media is important to their businesses. Knowing this, it’s considered a rookie mistake to exclude links to your social accounts on your website. Make sure they’re prominently displayed not only on the homepage, but also on your “contact us” page.
3. Not Optimizing for SEO
Search Engine Optimization is important because it helps potential customers find your website organically, meaning people are using topical keywords in search engines such as Google to find your site, and not through direct links from other websites, social media feeds or paid ads. Why does organic search matter? Organic searches are better at driving relevant traffic to your website. These are the people who have a question or need related to your business. There are a lot of components that make up SEO: long-tail keywords, meta descriptions, image alt text, tags, internal and external links, and relevant content, among others. When building your site, make sure you’re implementing basic SEO best practices.
4. Failing to Make Your Site Secure
Cybersecurity should be top of mind when creating a website, especially if your website deals with sensitive information. SSL Certificates encrypt communications between a web server and a user's computer using the https:// protocol. When users see the “https://” in the web browser, they know the site they’re visiting is secure and it offers some validation that the site can be trusted. Make sure your site has an SSL certificate or confirm the current one is up to date, because SSLs are only valid for a specific time period and will expire.
So, what’s the big deal about taking time to think about SEO, navigation, social buttons and security? Will a website really make that much impact on your business? The answer is a resounding YES. Your website is your virtual front door and in many ways it’s replacing the traditional business card. It’s how people find you and find out more about your business. The four design components mentioned above are just some of the essential building blocks of a successful website. If you’d like more information about how to ensure your website will work for your business, consider downloading the 10 elements all successful websites should have. Or dive deeper into our blog to find more information about web design and digital marketing.