Search engine optimization and web design often go hand in hand. The success of a website really depends on both of these things working together. In order for a website to be noticed by the search engines and by users searching on those engines, it needs to be optimized well. The purpose of a website is to get a user to convert. In order for that to happen the website needs to have good usability. The best SEO campaign is useless without a user friendly site and a well designed site is useless if the search engines, and search engine users, don’t know that it exists.
The following is a list of tips to ensure that a website is user friendly:
Provide Contact Information
All company contact information should be easily accessible. Be sure to include the company name, address, phone number, fax number, and email address in the same place on every page of the website. A good location for this information is at the bottom of each page. Providing your physical location and phone number allows your website visitors to know that you are in fact real. It supplies them with a level of trust.
Minimize Page Load Time
Web users are impatient. They want instant gratification. If your website takes more than a few seconds to load your visitors will likely “bounce” right out of there. Two of the biggest contributors to a long page load time are large multimedia and graphic files. It’s best not to incorporate too many of these, especially if they aren’t necessary on the page. Try making images smaller and be sure to avoid things like Flash.
Have a Visually Appealing Design
Be sure not to use text that is too big or too small or use fonts that are hard to read. Don’t include background or text colors that are too bright. Be consistent. For example, don’t make one background page orange, the next purple, and the next pink. Stick to the basics and avoid distractions. Get rid of clutter, like unnecessary pictures and advertisements. Stick to the point.
Build to Convert
The goal of any website is to get users to convert. Provide quality content and a lead form on every page. The lead form can be to request a quote, sign up for services, etc. Be sure to provide clear call to actions on every page.
Provide Easy Navigation
It should be easy for a user to quickly move around a website to find what they are looking for. Navigation should be easy to understand. A good tactic is to use drop down menus. Breadcrumbs are also great because they leave a “trail” allowing the user to understand the path that they have taken to get to a particular page so that they can go back to a previous page easily.