Usability, Mobile Friendliness, and Search Engine Readiness Should Be Planned
(UPDATED: note this blog was initially written in 2011, updated in 2017, updated in 2019 and again in 2021. It was interesting to see how much has changed as well as how much has stayed the same.)
That brings me to the point of this blog – Never develop a new website without first defining the business objectives of the website. You should ask yourself what is the website suppose to do for your business, how is it going to do it, how are you going to measure the success of the site. When you start with these questions in mind you can architect the important functions into your website design.
Planning your website properly allows you to take advantage of the internet marketing tools available today that were not available last year. A lot of websites are stuck in 2001. (update — when we originally wrote this blog in 2011 this was sad, it is even more sad 10 years later as we write the update)
Bake Search Engine Friendliness Into Your Website
We call adding search engine optimization into the architecture, taxonomy, and link structure “baking in the SEO“. We can add the SEO into your website after you’ve built it, but it is easier and cheaper for us to bake it into the architecture during the planning stage. (still as true and poignant as the day we wrote it in 2011.) As our friends at R.I Web Design Agency JPG Degsins likes to say, pairing good SEO with good design, never goes out of style.
To bake in the SEO we simply build/change your website to be user friendly and search engine friendly at its core. From the site’s taxonomy to the link structure everything should be built for easy access to humans and search robots or spiders. The larger your website and the more content or products you have the more important taxonomy and link structure become. Web development, when defined properly, from the beginning will improve your onsite SEO scores and make your offsite SEO and content marketing more successful.
The link structure should be laid out in such a fashion that your most important content is always a single click from anywhere on the site. This allows your website users quick access to your important content and it allows the search engines quick access to this crucial content as well. As a rule, if something is linked from the home page it is important, if something is linked from multiple pages on the site it is more important. This is one of the most simple rules that is violated.
Note that we now have a slightly different approach for the highly competitive niche that we developed in 2018.
Build with Smartphones in Mind
Some of our clients see over 50% of their internet traffic come from users on smartphones. It is important that when you develop your website that you do it with the mobile user in mind. If your clientele is heavily weighted towards people under 50 years old you better have a website that understands they are looking at it while waiting to do something else. (i.e. waiting to see a doctor, waiting for the light to turn green, waiting for the kids to get out of school, and so on) ***We didn’t change much except the age of the user in this paragraph. Mobile is an even bigger % of usage for some clients but we left the 50% because it is still roughly true for most of our SEO clients.
Mobile-friendly sites are becoming even more important for businesses that rely on local search to drive customer traffic. Google knows how their customers behave and they now produce a set of search results tailored for mobile phone browsers. If you want Google to send you mobile traffic your site better fit on the screen, be easy to use, and be thumb and finger-friendly. Even if you take Google out of the equation -and you somehow get a user to your website that is not mobile-friendly, you can be sure they won’t be coming back. – We wrote this in 2011, and it is still 100% true. You need a responsive website. Luckily most sites built-in WordPress are responsive out of the box.
Usability & Responsive Design
Responsive design is the industry standard. A responsive website responds to the user’s screen size and presents content in a way that is appropriate for the screen. Making sure your new website is built with a Responsive Design methodology will go a long way towards having a user-friendly website and it will wonders for your search engine traffic all other things being equal.
A responsive website responds to the user’s screen size and presents content in a way that is appropriate for the screen.
An important part of usability is the speed of the website, especially on mobile devices. Google has a great tool to test the speed of your page. We recommend a score above 75.
If you need help with your new website or if you just need us to look at a proposal from another company to make sure you are not getting taken advantage then you can call us at 972-737-2830. (if you are on your phone you should be able to click the phone number to call us – i.e. mobile-friendly.)