What are the best practices for optimized website design and user experience? How can you design an attractive, user-friendly website that maximizes your ability to be found in the Search Engine Results Pages and drives conversions? Read our expert tips for optimized design and user experience, compelling aesthetic design, website architecture, usability and more.
Businesses should always be looking to gain new customers and keep the ones they have happy. One way of doing this is adapting to the way your customers like to shop. E-commerce companies should be aware of consumers increased spending on mobile devices, especially tablets, and changes should be made to reach them.
According to an article on Direct Marketing News, “Tablet users who visited e-commerce websites in 2011 spent 54% more per purchase than smartphone visitors and 21% more than desktop or laptop visitors, according to a Jan. 19 report by Adobe Systems.” Tablets are a viable way to reach your target audience and businesses should be willing to make website adjustments to reach returning and potential customers. What type of adjustments? Make sure they can easily navigate and purchase on your site.
When a visitor comes to your website via a tablet, what do they see? Does your website adjust to fit their screen or will the user have to play with their display settings just to get a clear picture of the item they want? It may sound silly to ask such a question, but businesses can frequently lose out on sales due to visitor frustration.
The other night my mom went online to buy some books using a tablet. However, unlike a computer, she could only see one book per page. (The website wasn’t optimized to fit a tablet.) She spent some time attempting to find the books she wanted, but eventually ended up ordering over the phone. Instead of buying multiple books, she only bought one. This particular company lost business because their site wasn’t user friendly on a tablet. How can a company fix this? Easy, use a sniffer. A sniffer can detect what type of device a visitor is using and serve them a landing page that is configured for their device. It would behoove this bookstore to add a sniffer to their site. Who knows how many other tablet users have passed up on buying, due to the lack of a good user experience on a particular site?
When it’s all said and done businesses have to make changes to reach their consumers. If a decent amount of your target audience is using tablets to access your site, consider getting a sniffer. How can a company determine how many visitors are coming from mobile devices and tablets? Read the following article on obtaining this data through analytics.
Behind the scenes, there are a lot of components that keep a website up and running. It’s possible, and maybe even practical (depending on your business situation), to launch and run your website without many features enabled. Doing so will give you a functioning website, but it won’t give you an optimal one. Here are just a few examples of features you should be using on your site for SEO:
XML Sitemap: Take a look at any well-optimized site, and you won’t have to look far to find a sitemap. It’s one of the most basic features you can add to your site for optimization. The sitemap let’s search engine bots crawl your site more easily by providing a list of available URLs. Making your site easier to index helps it rank better. If you run a large website that updates frequently, you will want to make sure that your CMS is set to automatically update the sitemap when new content is posted.
Robots.txt: You’ll want a robots.txt file for identical reasons as the XML sitemap — to help crawlers do their job more efficiently. Google places a limit on the number of pages it will scan for your site. This can be problematic if you are running a large site — Google will never look at some of your pages. Furthermore, you can not tell Google which pages to index. You can, however, tell them which pages to ignore by using a robots.txt file. This increases the chances that Google will index only the important pages of your site.
Google Analytics: Although not necessary for the operation of your site, a Google Analytics account is necessary from a marketing perspective. If you want to manage your growth and impact on the Internet, or the success of a campaign — the best way is through analytics. Furthermore, the sooner you set up an account, the sooner you can begin collecting data to refer back to when running future campaigns.
SEO implementation has many facets. From optimizing some pages on your current website to building a brand new website from the ground up with SEO in mind; but what about a complete overhaul of your current site? Would it even be possible because of the constraints of the old CMS or platform your website is built on?
Once you’ve made the decision to get that new version of the site up and running, here are a few SEO implementation strategies to contemplate:
Plan the structure of the new site; Is it logically organized so search engines and site visitors can get to all of the important pages in a couple of clicks?
The above considerations are extremely important for your optimized website redesign, but I think there are 3 other considerations that, above all, have the most impact; keeping the domain name the same (to preserve trust rankings with the search engines and to mitigate the need for redirects), ensuring the new site design is friendly for both the users and the search engines (is the site’s new interface something you and your users like; maybe utilize a third party usability study?) and properly redirecting the search engines and users to any new page names. All of this will ensure a smooth changeover from the older version of the site to the new one.