One of the greatest problems that inexperienced SMB and startup owners make is believing that a beautiful design also means an effective design. Sadly, this isn’t always the case. First of all, the concept of beauty is an abstract and subjective one, however, what’s in the eye of the beholder isn’t necessarily enough for success.
Search engines don’t see your website through the eyes of a consumer, which means that even the most aesthetic and visually pleasing design doesn’t have to improve your Google rank. In other words, this creates a hypothetical scenario where you hire a person to do a web design for you and you are content with the job they’ve done until you realize that the designer you’ve hired has no clue about SEO. Here are four indicators that can get you to this conclusion a lot sooner, while there’s still time to fix these mistakes.
1. It’s not friendly to various devices
The world of the late 2010s is a mobile one. In 2015 the number of mobile searches officially became larger than the one made from PCs and in April 2017 Android officially become No. 1 web browsing OS, dethroning Windows after decades of undisputed dominance. For your online business, this means that you need a website that is friendly across all platforms.
The easiest way to check this is to simply try accessing your website through your computer, your smartphone, and your tablet. Sure, such an inquiry only scratches the surface but it also gives you an insight into an average mobile user experience. Seeing as how m-commerce is quickly becoming one of the driving forces of the present-day business world, this is an issue you need to start paying attention right away.
2. Website Speed
Another important issue you need to pay a closer attention to is the one of the responsiveness (the speed of your website). You see, an average internet user expects a website to load within the first two seconds, while one-quarter of them are more than ready to leave as long as it fails to load within first four seconds.
This is a trap that most inexperienced designers walk right into since they believe that the key to the beauty of their website lies in flash elements and complex 3D animations. First of all, the greater the number of these elements, the greater the number of HTTP requests that a website needs to wait for. Second, complicated animations are much more resource-intensive, which is yet another reason why minimalism is becoming the Holy Grail of the 21st-century web design.
3. Lack of transparency
One of the least known hazards of the SEO world is a high bounce rate, which is a natural consequence of an audience realizing they’re not in the right place and leaving straight away. Naturally, search engines assume that some hoax is at play (click-bait or redirect) and try to penalize you right away. In order to be unique and creative, a lot of new web designers try to make their landing page as complex as possible. Needless to say, not everyone has time nor patience for these games.
In order not to leave, your audience needs to know that they are in the right place, which is why a proper introduction is necessary. Luckily, this can be achieved through creative web design, which can be seen on the example of GWM agency’s homepage. The first two things that a visitor see’s here are the name of the company and the services it provides. In this way they know they’re in the right place and there is no reason for them to leave.
4. Complicated navigation
Finally, one of the best ways to tell that the web designer you’ve hired has no clue about SEO is if your website’s navigation is complicated and counter-intuitive. First of all, this too boosts your bounce rate, which is something we discussed at length in the previous section. This also means that improving your navigation improves your overall UX (user experience), which is a great thing on its own.
Second, your website’s users are not the only ones who are using your navigation system, seeing as how Google crawlers also use it in order to index your website. Therefore, if you want your website to get indexed as soon as possible, you need to find a way to make your navigation simple and user-friendly.
At the end of the day, in 2017, your website is your main business platform, which means that it has to do more than just look nice. Apart from being an important business hub, it is also the name and the face of your company (it’s avatar in the digital environment). This means that even the people who’ve never heard of you might base their first impression on how well it appears and how efficiently it performs. This is why you need to look for a designer who can look past the surface level and focus on those aspects of web design that can make or break your company.