With the rapidly growing market, every brand faces a new contender almost every day. Brand visibility becomes a top priority to keep the business afloat, and it all focuses on how potential customers perceive you and your company. This is where many CEOs begin investing in web design and SEO, in hopes of boosting their exposure. However, many are left wondering whether to use both, just one or the other, or which suits their product or service best. We are here to dispell these illusions, and prove that the perfect balance in using both Web design and SEO is not only possible but essential to customer returns and sales increase.
Where does the divide start?
It all begins with the user’s, or – your potential customer’s experience. Before you even begin to plan out how to present your brand online and which of the two strategies to use, you need to know your users. The user is a core factor dictating all other potential problems and solutions because people are visual beings, first and foremost. Those first few seconds on your website are crucial, so depending on how long they stay on, where they click, where they look… it will all give you an insight on what you’re doing wrong and where to improve.
Time spent on your website dictates the conversion rate, referrals, return of investment, and even word-of-mouth advertising between the users themselves. This is why web design and SEO are meant to work together – where one will dominate, the other will fall back, and sometimes, they’ll have to be in balance. In the next few points we’ll show you which situation calls for one of the three solutions.
Set your priorities straight
Next, you want to be absolutely clear on what your priorities are. Yes, we discuss brand visibility here, but it drips into all other aspects that you find important for your business – the return of investment, testing for a new market, or expansion. Set some time aside to clearly define your goals for the company. Discuss with your team on how to get that goal and message across. Focus on determining your KPIs for those goals. Knowing your KPI will make it much easier to decide whether you need stronger design or better content.
- To increase the number of referrals, you’ll have to look into your link building and content quality, which considers SEO
- To raise the average session time on your website, you’ll have to make the pages more user-friendly and easier to navigate, which falls on design
Know what’s best for your product or services
Another point we’d like to cover is the product or services your business offers. SEO and web design are merely the pathways between the two key points – the user and your product. The product itself plays a large role in balancing out the use of the two strategies. For example:
If you specialize in retail, you’ll want to focus more on images, and a sleek design, keeping the SEO part oriented towards brief, creative descriptions and customer reviews, and not lengthy, blog-like entries that do nothing but sidetrack the user’s attention.
Businesses offering, say, accounting services will expand on what retailers avoid – a blog for customers, with emphasis on informative texts and practical advice. Their design is sleek and simple as well, but with more emphasis on the business-like layout and fonts that will exude professionalism and hold certain gravity.
Check out the competition
Studying your competition is also a good way to know what you did wrong or right, and what to improve on. But this should go beyond just visiting the website on your own. Pick the most prolific contenders of your niche and those who aren’t doing so well. If you have both SEO and design professionals on your team, rally them up and go through the websites together. Sign up for their newsletters, read their user reviews, see where they rank in Google analytics and study their SEO strategy.
The benefits come not from trying to beat the competition, but in learning from it. More often than not, seeing how they solved design layout or content-related problems will help you with your own dilemmas. This is a learning process which undoubtedly makes you into a better contender in the market.
Get a focus group – experiment try out new designs and different layouts
Along with the previous point, you’ll also do much better if you actually make a focus group, depending on the demographic you chose. Experts advise making it a little more challenging, by expanding the demographics of the focus group, to see how your brand exposure appeals to other users, regardless of their (dis)interest in it. Try out several different layouts: go SEO heavy, with blog posts, descriptions, user reviews, then try a more visually oriented approach. Have questionnaires ready and track the feedback.
Trial and error is perhaps the best way to find the perfect balance between flawless SEO and impressive web design features. However, there’s no universal formula that can be applied to any product or business. It all needs to be custom made by your team, for your website. However, there are certain points that you can’t go wrong with: use clear call-to-action buttons, most relevant products always displayed on the landing page and clear navigational tools with your design. When it comes to SEO, employing catchy, personalized descriptions or phrases will make the user feel welcome, while a customer review page will make them more adamant to purchase a product.
Content management system
Lastly, we’d like to mention the importance of choosing the right content management system. Quality web design is pricey, and you won’t always be able to afford to refurbish your website when a newer brand appears. Content management systems are different types of software that help you easily update content to stay on top of search engines. They make it less pricey and more layman-friendly to update the site with fresh new content, give access to HTML and use text editors for quick updates on website changes.
WordPress is a no-brainer for most. But the young up-and-comers of the branch include Wix, with dozens of different layouts depending on the business, Squarespace, Concrete5, and Joomla, to just name a few.
In the battle between SEO and web design, one is not necessarily better than the other. They both serve different purposes, and in the right hands, and after a lot of research, they immensely boost the brand’s visibility together. By creating a focus group, trying out different layouts, knowing what your company goal is, and how you want the brand to come across to users, you will have studied both web design and SEO essentials closely enough to be able to confidently decide the kind of user experience you’ll provide.