7 SEO-Friendly Business Website Design Tips
- 27 de agosto, 2013
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During the September SEO month we looked at the best SEO tools and reports you can use to monitor traffic and SEO results. I’ve shared the top 7 steps for on-page SEO success you can easily do yourself to make your website more Google-friendly. And finally, if you have a business blog, you saw the 5 steps you can take with each of your blog posts to make them more SEO-friendly.
To wrap up the SEO series, I’d like to touch upon another important topic.
Many small business owners see themselves as not very techy or as web-experts, so they entrust the development of their business website to a web designer / developer. Usually it’s a great decision. It means you don’t end up wasting your precious business time trying to figure our how to change CSS in your chosen theme to make it look like your business branding, how to set up widgets, and how to customise the slider on the homepage.
However not all website design has been made equal. Largely this depends on the expertise of your share this site chosen website designer. Some of them are great at designing, but not so great at implementing it correctly and in an SEO-friendly way (speaking from experience of correcting and sorting out 10s of websites like that).
What you’ll find below is a checklist of must-haves for your website design project, especially if it’s done using WordPress CMS. So whoever you are talking to about your website, you can ensure that these elements are includes. And once it’s live, you can check against it – to ensure they have been indeed implemented.
Obviously… whatever website design projects we work on here, we make search engine optimisation our priority. That’s why we focus on creating websites that are conversion-friendly, so that they can make more money for your business 🙂
1. You need your own domain and hosting.
The first thing that you need to know is that you need your own domain and hosting. Free blog set ups do not do any favors for your SEO efforts (e.g. Wix, Weebly, WordPress.com, Blogger etc).
>> TWEET THIS << Why is that? SEO experts speculate that if you were really serious about your website you would get your own name and host it yourself. And Google only wants to point to websites that are considered serious and trustworthy. So I would recommend that you get your own domain and hosting set up from the very beginning. Don't leave it for your website designers to do - or you might be tied into a contract that's way more expensive than what you can get on your own. If a designer is offering your domain name and hosting included as part of the package, normally this is just for the first year. So make sure you find out what the fees will be at the renewal, if you are tied into a contract and if you are able to take your website elsewhere. A developer can build a WordPress website on pretty much any hosting, so apart from earning a commission from your website, there is no reason why they can't use a hosting that you will supply. Here we use JustHost as our hosting platform, 123-reg to register domain names, and for some clients who wanted a UK-based hosting we've used FastHosts. 2. Make sure your theme is SEO optimised. I can write post after post on this - and share some horror stories with you, even about themes you can buy from reputable themes marketplaces! But keeping it brief and to the point, think of SEO as two parts: the off-site stuff like social media and backlinks from other sites, and the on-site stuff like theme optimisation. Optimising your theme is important as it helps Google find your content. Some of the things you can do include: Cleanly coded: Make sure your theme is coded with the latest techniques so that it is easy to get around (e.g. not using tables to structure your content, or frames, or Flash). Fast loading: A fast loading site is good for user experience and for Google. Make sure your theme is loading quickly. You can use cache plugins to help speed it up and compress scripts and styles that are loaded each time your website page is viewed. Not broken: Ensure to clean up any broken links on your website (e.g. that happen when you change URLs for pages, or unpublish any posts or pages). You can also run your website through W3C validator, that will tell you if your theme has been properly coded using correct HTML language tags. You can then email the report to your developer and ask them to fix any errors. Or, while you are working on your quote and site spec with the developer, you can agree that W3C validation will be included as part of the project. Having a well designed theme is also important for your brand - it's separating your from the rest of the competition. >> TWEET THIS << 3. Fix your WWW resolve correctly. In many cases, you will find that your website can be accessed both as and . This is called website canonicalisation. Your aim is to ensure that your website is set up to only work as one of the other, otherwise Google might think there are 2 separate website (with www, and without) and index both. Then, as actually the content on pages will be the same, your website will get penalised for duplicate content. So to fix your resolve, you can either do it through your hosting control panel, or through htaccess file, with the help of your developer. When you then mention your website on the web, or try to create links to it from other website, moviestarplanet cheats make sure you use the version you chose with the resolve psncodegeneratoronlines.com/ – either with www, or without.
4. Don’t use Flash, nested tables and frames.
In the olden days, when I was in college learning about website design, we used frames to structure website (header, sidebar menu, page content, footer). If you didn’t want to use frames, the other option was to put your whole page into a table. And any animation you wanted on the page had to be done through Flash.
Fortunately, things have improved since then. And actually Google will penalise your website for using such out-dated techniques for your content. It doesn’t mean you can’t use tables at all – having an odd pricing table, or features table on your website is absolutely fine. But the structure of your website should be set using “div” HTML tags and CSS stylesheets.
In the previous blog post I listed some of the tools you can use to check on-page technical SEO results for your website. All of those tools will tell you if your website is using frames, tables or Flash, and where. You can then take the report to your developer and ask them to fix it.
5. Optimise your website for mobile.
If you ever look at your Google Analytics results, you will see how many people view your website using mobile devices. This varies between industries and sites, for example, for my website it’s around 20-25%.
The higher the percentage is for your website, the more important it is that your website looks the part when viewed from a mobile device.
Unfortunately not all themes come fully responsive, or sometimes this functionality can get broken during your WordPress theme customisation.
First what you need to do is run a test on how exactly your website looks on mobile devices and browsers. Secondly, test the loading speed for your website when on a mobile device. The tools to use are all listed in this blog post, under On-page SEO heading.
As well as correcting how the site looks, you would need to ensure the following features have been set up:
viewport tag added,
CSS styles for mobile devices have been configured and added to a separate stylesheet file,
Apple icons added,
any unnecessary plugins have been switched off for mobile viewers,
the site has been optimised to load faster (see the next point).
Don’t know if your site already has any of those set up? Again, in the previous post you will find the SEO tools and reports you can use to give you the answer.
6. Optimise website loading with caching.
When someone gets to your website through a search engine, you’d want your website to load as fast as possible and provide the answer to the search query someone had.
We are all busy and short on time right? So no one wants to sit and stare at a blank screen waiting for your website to load for minutes at a time.
That’s why it’s important you get your loading time optimised with special WordPress tools like caching, gzip and minification of scripts and styles. It might sound complicated and technical – but it’s super easy to do.
Check your PageSpeed score as it is at the moment. If it’s below 70 – you need to do something about it.
Look at the list of your installed plugins – ensure there isn’t one already there that says something like Cache, caching, website speed. If there is one, but it’s not activated – you might either use that one, or proceed on.
Install the following plugin: WP Super Cache and activate.
Go to plugin settings, clicked Advanced tab and copy the setting from the sceenshot below (click the image to view it bigger!). Update settings to save – and you are done.
Just installing this plugin improved my website from 68 to 75 for desktop loading. How did yours do? Let me know in comments!
7. Secure and backup your website.
After all the hard work, time, effort and costs you’ve put into your website, you wouldn’t want it to get damaged or lost. Either because there was a one-off issue with your hosting, or because your site got hacked and deleted!
The best way to prevent these – is to secure your website against possible intruders, and back up your information and design on the regular basis.
There are various free WordPress security plugins available, the best one for your particular case will depend on your hosting configuration. The back up plugin we use for our website and for our clients is BackupBuddy. I like this plugin because it can run automated daily, weekly or monthly backups or either your database (with website posts and pages) or database + files (so images and theme). Backups can then be sent to get stored in a secure location like Amazon S3. And once you’ve set it up once, you don’t need to remember to do it again – there will be a reliable system that will run on autopilot!
Over to you…
What was your experience like with getting your website designed and set up? Did you find a great developer you can recommend to others? Did they ensure that SEO features for your website have been checked and implemented, as well as designing a wonderful look?
Share your experience in comments below.
And if you liked this post, or if you learnt something new, or gained an insight into how to improve your website – please share this with your friends using the social media buttons on the side.
Thanks for reading – and here’s to your wonderful, SEO-friendly, conversion-optimised and lead-generating business website!