Whether you’re starting a business website, a personal portfolio/blog, or just a website for entertainment, it’s very important to understand the trends in creating a great website. While there are many tools available to simplify the process, building a web destination you are proud of isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are some specific steps that must be taken in order to create a website both your visitors and the search engines will love.
1. Hire a Competent Web Designer
Don’t have a lick of web design experience? That’s okay, because there are plenty of professionals who are willing to take this complex task off your hands. The question then becomes how to find the right designer. First, think about your needs. If you want a site that functions as a blog, you may want to seek out professionals who have experience with blogging platforms such as WordPress. This targeted focus will make it much easier to find a designer that caters to your specific needs.
2. Honor Thy KISS Code
The KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) was originally used in the Navy to remind military members that the best approach to any design concept is simplicity over complexity. The same logic should be applied to building a website. While features such as Flash and audio seem to offer a lot of value on the surface, they can actually make your site difficult to access for both users and search engines. Therefore, it is best to keep your design simple, straightforward, and free of potential distractions. When deciding on the style and look of your site find high quality public domain images. Using a picture you love but don’t own in hopes of getting away with it is not KISS approved! Keep it simple, find a good and free image, and play it safe!
3. Make Navigation a Breeze
A frustrating navigation experience is one of the quickest ways to ensure visitors never return. If you have a lot of pages, consider implementing a menu in your header or footer to make sure visitors can easily find their way around — no matter where they end up.
You may also want to consider a site map for the same purpose. Coupled with a strategic internal linking strategy that sees you creating hyperlinks to other pages within your web architecture, a site map will make sure the search engines have a clear path to your great content. You can google several awesome UI/UX ideas on how to make sure your users don’t have a frustrating navigation experience.
4. Think Mobile
These days, users can browse your site from a computer, smartphone or tablet. If you don’t keep the mobile aspect in mind, then you are missing out on a huge opportunity to capitalize on a new market of engaged users. If you expect a high volume of traffic, look into responsive web design, a flexible trend that aims to make your site equally responsive across all platforms.
5. Produce Valuable Content
Before game-changing search engine updates such as Google Panda and Penguin came along, a few simple keyword tweaks and link building tricks could guarantee a high ranking in the SERPs and all the visibility benefits that come with it. These tactics are all but obsolete as search engines are now making the relevance and quality of content a top priority. Whether it’s a blog post, video or infographic, your content must not only be optimized for search engines, but valuable to the people you intend to consume it.
When creating your own website, make sure to make both design and content an equal priority — after all, if your audience is unhappy with the user experience of your website, they won’t return to read your next great post.