Have Optimization on Your Mind Before You Web Design

Before you design a website there are some things you must consider. Web design is nothing without the content properly optimized and a solid plan in place. Learn what you should do before you design.

The first step is to write an outline of the content you want on your website. Using this outline gives you the overall structure of your website and a roadmap for its navigation.

The next step is to write the copy. Make sure your copy is authoritative and make sure it conveys your knowledge of the subject. Back in the day when writing optimized copy, you simply tried to stuff as much of your keyword phrases into it.

The search engines have smartened up. Your copy can still contain your target keyword phrases, you just have to use them in a way that sounds like natural speech. Let’s look at an example.

You own a landscape company here in Las Vegas. Obviously you want to rank well for "Las Vegas Landscape Company", or a close variation.

Your home page cannot be a bunch of words with that phrase splattered all over it. It must read like you would be saying this to a person.

Before you could write, "Las Vegas landscape company that does landscaping for Las Vegas home owners. We also do tree trimming in Las Vegas, and lawn mowing."

Now having text on your site like this will definitely get you penalized by search engines. A more natural way to write it would be,

"ABC Landscaping has been helping Las Vegas home owners with their landscaping needs for over 10 years. Along with landscape design for new projects we can also maintain the look of your yard with our weekly lawn service. So next time you need tree trimming or your lawn mowed, remember ABC Landscaping."

Here we have included your major phrases and did it in a way that sounds like you are talking to a person and not a computer.

Now that we have a basic understanding of writing copy that the search engines will eat up, let’s see how we can optimize the design of the site so search engines can easily find all your juicy content.

Before we start a web design, we have to think about how a search engine is going to read your page. If your design has a header, an area for your content, a right column then the footer, when a search spider reads the pages, it will go across your header from left to right, then read your content, then your right column, and lastly your footer.

If you switched things and had a left column instead of the right column a spider has to travel a lot farther to get to your copy. Why would you intentionally want to make its job harder? Treat a search spider like a guest you are trying to impress, jump through hoops to make them feel welcome.

You often see eCommerce stores with left side columns for their navigation. This is mostly done because people look left to right, and you want your shopping categories right in front of your visitors faces. Ultimately you have to design your website for your visitors, so do what is best for the situation.

Design for Speed

The next part of the design equation is speed. When designing a website you have to balance the awesome graphics and small file sizes, which usually are contradictory to each other. There are certain things you can do to speed things up.

Google especially takes speed of page download very seriously, so it is an essential part of optimizing your website’s design.

When designing your artwork, you design a background with a nice gradient. Instead of uploading a giant image that will cover a person’s screen when they view your website simply take a 1 pixel wide slice of it and have it repeat. This way it will cover the entire screen no matter how big it is and your are loading an image that is a few kilobytes instead of one megabyte.

If you are using a CMS to build your website, take advantage of its caching feature. This will greatly help your site’s speed. If your visitors don’t have to wait long for your pages to load, it is easier to keep their attention on your sales pitch.

So next time you are looking for a web design company in Las Vegas and you have done your homework, make sure they don’t look like a deer caught in the headlights when you ask them to optimize the design of your website. We here at Graphic Web Design have been using this web design practice for over 8 years, so you are assured your design is optimized for not only the search engines but also your visitors.