“Build a beautiful castle and people will come”, this is the myth that many new businesses and website owners may have. User engagement is a precious currency that is extremely hard to earn until you do most of the things right. Building an exemplary castle is fine, but you need to make sure that people know it exists somewhere. Reaching it is just a click away.
It is not uncommon to see a company investing a lot of resources into app and website building only to fight high bounce-rate and miserably low user-engagement at later stages. We have been working in the field of custom web design for more than 14 years, and know it inside-out. Here’s our take and tips:
1. Clear Navigation: Google has clearly mentioned in its guidelines that you should create content for the users and not for search-engines. “Crawlers” or “Spiders”, as google bots are commonly referred to as, are becoming more and more human like and are smart enough to know how user-friendly the content is.
The visitors must find the navigation easy. The web-pages should be categorized under menus and sub-menus if required (creating many sub-menu places your content far from the homepage and introduces many “/” in the url; this is not ideal for search engines).
And one important point: every page that should be indexed in search results of search engines must be linked to one or more webpages through relevant anchor texts and inbound links. Crawlers index the pages they reach through (functional) links. Keeping links to all the pages on homepage is a good practice. Sitemaps are also important. The higher the number of inbound links (but not too high to come under the spam category), the easier it is for crawlers to reach your page and understand its relevancy.
2. Website Design: When visitors finally arrive at your website, they must find it enticing enough to stay and this is where designers come in. The design is way beyond artistic elements such as images and animations, it has more to do with user-experience (UX) and user-interface (UI). UI is essentially the nut and bolts that hold the UX.
The design of your website should be attractive and practical at the same time. In short, users should not feel stranded or get overwhelmed with the load of information on your website. Instead, the users should actively interact with the pages. This reduces the bounce rate, which is again a ranking signal for search engines.
3. Technical SEO: It decides how search engines see your website. If most of the content on your website are in the form of infographs, images and videos (the components that are unreadable by crawlers) it will obviously not rank for any search term irrespective of the use of targeted keywords.
Here’s a list of things you must take care of so that search engine don’t ignore you.
– Put a relevant “Title Tag” to every page and use keywords if possible.
– Use keywords in H1. You can use multiple H1 headings on a webpage.
– Put a descriptive alt-text on every image to suggest its content to crawlers.
– If your website has multiple videos, put their transcript as page content as well.
– Create inbound links using anchor texts. For example, multiple web-pages mentioning the keyword “mobile app development” should point to the page explaining “mobile app development” in detail.
– Make sure that no links are broken.
– Content locked behind the doors of “User Name” and “Password” may get ignored.
– Also ensure that no pages meant to be indexed are left stranded. One or more static pages must link to it. It could be homepage as well.
4. Providing Value: Time is a precious resource, for you and for your visitors. You cannot afford to waste time in building something wholly centered on your business where a user can only do little more than knowing about your profit-making machine.
You must provide some value. The content should educate users rather than promote your services. Your website is an ultimate opportunity to build trust with potential customers.
A good mix of user-friendly and search-friendly practices will yield good results for your business. Getting traffic organically and keeping visitors hooked to pages’ content should be the ultimate goal, and this is the ingredient for succeeding in an online business.