checklist

A “search engine friendly website design” means that certain steps were taken to make sure that the search engine bots could easily read and index your website. The goal is that when people go to Google or another search engine that they will find your website.

Please keep the following tips in mind about the overall design of your website to make sure that it is easy for the search engines to read, interpret, and index your site for the most appropriate keyword phrases. And deliver your site in the search results when people type in a particular relevant keyword/phrase.

Your website designer will want to know what kind of site they are creating. Is it for a local business? Are you selling something online? Do you provide a service? How can your prospects, customers, or patients buy or order products or services? These are the same questions that the search engines will be trying to figure out as they read and index your website.

1. SEO Friendly Domain

Puchase a domain that is easy to remember and easy to see. Some domains with 4 & 5 words strung together are impossible to read or remember. Domains easy for people who know you. Pick a domain easy for a person to see and remember. Domains easy for the search engines. As we run out of short domain names some people have resorted to adding dashes – this is great for the search engines. And it makes a longer domain easier to see-remember. And if you optimize your website appropriately – people will not have to type in the dashes, your site will be found by any number of keywords. SECURE SSL – The SSL is the “secure sockets layer” that provides security for your website. It used to be that this was required for website that accepted credit card information. But now Google has made it a requirement for all business websites. If you are a 6th grader and are creating a blog for class, you don’t need the SSL, but if you are running a business on the Internet, you do need to secure your website.

2. Internet Branding

In the SEO world, your website is often the center of your internet branding, your digital footprint. Consider your logo, branding colors, and any other branding elements in your website design and extend them to other Internet properties. Don’t forget a branded browser icon, you favicon – this gives visibility to your site’s brand and the icon may appear in search results, browser tabs, and elsewhere on the web. If you hire a graphic designer ask for variations of your logo to be made in sizes that are appropriate for your website and social media (you’ll need a square shaped profile logo and some kind of landscape/rectangle shape cover photo or banner design. If you can’t afford a professional, there are sites such as canva.com where you can design a logo and the size requirements for varying social media channels.

3. Your Navigation … the Main Menu, Mobile Menu, Footer Menus

It should be pretty obvious in your menu items that you are a business doing business on the internet. Practically all business websites should have an 1) About page, 2) a Product, Service, Shop, or Practice page, and 3) a Contact page. You have 5 seconds to catch someone’s attention, if your navigation gets to busy, flowery, or creative, you could be losing people. Home page – make sure your home page has some text that the search engines can read. Note: search engine computers are not yet good at reading pictures or graphics, so the text must be editable. It is best if you speak to your target audince about their pain points. Reserve terminology about how great you are for your ABOUT page. Try to include quick links to your shop, products, &/or services.

4) The Home Page, The First Page of Your Website (and sometimes the only page)

Before delving into the design of your home page please remember … people do NOT read your website like a book. Even though the home page is the first page of your website, often website visitors will NOT even come to you website via the home page, they could “land” on any page of your website.

Please do not use your home page to talk about you, about your company. The home page should be used to address your prospect’s pain, i.e. why they need your products or services. Reserves all the stuff about how great you are for the About page.

The home page should quickly link to key information about your business.

5) About Your Business, About You, About Your Staff/Team

About page – The about page should be about the company. Show that you are a legimitate business, note if you have an LLC, INC, or sister company. It’s useful to let people know if you are a local brick and mortar business, a global ebusiness, or other business. Briefly identify your service area, if your service area is extensive link to a Service Area page. If you have a key team or departments, highlight them here and provide links for more detalils. Create a stand-alone page for the owner(s)/founder(s) and link to them. Show even more about what your company is about by including a mission statement. Do you have a Giving Back initiative, a green initiative, or an ethos – if yes, begin the conversation here an link for more information. If you have a testimonial or review page and don’t have room in your main menu – make sure to include a link here.

6) What Others Say About Your Business

The Testimonials Page… people will not value a testimonial on your website as much as one on a third party site like Yelp or Facebook Reviews. However, there is value to having a single page where you highlight a few testimonials for key products/services or for common problems. Consider creating sub-titles that highlight the problem or savings.

7) How to Contact You

The Contact page is much more than the means to connect with you. Your business will have a better chance of appearing in searches for your area if your customers can see your location. This page should identify the best way to communicate with your business – phone, email, online forms, stop in at an address, or book an appointment. If you have a physical location, include a map to help make you look legitimate. If you don’t have a office open to the public, do whatever you can to provide information that shows you a business doing business on the Internet.

8) Your Business – is it a Product, Service, Shop…?

Often the most common mistake I find when meeting a new SEO client, is that in a 5-second peruse of your website, it is unclear as to what your business is. If you sell products, have a Products page or a Shop. If you sell services, have a Services page or promote a Book-an-Appointment. Make it super easy to see that your website is a business and not just an information site or a blog.

There are many, many more elements to designing a website that works for you, your prospects, and the search engines. Use this checklist to get started or to ask questions of your website developer.

As an SEO specialist, I do NOT design website, but I often work with web developers for new website or redesigned websites.

Contact us if you want to schedule a consultation.

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