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Website Design and Development: What You Need to Know

Have you heard  of UX and UI? How about HTML, CSS, and JavaScript? Are you confused why we’ve suddenly rearranged the alphabet? We get it. There’s a lot to learn about web design and development and some of it can sound like a foreign language. 

Regardless of your coding and technical abilities, there’s no reason to have a bad website in 2021. Platforms like Squarespace, Shopify, and WordPress give everyone access to the tools they need to set up a website that works. 

Depending on your skillset and business, you can set up a site with the features that speak to your audience and drive results. Each platform has many options and it can be fun to customise them to your liking. Don’t let the variety distract you, though. There are a few key aspects of your website that are critical to its success. 

Responsive Web Design

This should go without saying, but make sure your website is responsive. Responsive web design means that it can adapt to any device from which it is accessed. Whether it’s a desktop, laptop, ipad or phone, your website will still not only look good, but function with ease.

We’ve come across many websites that look great on desktops, but don’t hold their appearance or function as smoothly on mobile devices. A responsive website will have images that resize accordingly, text and line breaks that make sense on the device, and a menu that is always easy to access and use.

Responsive web design is more important than ever with a Google update due in late 2021 that will stop listing websites that aren’t optimised for mobile devices. In the ever-changing digital world,  mobile first, responsive design should be a priority. 

Think about where your traffic comes from and what marketing strategy you’re following. For example, if you use social media to drive traffic to your website, a majority of users would be clicking through on a mobile phone. Adjust your website design accordingly. 

User Friendly

User Experience, abbreviated to UX, is key for your website. Do people enjoy spending time there? The better experience they have with your site, the more trust they have in your brand and your business. You are more likely to sell products, gain subscriptions, and attract traffic. 

A good indication of user experience can be found in a few key stats on Google Analytics. The Bounce Rate, Pages Visited per Session, and Time Spent on Site can give you an idea of how much users are or aren’t enjoying your site. 

User Experience is much more than just stats, though. Think about the entire journey your audience takes on your website. Like we mentioned above, make sure the design is responsive. Does the content on your website provide value to your audience? Does each element of your site make sense in its appearance and function? 

This last point involves usability and User Interface (UI). This is how intuitive your website is for visitors and how easy it is to use. For example, menus are typically listed in a top corner of the site and the navigation flows from top pages to subcategories naturally. Colors and contrast should be balanced for easy reading. All of this influences the experience that users have on your website. 

Generate organic traffic

While we recommend paid advertising wherever your budget allows, your website should also be strong in generating organic traffic. Organic traffic means that when your ideal customer searches for products or services that relate to your business, your website appears on the first page of results. To accomplish this, you need to follow a strong Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy.

SEO is a combination of exceptional content and technical optimisations. Both complement each other and need to be considered for a successful outcome. Search engines are very competitive, and many things influence your ranking in search results. 

The first is back links. This is when your site is mentioned by other credible websites that link back to your website. This tells search engines that your site is legitimate and can be trusted. It is an important element of any successful SEO strategy. 

Another influencer is keywords. These are the words or phrases that you want to appear in searches for. It could be things related to the products or services you provide, or qualities about your business. You can optimise your set to appear higher in rankings for specific keywords. 

Generally speaking, long tail keywords are easier to rank higher for than short tail keywords. Long Tail keywords are longer, more detailed search terms. For example, “yoga” is a short tail keyword that is commonly searched. “Yoga classes in Mildura” is a long tail keyword that is more specific to yoga businesses in Mildura.                       

To find out what keywords make sense for you in your SEO strategy, we recommend using tools such as SEMrush and ahrefs. There are also an abundance of free tools like Google Ads, Google Trends, Search Console and Ubersuggest help you to build a strong foundation for your SEO strategy. 

SEO can be overwhelming when you’re just getting started. Feel free to reach out to us and our friendly team can guide you in the right direction. 

Keep it up to date

Finally, as obvious as it may sound, keeping your website up to date is extremely important. It makes for a better user experience and helps your SEO strategy as well. 

Make sure your business hours are accurate and update them for holidays or special occasions. Communicate any changes to your company or service offerings. This lets visitors and search engines know that you are still active. 

Don’t let your content get old either. If you have a blog, publish new posts at least a few times a month. Regularly share industry updates, news, or case studies that are timely and relevant to your audience. Nothing is worse than visiting a website where you can feel the dust on the pages while browsing through them.

All in all, website development and design is not an easy job, however it is an incredibly important  investment for a business. If you have the skills to do it yourself, put in the necessary time and effort to do it right. Otherwise, we recommend hiring a qualified team to bring your website vision to life. 

A well-established website is one of the most important marketing tools your business has and is a long-term asset for success. Get in touch with our team if you’d like support or guidance in developing your site.

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