If you’re building a brand, you need to have an online presence for long term success and audience growth. Ideally, that would include a website and social media presence on multiple platforms, as well as digital marketing and ad placement, but at the very least, your online presence should include a website. Building a website can be intimidating if you’re unfamiliar with the tools, but with the right support systems, you can put together a quality site that meets your needs and holds space in search engines. Many popular website builders available today make putting together a website easy, but to create a well-designed site that increases user engagement and accessibility for a diverse audience, it’s important to understand core values that make up good web development. At MLT Group, we specialize in SEO-based designs for websites with quality content that users will respond to positively. When you work with us to build your website, you benefit from our extensive understanding of effective web development in Minneapolis, MN and across the country.
It doesn’t matter if you own a business, manage a nonprofit organization, or are a public figure, you will benefit from a quality website. As soon as you establish a website that operates as your own platform, you can start to grow your brand with search engine optimization, digital marketing campaigns, and more. Your website will be the central component of your digital marketing. Quality web development for your website should be guided by four core values in order to achieve the best site possible for your brand and users.
You probably have something in mind for the aesthetic design of your site, but remember there are other aspects of design that are critical for making an effective website. These design aspects don’t have anything to do with the superficial “look” of your brand, but they are key in formatting a site that makes your ideal aesthetics work for you in other ways.
When you design your site, you want to make it as user-friendly as possible. First of all, this means a fast loading time is a must. A slow load time causes significant bounce-back results, meaning users immediately go back to the search results page. About 50% of users report bounce back if your site takes longer than two seconds to load. Additionally Google penalizes sites that take more than two seconds to load, negatively impacting search rankings. Make your site design load quickly by reducing cluttered code, eliminating media that slows things down, creating caches, and implementing technical SEO tactics.
If you’ve got a fast load time down, make your site user-friendly by reducing cognitive load without compromising key information. This essentially means relying on a standard of simplicity. Have a well-organized site with pages that each have information easily available. Text content should be written concisely and plainly, however word counts are important to Google and other search engines so don’t skimp on text… just be sure it reads well and is visually pleasing in the way it is displayed. For many sites, that text should also use objective language. Making use of the negative space will also help break chunks of information apart to be more easily digestible.
Another way to design a user-friendly site is by using convention without compromising your design aesthetic. There are certain conventional design standards used on the internet, and users are accustomed to those standards. Drop down menus, contact forms, tags, and having a home button in the top left corner of a page are all examples of conventions you can use to make your site easy to navigate.
When you design your site, think about how you operate as a user. Think of some of the most confusing and difficult websites you’ve come across and avoid the things that you didn’t like about them. Even some large companies with plenty of access to quality designers have been called out for their poor site designs like RiteAid (poor use of negative space and difficult to find what you need) and the Yale School of Art (confusing graphics, unreadable overlays). If you sacrifice good design for your aesthetics or if you have too much information on your page, users are less likely to enjoy interacting with your website.
Implementing search engine optimization (SEO) is how users find your site through search engines. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing use algorithms to find sites and display them in a specific order. Using SEO will increase your chance of your site ranking highly among those results.
There are many ways to implement SEO, such as including keywords in your text content, creating meta descriptions and title tags, and using geo-locations in your H1 and H2 tags. Combining all of these SEO techniques is important to a comprehensive search engine optimization of your site. On social media platforms, for example, hashtags are a basic SEO-like tool. Building SEO into your site takes work, but it’s worth it because it will exponentially increase your audience over time.
One example of effective SEO is building a blog or news page into your site and posting new content regularly. Google and other search engines favor fresh, original content in their algorithms, and you can incorporate keywords frequently and with variety in blogs. Additionally, blogs give you the opportunity to give more information to your users and increase the nuances of your brand.
MLT Group offers comprehensive SEO services for many aspects of your site, including onsite SEO, content development, link building, and search engine marketing. Incorporating SEO into your site yourself is doable, but it does take time to do the research and build the content. Getting help from a professional like MLT Group lifts the majority of SEO from your shoulders and helps you enjoy a better, more effective website.
You never know what device someone will use to interact with your website. Smart phones, tablets, PCs and other screens all have different dimensions and they handle code slightly differently. Because of this, it’s important that your website is adaptable to all kinds of device displays.
When you’re building your site, keep in mind it’s easier to optimize a site for mobile, tablet, and computer screens from the start, rather than after it’s been built for one type of screen. To alter your site’s designs to fit smaller screens, think about how to shrink a page down without making text and images microscopic. Make sure the page will still load quickly (you can test load times with Google’s speed tester), and ensure your content is reorganized and resized appropriately instead of having text and media jumbling on top of each other.
If possible, the ideal solution for mobile optimization is to build your site using responsive coding. Ask your website professional how this works.
Most brands make it their goal to cater to a diverse audience, but to do so, you need to make your website accessible to people with different abilities and needs. This includes people with hearing, vision, cognitive, and processing impairments. That poses some challenges because a website is often a fully visual resource. However there are many ways to create accessibility in your site.
MLT’s site, for example, has several installed profiles that make it possible for people with disabilities to interact with our content. Users can adjust the profile of our site to be seizure safe, have enhanced visuals, make it easier to focus on information, and eliminate potential distractions. We also have keyboard navigation and screen reading options for blind users. For even more customization of our site profiles, users can adjust content such as resizing font, letter spacing, alignment, contrast, and text colors. Click the blue circular button in the bottom left corner of our website to learn more.
Following ADA compliance guidelines for website accessibility can give you a good starting point for making your site useful for all kinds of users. Making your site accessible is not only an ethical decision, it avoids potential fines from legal action, and it gives your audience a better opinion of your brand. Making this an important part of web development.
Design is the main component of core values for website development, and with it comes SEO use, adaptability, and accessibility. With these in mind when building your website, you’ll be on the path to establishing and improving your image, growing your audience, and making a space for your brand.