Most businesses today have at least one dedicated website. But simply setting up a business website is not enough to get noticed in a highly competitive online marketplace. Too often businesses, large and small, design websites without giving any thought to the SEO strategies which might help to boost their chances of success on the web. By the time business owners get around to considering search engine optimization, their website is set in stone and often needs to be redesigned from the ground up.
By integrating SEO into a website’s initial design, business owners can pave the way for greater visibility on the internet, and can ensure that their websites are primed for any updates and modifications that will be needed as the site develops. Incorporating SEO techniques into your design decisions also makes for a much more user friendly website, and user experience is quickly becoming a major factor in the way Google and other search engines assign page rankings.
Let’s look at 5 simple tips for SEO friendly website design.
Choosing a Content Management System
A content management system, or CMS, allows business owners to create, edit, modify, and publish content to the word wide web. There are quite a few CMSs to choose from, but by far the most popular and user friendly is WordPress. Some might argue in favor or Drupal or Joomla, but for small to medium businesses WordPress remains the CMS of choice. They offer the most intuitive user interface, and they make it extremely easy for even the most inexperienced of website owners to add pages and modify existing content on a business website.
Also, using a CMS makes it easy for webmasters to create web pages and effectively publish them on the internet. The CMS you choose will ultimately depend on the type of site you are designing and your experience working with code.
Installing SEO Plug-Ins
One of the reasons WordPress is so popular with smaller businesses, is the simplicity of so many SEO plugins, as mentioned on Search Engine Watch. Some of these plugins and features greatly simplifies the writing of meta-descriptions and the creation of SEO specific URLs, while others helps with speeding up your website using caching. Most content management systems offer similar services, though it must be said that WordPress’ are much easier for beginners to master.
Create a Blog Space
One of the keys to a successful SEO strategy is the ongoing creation of new and interesting content for your clients or customers. You may not have thought about a blog yet, but down the line you will want one. When designing your website, and laying out the page structure, create a section dedicated to your blog. You will also want to create a section for archived blog post that you want to keep available for new and returning visitors. Both sections should be easily accessible from the site’s main menu, and should be optimized for maximum landing page potential. Having a blog will dramatically increase your content marketing strategies and increase your authority on the web in your space. Having a blog is a must, no way around it.
Use Google Webmaster Tools to Monitor Your Site
After your website has gone live, you can use Google Webmaster Tools to monitor the way it is performing, and to assess the site’s traffic stream. This free tool will also allow you to see how Google’s spider-bots are crawling your site, and if they are having difficulties identifying the SEO information they need to assign page ranking. With this information in hand you can make any modifications you think will help your site perform better for the search engines.
Designing a website is a long process, and these few tips are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to combining web design and search engine optimization. But hopefully these tips will illustrate the value of incorporating SEO ideas into a business’ initial website design. By considering SEO strategies at the design stage, business owners can ensure that their new website is ready to perform well on search engines, and primed for the updates and modifications that will be needed as the site grows.