4 Critical Web Design Rules
Content is King! If you want a website to generate backlinks and have quality content the search engines love, be sure to make it readable by both people and search engines. Search engines are working to give people quality results. Thus, they are looking for sites with quality content.
By building site content for people, not only are you getting back to basics (information dissemination to people via the Internet), you are creating a site search engines will love. So, build sites for people – and the search engines will come.
When creating a new website or redesigning an existing site, there are 4 critical rules which should be followed to make the site effective, functional, loved by search engines – and successful.
1️⃣ Easy to Read
When building a website, the first thing you need to be sure of is that your website is easy to read. When you write content, remember that most web site visitors don’t read every word of a page – in fact, they only scan pages to find what they want.
Break up Your Content
Break up your pages and use headers between major ideas so people scanning your site can find what they want quickly. Use meaningful headers between each paragraph or major idea – this helps with SEO. Headers should be created with the H1 through H4 tags for SEO. Always use good writing structure. Additionally, avoid long paragraphs that run on. You should break up any long paragraphs.
Colour and Fonts
To help readability, use high contrast colours between font and background. Black text against a white background may seem stark, but it is very readable. To make a website easy on the eyes, try an off-white background and a dark grey (almost black) text colour.
Things to avoid with content colour:
- Avoid vibrant background colours like purple or yellow. Such back colours make text difficult to read.
- Avoid using an image behind your text.
- Avoid using bright text colours on bright backgrounds.
One simple statement covers the font issue: simple and most used fonts are the best; the fancier the font, the harder it is to read.
Browsers used to have only the standard font set that is already installed on most computers, like Arial, Verdana, Tahoma and Times New Roman, in order to load them fast.
But modern browsers are now accepting third party fonts like Google Fonts and the choice is wide. Those fonts may slow down page loading during the first visit of a page that is using them as they need to be downloaded on the visitor’s computer. But as they are now widely used by millions of different websites, chances are the font your website is using are already on your visitor’s computer and there won’t be any decrease in speed. That’s why is always advised to implement the most used font sets.
As we usually work with font pairs (one for headings and titles and the other for main content) it is very helpful to consult font pairs listings when initiating a website design.
Keywords in Content
Of course, when writing content, not only should it be formatted to be readable, but it must also be consumable by not only people but by search engines. One way to make the subject of the content known to search engines is to use the keywords that people use to search for your site in your content. Be sure to use keywords in your header tags, your first paragraph and throughout your text. The keyword density should be between 4% and 7% – but any more than that could 1) be hard to read and still make sense and 2) be considered spam by search engines and banned. Keywords should also be used in your TITLE tags and your Meta description.
2️⃣ Simplify Navigation
The menus and links make up the navigation that the visitor uses to get from page to page in a site. Always plan a site around how people will get from page to page. A visitor to your site should be able to get to what they want within three clicks of their mouse.
Multiple navigation points make it easy to find things. Repeat the top menu and at the bottom.
Using links within your text to other areas on your site. You can create links so that they are good for search engine optimization (SEO). There are generally two ways to create links within your text:
- The wrong way: “For search engine optimization techniques, click here.”
- The right way: “Good techniques for search engine optimization are important to use.”
Using link text (anchor text) that describes what the link is about is the best way. Search engine web crawlers (programs that automatically index the contents of websites) visit your site, they “read” links. Spiders can index descriptive links into a subject or keyword category. Spiders have nothing to work with when reading a “click here” until it reaches the linked page.
This is Cross Linking or Internal Linking – use it as much as possible when it makes sense to do so when writing your content.
3️⃣ Consistent and Simple Design
At most, one or two layouts should be used in your site design. One for the homepage and another one for all other pages. As a reader browses your site, they should be able to get used to looking in the same place for your navigation, for your sub-navigation and your content. Further development about this may be found here:
4️⃣ Lower Page Weight is Better
Page weight is the total size of a page on your site in bytes – code, text and images. Your site’s page weight makes a big difference to your viewers. A lighter page weight is better for your readers because the page will download faster. The faster a page downloads, the faster they will get to the content.
What it Means to be Light
- No large images.
- Optimize images for the web and according to your website’s layout sizes.
- Use as small an image dimension as possible for the given design.
Visitors to your website should be able to find what they are looking for within about three clicks. Search engines should be able to navigate easily through your site. Making a site easy to read with consistent page design, and easy to navigate will make it easy to find information. When people can find information, they are more likely to refer to your site or link to it – which is exactly what you want to encourage. You will be on the way to building a readable and hopefully successful website that is loved by search engines if you follow these principles.