Is Changing Your URL Structure a Bad Idea?

My Post - 2019-09-16T120716.410.pngThis week for “Ask An SEO”, we have a question from Emma in Yorkshire, UK. She asks:

“My blog has little traffic. If I change the structure of my URLs, is this a bad idea? Or, is it good to do it now whilst the traffic is low?”

The answer is the same as when we examine so many SEO other scenarios – it depends.

But why does it depend?

Your reasons for making a change of this nature should be deliberated carefully. Why are you making this change?

If you do not have well thought out business or platform reasons for doing so, it would be best not to entertain the effort.

However, there are times when such a change is unavoidable.

The most common reason to change the structure of your URLs is during a company rebranding, site migration or redesign where some site defining element like domain name, product types, topical focus, or platform changes no longer allows you to keep the same URLs.

There are good reasons to make a change that affects your URL structure, but the question is:

Should you change your URL structure?

The answer is if you can avoid it at all costs – do.

Why You Should Try to Maintain Your URL Structure

There are definitive reasons you want to try to maintain your URL structure, whenever possible, outside of SEO.

For instance, a change might break bookmarks users have saved in their browser from visiting your site or emails you have sent out.

Changing the URL structure, in essence, removes the direct link relationship the user has to your site. – Read more

5 Web Design Turn-offs To Avoid

My Post (68).pngThe Internet of today is a highly competitive place.

With so many individuals and businesses spending money and time on digital marketing and SEO — trying to outperform their rivals and sit at the top of the Google heap — it’s harder than ever to get users to visit any given website over another.

Given the difficulty of acquiring new visitors, you might think that all the webmasters of the world would do everything in their power to provide a delightful user experience and ultimately retain each hard-won customer, but we all know that there are a number of unpleasant and off-putting bad habits that seem to crop up time and time again.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common offenders making users leave in frustration…

1. The Site is Too Slow

In a world where almost everybody has a super-powered smartphone in their pocket, the Internet has become synonymous with instant gratification. A user who might be idly wondering about some half-remembered trivia can have the answer delivered to them via Google within a few seconds, and if they want to contact a friend in another country thousands of miles away, they can do so basically as quickly as they can type the Facebook or Whatsapp message.

We’ve all become spoiled by the speed and responsiveness of our hyper-connected world, and so when we click on a search result and sit on a blank loading page for three seconds or more it can seem like an eternity. If the original click was motivated by nothing more than frivolous curiosity, the user is very likely to think, “ugh, never mind” and try somewhere else.

The BBC reported in 2018 that they’d found that every additional second spent loading pages tended to cost them around 10% of their users, which in Internet terms is huge (by this measure, the passing of ten seconds can mean that your traffic is all but gone).

Google have also stated that according to their research, more than half (53%) of mobile users will abandon a site that takes longer than three seconds to load. After six seconds, it’s almost a guarantee that they’ll look elsewhere. 

Of course, the functional needs of the majority of websites are not very complicated — the average e-commerce store or blog site really has no excuse for taking longer than a couple of seconds to load. – Read more

How Does Web Design Affect SEO?

My Post (27).pngHow Does Web Design Affect SEO?

When we hear the term, “SEO” or Search Engine Optimisation, we usually think of the content of the website and the keywords that go with it.

Yes, that helps the site to rank higher in search engine results pages, but we are missing another essential aspect that contributes to SEO – Web Design.

The trick is, if the keywords and design are well-integrated together, will make the website to come on top.

Many businesses fail to recognise the importance of a professional-looking design and how it brings a significant impact on their marketing efforts.

It is a common misconception that web design pertains only to impressive graphics. No, it’s not. It is more than just aesthetics.

To understand the role of web design to your SEO efforts, we have outlined the crucial points below:

Images

It’s true that a picture paints a thousand words and the same principle applies in web design.

Images can capture the attention of the audience and lure them to the site.

When putting images to your site, you must put in mind that it affects the load speed.

That means that when a user visits your site with large images, chances are they will leave the site because it loads at a slow rate.

To solve this matter, images need to be compressed and optimised to load faster.

Another important thing is how relevant the images are in line with the content of the site.

The header, tagline, titles, and the captions must be connected to the images and be able to reflect the business.

Don’t go with the trends. Yes, they are popular, but if you want to boost your SEO efforts, you should think about long-term results.

Trendy designs are great, but it is a unique design that will bring a lasting impression and higher online visibility. – Read more

Web Design & Seo: Everything Designers Should Know

My Post - 2019-04-12T160607.830.jpgUX design and a solid SEO strategy go hand in hand.

Design is here to boost user experiences, inspire users to spend more time on your pages, and ensure they don’t leave your site frustrated. This way, it minimizes bounce rates and turns your visitors into leads and, ultimately, sales.

However, designing a spotless website is pointless if it’s not visible on Google. This is where SEO shines. It increases your site’s exposure in the SERPs, drives greater traffic to it, and gives you the opportunity to delight a visitor with your gorgeous website design and quality content.

When merged together, web design and SEO are indicators of your credibility and professionalism.

So, let’s see how to combine them for a better online performance.

The Basics of Implementing SEO and Web Design

In the world of digital marketing, building your online presence on strong foundations is critical. If some basic aspects of your site are poorly managed, you cannot expect your web design or SEO to deliver exceptional results.

Here are key elements of any strong web design:

CHOOSING A DOMAIN NAME

Stuffing your domain with a bunch of keywords won’t help. They look spammy and may hurt both your rankings and user experience.

Remember that there are millions of domain names out there. So, your goal is to make your domain name catchy and memorable. It needs to be relevant to your business’ focus and be easy to spell and pronounce. To make your site easier to find, it’s always good to use your brand name as your domain name, too.

INVESTING IN THE RIGHT HOSTING PROVIDER

Choosing the right hosting plan directly impacts your website speed, server performance, and uptime/downtime. These are all important UX factors Google considers while indexing and ranking your site.

BUILDING YOUR WEBSITE USING A RELIABLE CMS

A solid CMS is one that is easy to use and manage. You should be able to design your site however you want, without taking additional courses in web design. It should also help you make your site mobile-friendly, add social media integrations effortlessly, and use various content management tools. The most popular CMS option is definitely WordPress, followed by Joomla, Drupal, TYPO3, and Squarespace.

When choosing the right CMS for your business, ask yourself how it will impact your online performance. For example, does it allow you to customize your URLs? Can you make on-page changes without changing the URL? Some systems create meta tags (meta descriptions and title tags) automatically, so you should check whether you can modify them. – Read more

What Does PPC Have to Do With Website Design?

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If you’re relatively new to PPC, you might not think much about website design.

Instead, your focus is more likely on things such as ad groups, ad messaging, and conversion tracking.

After all, what does the design of your website have to do with PPC performance anyway?

Quite a lot, actually.

It isn’t just about how your website looks.

It’s also about performance.

While getting qualified users to click on your ads is a crucial first step in any paid search program, everything that happens after that click is equally important.

And if users don’t like what they see or experience when they’re on your site or landing pages, then your PPC campaign performance will suffer.

This post will outline just some of the ways your website design can impact your PPC program.

1. Responsiveness

We live in a mobile world. Whereas people might have saved some online activities (such as shopping) for their laptop or desktops just a few years ago, today more of these activities are being conducted on mobile devices, such as tablets and phones.

The percentage mix of mobile versus desktop visitors varies. But even B2B businesses (often the last holdout for “people don’t visit our site on mobile” type thinking) are seeing more mobile visitors.

It used to be that having a mobile-friendly website was the gold standard for mobile usability. But not anymore.

Today, visitors want and expect a responsive site. Unlike mobile-friendly sites, the content on responsive websites is dynamic.

Images and content blocks can reposition themselves on the page, depending on the screen size on which they are viewed. In this way, they’re easier to view and navigate. – Read more

4 ways to attract customers by simplifying your website design

My Post (80).jpgThere are times when customers want as much content as possible, as many design elements and drop-downs as possible.

They saw some cool sites and they wanted a little of everything.

That’s quite understandable, but we’re trying to explain that a site with a lot of content and complicated design is not necessarily easy to use, sometimes even having the opposite effect for users.

That’s why we’ve created a mini guide of 4 Ways To Simplify Your Website Design To Attract Customers:

1) Shorten the content of the website:

Web visitors rarely read line by line, usually, they only scan the web pages and their focus is only on a few words and images. However, there are many web pages that have content that is not needed to send the message. You can clean up a lot of the content of a website by limiting the number of words on the screen. Try refraining text to remove parasite words.

How can you do that? You can practice by expressing a single idea in a single paragraph – it’s a good way to write and helps readers “scan” the text with the look. Another way to write is the “pyramid” format, that is, start from the conclusion and add content along the way. A site that I really like for the simplicity offered is Apple.com.

2) Delete the visual decorations:

When it comes to visuals, it often happens that we want to add extra elements because it ‘looks good’. Everyone desires a design that looks good and unique. But although intentions are good, the end result may be disastrous. Try to have as little decoration as possible or other items that won’t distract the reader from what is important.

Below I attached a screenshot on the Vconcept.com page. It can be noticed that they do not have a lot of text, but the text is very difficult to understand and they have a problem with the fonts. They use plain text, underlined text, some words have a different color, and the first word that represents the company’s logo is a different font. We can also talk about all triangles flying in the background, a decoration that does not bring any benefit to the site. – Read more

 

Designing Mobile Websites For Voice Search

My Post (58).jpgIn January 2018 alone, consumers conducted over 1 billion voice searches. By 2020, it’s estimated that 30% of all online searches will take place without the use of a screen.

Needless to say, voice search is set to make serious waves in the not-so-distant future.

As more users seek out the convenience of using their voice to search online, you have to consider how this will impact mobile websites.

As of now, your main concern doesn’t need to be with designing a website that literally talks back to visitors. We have microinteractions and conversational UIs that can help with that. Instead, what you should do is consider the relationship between voice users and search.

Here are some things to think about as you approach the design of mobile websites in 2019 and beyond:

1. Place Answers to Common Queries at the Top

According to a Bright Local survey from 2018, 28% of voice users will call a business immediately after finding them in search.

So, while it’s important to have a well-designed website that appeals to local shoppers or customers, it’s just as important to get them the information they need right away. And when someone is using their phone and their voice to look up a website, chances are good they’re looking for a shortcut to get in touch.

But making a call isn’t the only kind of action a voice user might want to take in this instance. Think of other ways in which they’d want to engage with your client’s website or business:

  • To get the brick-and-mortar store’s hours of operation;
  • To find a live chat or support portal for help with a product or service;
  • To make a reservation or appointment;
  • To get information about current sales or free shipping offers.

Google/Peerless Insights provide some insights into the types of information most commonly sought out by voice users in search: – Read more

The Best Landing Page Designs to Inspire Your Next Layout

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Post originally published on Unbounce.com

Does beauty matter? Well, when it comes to landing page design, it can definitely influence how your offer is perceived. Ultimately, if your landing pages don’t look good—or follow some best-practices—your conversions can suffer.

Landing pages that are well designed often convert better than those that aren’t, and the difference can be dramatic. Done right, design should support the text on your page and work with all other elements to prompt visitors to take action.

But first: What are some design best practices?

Below we’ve rounded up tons of examples of amazing landing page design from Unbounce customers. But before we share them, let’s review some of the characteristics we typically see on great pages:

They’re Super Focused

A good landing page has only one objective: prompting visitors to do the one action you want them to do and convert. This is why many landing pages don’t have menus or a ton of external links—you want your visitor to complete the call to action, not navigate away or get distracted.

They Keep Scrolling to a Minimum

It can be great to include additional information about your offer on a page, but visitors should have everything they need—including the CTA button—without scrolling for days. While long-form landing pages can convert in the case of complex offers, consider using lightboxes to showcase extra info instead of adding tons of page sections. – Read more

3 Essential Web Design Trends in 2019

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New year, new design trends!

While everyone is talking about big-picture trends such as designing for voice and virtual reality, there are more immediate design elements that you can see (and deploy) right now for a more on-trend website.

From websites without images above the scroll, to ecommerce that disguises itself as content, to bright blue everything, here’s a look at what’s trending this month.

1. No “Art” Above the Scroll

Have you noticed how many websites don’t have images or video above the scroll? This no “art” design style used to be reserved for coming soon or construction pages that didn’t have images, but it’s trending even for website designs with plenty of other imagery.

If you have a message or statement that is the most important thing for users to know right away, this can be an effective design technique. It works because there’s nothing else to see. (Unless the user refuses to read the words and abandons the design, which can be a risk with this style.)

Make the most of a no art design with beautiful typography and strong color choices.

These design elements can serve as art on their own and help add visual interest to the words on the screen.

Each of the three examples below does this in a slightly different way.

We Are Crowd uses a strong serif-sans serif typography pair on a bright colored background. Users are enticed to delve into the design thanks to an animated scroller on the homepage. The no “art” design actually alternates between image and non-image panels, showing users there is something to look at. – Read more

7 Factors to Consider Before Major Website Changes

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Changing your content management system, joining domains, or migrating to a new domain can result in dramatic ranking changes.

These are seven considerations for preserving or improving your rankings before attempting these changes.

1. Site Architecture

A major consideration is how the web pages are organized. The organization of the web pages is usually referred to as the site architecture or the taxonomy. The ideal is to have logical category page structure, with additional sub-categories as needed.

There are two considerations:

  1. Maintain current site architecture to avoid losing rankings
  2. Update a poor site architecture in order to improve rankings

Maintain Site Architecture

To avoid upsetting good rankings, try to maintain current site architecture. This means keeping the same URLs and categories. Those are the two main considerations, assuming that the web pages aren’t changing.

If you need to merge web pages, choose the most popular URL and redirect the old URLs to the new URL. – Read more