Designing your company website’s homepage is certainly no easy task: there’s coming up with a logo that perfectly sums up your business, deciding on a color scheme, and don’t even get us started on what copy to use to convert viewers into customers and customers into promoters. But you may have forgotten one important step: how are people going to find your page among the millions on the Internet? You can’t rely solely on social media or word of mouth, especially as a new business; you have to also consider homepage SEO which you may be surprised to find is all about your website design.
Now, if you set up your website correctly, maybe acquire a few quality backlinks to your homepage, you will most likely rank for your business name or brand. But just like with all rules, there is an exception to this. Let’s say your business name is something common like ‘Surf Shop’ (we know you’re far more creative than that, but for the purposes of this example, let’s go with it). If your company name is a keyword or phrase that people often type into Google, it’s unlikely that you will rank first in Google search results, no matter how high-quality your website design is.
With a brand name like this, your job becomes much more complicated and will require much more than a blasé SEO approach; you’ll have to take it into consideration as part of your website design.
You should go into your web design process with 3 main objectives in mind:
These are probably the two most obvious aspects of website design. You most likely spent a lot of your own time or money to have a logo developed that perfectly fits your brand so you should display it – preferably in the top left-hand corner – because it brands your website and makes it recognizable.
As for your navigation, there’s no reason to get too fancy with it, in fact, this will probably hinder your website design more than help it. Users will get frustrated that they can’t quickly find exactly what they’re looking for and exit right out of your site, giving it and your excellent website design no time to speak for itself. It should be easily visible and in a logical sequential order.
It’s extremely important that you explain what product or service you offer on the first page of your website in a clear and concise way.
Let’s use our guinea pig again.
Upon first glance, you know that the Array Digital service offering includes advertising, SEO, social media, and website design. That important information is above the fold and crystal clear, no scrolling or interpretation necessary.
You should also have a reasonable amount of additional information that goes into a bit more depth explaining the product/service that your company is offering. What do I mean by “reasonable amount of additional information”? It’s hard to put a number to it because it will depend in large part on the simplicity of your service offering. If you have a complicated, one-of-a-kind product, it may require a bit more than a simplistic product that most people know. So essentially a “reasonable amount of additional information” is going to be whatever makes sense to get your point across clearly and concisely.
You didn’t think we could possibly talk about SEO without mentioning keywords, did you? But here’s the thing: it’s not enough to try just to rank for your brand name alone. Of course, you might not rank in the top 10 for your additional keywords but not trying is going to get you absolutely nowhere.
Now, it’s important to make sure your keywords are woven into your website design naturally and truly build upon your brand. Google has caught onto keyword stuffing and will penalize your website if you do it. So how do you find keywords besides your branded keyword? There are many different tools out there such as the Google Keyword Planner or Moz where you can input the main concept of your website and choose other options from the list it pulls. You’ll want to choose some long-tail keywords as well.
This is a very important part of cohesive website design because it helps the reader to hone in on the most important aspects of the website and helps to break up an unattractive wall of text. Ideally, you’ll want to incorporate your keywords into the headers if they naturally fit and use only one H1 or Title tag on each page, followed by H2, H3, and H4s as needed.
Humans are visual creatures so a page with only text and no images is extremely deterrent to viewers. In fact, you should focus on making your homepage more visual-centric than text-based. We recommend using an image in congruence with every small paragraph of text. You’ll find a great example on our homepage where we’ve included a video testimonial alongside the text in order to break it up.
We highly recommend you do the same and the great thing about images or videos is that you can embed them with rich text in order to gain even more SEO value. And the above example leads us to…
People assume that everything you say about your brand is going to be skewed and a bit biased; I mean who is going to trash talk their own brand? Providing social proof gives you and your product/service credibility making it an important part of any homepage website design. This can come in the form of video testimonials like we’ve employed, good reviews from satisfied customers, or even just the names of some of your more high-profile customers.
We won’t spend too much time discussing these because they’re an age-old aspect of SEO but important nonetheless. You’ll want to include the name of your company at least once with a concise yet clear description of your company and what you offer. This helps the search engines to better understand and categorize your website and it gives potential visitors a little glimpse as to what they can expect upon clicking your website. What do you offer that others striving for the same keyword don’t?
This is most certainly a step that should not be left out of your website design. What is it that you want to achieve with your website? What is the step you want your visitor to take in order to turn them into a customer? You can A/B test this with different color schemes, positioning, and text but make sure it’s concise, clear, and direct.
The saying “less is more” is absolutely true when it comes to web design. A cluttered design doesn’t portray professionalism and will scare away any potential buyers. With these elements above and a simplistic web design, your website will be converting in no time.
Are you struggling with your website’s design? We can help! Give us a call: 757-333-3021.
Erik J. Olson is the Founder & CEO of Array Digital—a marketing agency that enables its clients to achieve their dreams, fulfill their missions, and impact more lives with their services.