As a webmaster, it is your job to constantly experiment with animated and elaborate designs to create beautiful, mind-blowing website designs. It is normal for you to be eager to include images, themes and media files that are captivating and alluring.
But, even after putting all that effort, why does your website have low to no traffic?
It might be that in the temptation of trying out new design elements and making your website appear visually aesthetic, you have forgot the most important aspects of web design –amazing user experience and search engine friendliness.
The greatest websites are those that are created and designed for both the users and the search engines.
Your intention of cajoling your visitors with a mindboggling web design might just play out negatively if you are not careful. Once that happens, you will find yourself at the bottom of over 1.8 million websites that exist today in the world and mind you, the number is only increasing as you read this.
Irrespective of whether you are redesigning your existing website or creating a new one, here are some of the common web design mistakes to avoid unless you wish to hurt your SEO.
Mistake 1: Forgetting H1 tags
You missed the H1 tag? Where? Homepage?
Ok, just imagine entering a website that is designed beautifully. The images are on point and so is the font and color scheme. Browsing through makes you feel like you’re in one of the gardens in Japan.
But, what’s the point? Nobody will ever find the website on the search engines!
Why? Because the developer has committed the cardinal sin of not putting the H1 tag.
Maybe the developer thought that the H1 tag had no place for it in the front page.
Unfortunately, the search engine crawlers takes offense of such things. Now they don’t know how to determine what the page is all about. The search engine crawlers feel lost and so, the website lost its chance at ranking.
Unless you want that to be your website, always remember the H1 tag, especially on the homepage.
Mistake 2: Text in images
Have you noticed texts written all over the background images on a website? Yes, it is quite widespread and that is sure to make you wonder why this is a mistake.
First, search engines cannot see images or pictures the way you (people) see. So, search engines actually cannot read whatever is written on the image. Therefore, it is the equivalent to not have included any text at all.
Second, this tactic is not responsive. So, when seen on a mobile device, the button and the text appears small. And you already know what that leads to – poor user experience!
Mistake 3: Really large media files and images
So, you believe in ‘go big or go home’?
Yes, of course, good looking imagery makes a website look beautiful and attractive. But, that does not mean you go all out!
Be careful with the size of your pictures and media files.
Really large videos and images adversely impact a website’s speed, leading to poor rankings.
Google recognize and reward websites whose pages load swiftly.
How can you ascertain if the content on your website is too large for Google? Use Google PageSpeed Insights Test to quickly scan and know what needs to be fixed.
Mistake 4: Infinite scroll
Have not yet heard of the infinite scroll? Surprising because this is actually a very popular technique.
Infinite scroll is when a page gives the visitors the ability to get more and more information as he or she scrolls down.
Sounds great, right?
But, if it is not done correctly, your website’s SEO performance can be gravely hurt.
Wondering how? Here’s an example…
Let’s say that you have 50 blogs on your website and visitors are able to view them all as they scroll down. It’s actually quite convenient except for the slight hiccup – by default, the settings implemented during website design allows only 10 blogs to be shown per page and this results in the search engine crawlers registering only those 10 blogs.
Search engine robots crawl websites through links, and therefore, it is not possible for them to know that there is more content.
Fortunately, there is a way to make infinite scroll pages search engine friendly and you will find the answer in Google Webmaster Blog.
Mistake 5: Unfriendly to mobile devices
Statistics gathered from Search Engine Watch reveal the following:
- 72% of consumers wish for mobile-friendly websites
- 74% users will return to a website if it works smoothly on mobile devices
- 67% of consumers are likely to purchase products and avail services from websites that are mobile-friendly
If these statistics are not enough to convince you, Google’s mobile-first index should.
Since Google seriously began rolling out mobile-first indexing, it made mobile responsiveness a must-have web design element. It is no longer a choice. In fact, the search giant recommends mobile-friendly websites and gives them more preference when it comes to ranking.
A mobile-friendly website offers superior user experience and works seamlessly across all devices. It also reports a much lesser bounce rate and higher engagement rate.
You don’t want to annoy your target audience and shoo them away. But, a website that does not work properly across mobile devices will make your audience feel frustrated and they will leave you for your competitors.
It is high time that you recognize the importance of having a responsive website and implement the same in your website design process.
Do you have any experience with designing websites? Is there any suggestions, recommendations or warnings that you would like to give? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.