The aesthetic of a webpage is naturally one of the most important aspects of a website’s design and structure. A site can have a squeaky clean backlink profile, super-fast loading time, and a seamless payment gateway, but if the pages are ugly, then visitors are not going to hang around for long.
That being said, those of us who swoon over responsive UX and handsome sans serif script, can occasionally neglect other aspects of a website’s overall appearance that are equally important. For those soon to embark upon building a new site, besides the aesthetic of the webpages, here are three front-of-house factors that require attention from the outset.
The domain name is perhaps the sole most important aspect to any website. It is essentially a site’s billboard and shop-window to all internet traffic. Though choosing a domain name may initially appear to be straightforward, there are a variety of pitfalls to be wary of. A good domain name needs to simultaneously hold an affinity to the brand in question, be memorable to those surfing the net, SEO friendly, and to shine a little light upon what is to be found on the website.
Brands who are already operating offline will naturally hope to use their current company name as their domain URL. However, obstacles can sometimes arise. For example, a gallery going by the name of Speed of Art, will want to think twice about the URL speedofart.com. Similarly, the desired domain name may already be taken (even if it is not being used). For cheap domain registration and to verify the availability of domain names, one can use domain checkers like this one offered by 1&1.
If the .com is occupied but other top level domains names (TLDs) are available, it is advised to avoid opting for the other less common ones simply to be able to use your domain name. The .com TLD is seen as the most authoritative, and therefore to register. For example, choosing bostonshoes.net when there is already a bostonshoes.com, will only split traffic and confuse customers. Additionally, it is best to avoid .info and .biz, as they are commonly regarded as suspicious at best, spammy at worst. Geographically specific TLDs are fine if the site only needs to be accessible to those in a certain region. Don’t forget that .co.uk or .au websites will only appear on the SERPs of the British and Australian Google respectively.
Social media marketing is much more complex than it seems at first, however, for any serious business there is no way of avoiding it. Whether you are keen or not to enter the world of Pinterest, Twitter, or Instagram, your customers are already there, and they are having conversations about the products and services in your industry. It is integral for you to be involved in that conversation.
As social media becomes steadily less social and more an open field for companies to drive up traffic to their sites, slick and professional profiles need to be carefully crafted, designed and managed in synchronization with your site. The Facebook page, Twitter feed or Pinterest board may be the sole source from which a customer has an impression of a company. All these social media platforms offer limited scope for personalized designs (Twitter even less so, since they reinstated the stark white background last year).
This means that companies need to choose their banner and profile pictures carefully (keep it as simple as possible) and ensure that their bio is coherent and straightforward. Ensure that you pave a smooth path for your followers to take between your social media channels and your website.
SEO operatives never tire of telling us that ‘content is king’. Though we may be tired of hearing it, the statement remains sound. Though one might argue that SEO purposes are concerned only with Google’s ‘site-crawlers’ and the back-end workings of a site, as search engines become more sophisticated, what they recognize as important, clean and valuable on a site, becomes closer aligned with the user experience of visitors. From the moment that a site goes live, webmasters need to have fresh and well written content to hand. And plenty of it too. Begin building up a bank on blog posts now.
The same applies for on-page texts. Google continues to highly rank landing pages with plenty of well written content. Ensure that the most important and relevant points of this content are at the top of the page and can be easily extracted. Break up the in depth follow-up content with pictures and diagrams. And, of course, be sure to use a handsome sans-serif script.