#1: Assets: Own it.
Not about your website directly, but still critical. Own your domain registrar account (eg GoDaddy, Namecheap) and own your hosting account/service (eg Siteground). These 2 services should NEVER be in your designer or webmaster or SEO’s account. If your designer gets hit by a bus (God forbid), would you want to be held hostage to the complexities of claiming back control of your assets? Check if you own control of these two accounts. If not, get control of it.
#2: Hosting: High-Performing Yet Affordable.
Host your website on a high-performing hosting service that offers great customer service but yet affordable. Speed matters and it’s a one of Google’s ranking signals. The one service I recommend to clients these days is Siteground’s WordPress hosting service. (Don’t host at GoDaddy, please – they excel at domains, but they bite with hosting.) If your designer wants to host your website, run. Or have them build your website on your own hosting account.
#3: Framework: Scalable & Non-Proprietary
Ensure your designer builds your website on a framework (eg WordPress) that is scalable for growth (ie alot more pages) & performance, and it’s non-proprietary to their company, which means many more developers/designers can pick up the pieces if the first one is no longer on your project. Similar to #1, own and control your asset – and in this case, a well-known platform means you’ll have thousands of developers to choose from to work on your website in the future.
#4: Speed: Faster Is Better For Pageload Speeds
80% of worldwide search traffic is performed on mobile devices. Google has mobile testing tools to determine how fast your website is and calculates percentage of visitor loss due to slow page loading speeds. It makes sense your searcher, who is impatient and is used to fast sites, would bounce off your website if its slow. From compressing images, lazyloading images, deferring JS/CSS, browser caching and more, these all help towards lowering your TTFB (Time To First Byte) to 200ms so you decrease your bounce rates.
#5: Conversion: Relate. Solution. Convert.
Good copywriting matters here. No self-absorbed “We” speak, but “You” speak. What are the customers’ pains, problems or itch – relate to it. Propose your solution. Then request action (eg click, call, download, opt-in, view, visit, book etc.)
#6: Schema: Give Google Structured Data
Structured Data (also known as Schema) is an organized way of delivering information in the source code of your website that is pertinent to your business. This helps Google relate your business’ relevancy to your niche, locale, other assets, and more. A very good practice, most don’t use it, and could potentially help with ranking signals.
#7: Video: Engage Your Visitors With Your 24/7 Salesperson
An important ranking signal is ‘Time On Site’. If your visitors don’t see your website as relevant to their search, don’t trust your authority or don’t find value on the page they land on, they will bounce off your site, thus reducing your page’s Time On Site. This tells Google your page is of less value than your competitors. Not good. Embedding a video that speaks to what the visitor is looking for will engage them longer on your pages, and because it addresses their needs, will also increase trust in your expertise and authority, leading close to a conversion.
#8: SEO-Friendly: Build Your Website On Solid Ground, Not Quicksand.
Many of the above points can be considered to be under the umbrella of good SEO factors. Details matter. Stack the power to your advantage. Since we’re speaking to website design and not a focused SEO-campaign, I’ll ensure the above points are executed well, and basic on-page factors are in place.
#9: Mobile: Adaptive, Responsive and Friendly
As mentioned above, 80% of worldwide search traffic is performed on a mobile device. Ensure text and images automatically adapts and responds to smartphones and tablets, without the need to stretch text etc.
#10: Above-The-Fold: 2-Second Opportunity
Many designers focus on creative, without considering consumer psychology. Studies show visitors may give you a 2-second opportunity to prove your value to their search. The space/area they first see is called “Above The Fold” (an old newspaper print terminology) before they scroll down the page. That’s precious real estate. Use it wisely to connect to your audience, their pain, your value, and a call-to-action.
These 10 factors are heavily considered and executed when clients work with me. Do you want the same for yours?