Our blog article today will be discussing the importance of updated, mobile-first web design strategies.  With our busy lifestyles, it is easy to ignore refreshing our websites. Above and beyond the obvious benefits of visually pleasing design, our philosophy is to concentrate first on building a responsive mobile-friendly site.

Benefits of a visually appealing website:

When we talk to new website clients they always ask us how they can get to the top of the heap on Google.  Great SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is very important.  We do discuss some options with them to promote their websites.  However, remember even the top websites are not always the websites we visit when looking for goods and services.

We all know how we feel when we click through to find an outdated web design.  Unfortunately, first impressions actually do matter.  We all search for good looking, sites.  Badly constructed sites rarely keep our interest for long.  A great looking site says we are professional and care about what our visitors think of us.

The trustworthy factor:

We have options and want to do business with someone we feel we can trust.  If a site is visually pleasing and the content is professional, we may want to stay on the site and learn more. Holding our interest could lead to a real purchase. This is called a conversion (converting a visitor into a buyer).  On the other hand, a badly designed, and outdated website will often result in a high bounce rate.  Visitors may click into the site but will then quickly leave the site.

We are judged by how professional our company is presented online.  If this were not the case, there would be no need for designers, programmers or graphic artists. Marketing individuals would have no purpose.  It would not matter how websites look and feel.  The target audience would be happy with going to one of the top sites on the SERPs to make a purchase, the first one they reach.  So even if the website is well-promoted and appears high on the SERPs (search engine results pages) if it is not visually pleasing,  your competitor with a better-looking site could prevail.

Conclusion on visual appeal:

Your website should act as an authority figure in your specific field.  You must appear professional to remain competitive.  An outdated and poorly developed website can be the “kiss of death” for business.  It should not only be visually beautiful but the website must function well.  It must look and function well on all devices being used for search.  A responsive and well-developed site will attract the right consumer and keep them returning for more.

The website’s mobile view:

As mobile-first designers, our work begins with developing the all-important mobile view.  There are three views for any new web design. These three views are the computer view, the i-pad view, and the all-important mobile view. We no longer need to be at a desk to search online and order goods and services.  Today, we can easily use our smartphones and order on the go.

When designing the mobile view, we must make sure this portion of the design loads quickly and provides information efficiently.  We avoid unnecessary design features that we can use on the computer view and the i-pad view.  Less is best for mobile view design:

  • Avoid using Flash software
  • Use a few bullets to list services
  • Keep content to a bare minimum
  • Make any buttons large enough to read
  • Compress images for quick loading

Updated sites allow more security:

Security for your website is of great importance.  Many sites are “hacked” if they do not have good security.  When your site is hacked, one of the ways you’ll know is you will see an unrecognizable message on the home page that you did not add.  The messages are usually terrible in nature.

Once the hacker is in your site, they can use your site as a spam server or for anything they wish.  When this occurs, your site is slowed down and most finding the site will avoid the site.  WordPress is the most used CMS software thus it is the most hacked software just due to the number of sites available for hacking.  What do hackers look for when attempting to take over a content managed site like WordPress?  They look for outdated software and areas of the site which are older and compromised so they can gain access to the site.

Outdated versions of WordPress and associated plugins have coding errors or loopholes that hackers have used to gain access to your site to install their own programs. Some of these are annoyance programs that do little real harm but the hackers like to brag about their exploits. Other programs are vicious and can ruin a company’s reputation by putting out false information.  WordPress and plugin developers update their software whenever a loophole or access point in their programs are detected.

By updating your website’s software, you are locking out hackers that are using outdated methods to try to get into your site. Running outdated software increases your chances of getting hacked. To keep hackers out of the site we suggest you update the site on a regular basis.  Whether the site is WordPress, Joomla, Drupal or another content managed site, regular updating is needed.

Choose a hosting company with good security:

The hosting account you choose must have good security and offer regular checks to stay on top of modern smart technology.  We refer our clients to Blue Host due to their great security practices and also because they offer the latest in modern software.  They also offer our clients a “free” SSL Certificate.”  This is a security layer that makes the website secure for visitors.  Google and top search engines today are very reluctant to give top listings to those sites which are not secure.  It is in your best interest to call your hosting company and ask for an SSL Certificate in case your site is not secure at this time.

Site content can’t be forgotten:

No matter how great your site looks and functions, if your content is old, or if the content is not relevant to what folks are searching for, you will not attract an audience.  Once you catch their attention with a beautiful entry page, you must then keep them interested by offering great content.  Re-do your content as you re-design your website.  The thing you don’t want to do is to publish a new re-design and retain the same “old” content which has been online forever.

A refresh of the home page content can help you get a second look and prove to the search engines that you are a real player (an authority website) in your industry.  Use good keywords and relevant phrasing that will keep their interest.

Follow these tips to get a fresh look with a re-design:

  • Re-write the home page content
  • Keep the mobile-view easy to use
  • Use bullets for quick reading
  • Use call-to-action elements (CTAs)
  • Use new technology methods for design
  • Check out new menu options (navigation choices)
  • Keep the other page content to a minimum
  • Use pictures that tell a story (your story)
  • Use great SEO methods

Search engine optimization:

Once you have a beautiful site and great content you must also promote your site to help people find you.  SEO methods and requirements are constantly changing.  As we build the site we put the meta-language into the backend of the site.  But you must go a step further and promote your site too.  How visitors find you are always changing.

In the past, we have encouraged our clients to have the most important content at the top of the home page so visitors could avoid having to scroll.  But today, since most of us use mobile phones, we don’t have any problem using our fingers to scroll.  Modern sites are using a menu called a “hamburger menu.”  This is a menu with little lines which will dropdown showing the pages of the site.  For computer views, we normally use a vertical or horizontal menu.  This is usually a choice from the client.

Faster loading websites and those sites with the best SEO are the ones Google will reward with a top listing.  Whether you go straight to Google and purchase Ad Word Campaigns or hire SEO professionals, keeping the site updated with SEO methods is crucial for your business success.

An updated and mobile-first website that loads quickly and offers top SEO methods is the right strategy for 2020.  Hurry back for more from the Design Wizards of Inside Design Orlando.  We are about everything design and programming.  Contact us for your next big design project.

Enjoy your week ahead!

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