There is no doubt that having a visually stunning, eye-catching web design is important. However, there is a lot more to a website than what you see. From SEO prep work to meta descriptions, a lot happens behind the scenes that enable websites to attract visitors and establish a loyal following. Let’s take a deeper look inside the components that make websites successful and worth investing in when developing and maintaining a business site. Here is an in-depth guide about website development.
When most people visit a website, they don’t spend that much time reading the content. You’re lucky if visitors absorb even a quarter of what is on a page. However, the more content visitors see and the more time they spend on your site, the more likely they will make the leap from visitor to customer. The problem is that most websites are bloated with content that is neither relevant nor engaging. Still, content is the backbone of a website. You need SEO-driven written content if you want your website to attract consistent traffic.
The best websites contain written and video content. Both that provide useful information to visitors. Content is only worth investing in when the content can provide a measurable value to either current or prospective clients. Quality content is customized to a specific target audience. It answers questions or solves problems. It provides useful information, and resources that are relevant to customers.
The best content is also creative and unique. The content won’t have as much as value if the same content can be found on a dozen other websites. You can make the content more original by addressing your audience directly. Sharing personal anecdotes, and adding depth to your writing.
Search engines like Google compare the content on your website to users’ search queries. For this reason, the keywords you use within your website can affect what type of visitors and how many visitors see your site. To optimize this process, you have to perform keyword research. Randomly applying what you think are important keywords to your product descriptions and other content can be hit or miss.
The usefulness of a keyword depends on how often the word is searched for in search engines and how much competition there is. For example, if your company sells dog toys. Dog and toy aren’t useful keywords because when users search those terms, they will receive millions of hits. You want keywords that are specific and descriptive. Keywords that target a designated audience can also be helpful.
A good way to start is to make a list of topics that are relevant to the business you are in. You also want to research your major competitors to get a feel for the keywords that they are using. The most important thing to remember about keywords is that you want them to align with audience expectations. If users search your keywords in Google and come across your website, the content they find on your site should be relevant to them.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO prep work is an essential part of any website marketing strategy. Search engine optimization involves a number of different elements, including keyword research, engaging content, back-link building, and local listings. SEO matters because it increases the visibility of your website, assists with audience engagement, increases brand awareness, and makes it easier to convert visitors into customers.
As you start learning the process of learning about SEO, a great place to start is Google. Google dominates the SEO conversation. At its core, SEO is about improving how your website ranks on popular search engines. The higher you rank, the easier it is for prospective clients to find you. Ideally, you want your website to appear on the first page of search results, especially for local search queries. Most users don’t click on listings beyond the first page of a Google search. Moreover, the first five listings receive 75% of clicks on average.
Search engine rankings also affect brand reputation. Users assume that the listings on page one are more relevant and more trustworthy than listings on page five. If you rank high on search engines, you will not only increase traffic to your website, you will also begin to establish your brand as an authority. In-depth guides about website development and SEO are everywhere online, so understand SEO encompasses many things.
A sitemap lists all the URLs that are a part of your website. You can either have an XML-sitemap or an HTML-sitemap. An XML-sitemap helps search engines find all the different pages on your website. This is especially useful when you know you will be adding new pages to your site over time or if your site has a lot of subpages. HTML-sitemaps make it easier for users to navigate your website, which, in turn, improves the user experience.
Sitemap indexing is fairly simple in concept but can be more complicated than it seems. That said, there is a lot to learn about indexing before publishing a website. Sitemap indexing is similar to library catalog systems. Search engines use bots to crawl websites and their sitemaps and incorporate the information they collect into an index. Having a well-organized sitemap makes the job easier for the bots and increases the chance that all of your pages end up in the indexes of the search engines.
Meta descriptions are the tags that summarize what a page on a website is about. Sometimes, the meta description appears as the search snippet that appears under your search engine listing, but sometimes Google writes their own snippets. While there is some debate over how much meta descriptions affect search engine rankings, when done properly, meta descriptions can not only increase your click-through rate, but also affect how search engines perceive the quality of your website and its content.
When writing meta descriptions, a few things are important, including the length of the description and the number of keywords you include.
Meta Best Practices
Best meta description practices vary since Google and other search engines are rarely consistent. Google has gone back and forth between promoting a 165-character limit and a 300-character limit. While 150-165 is considered standard, it is worth experimenting with different character lengths to see what returns the best results because Google frequently changes its guidelines. As for keywords, it isn’t worth cramming every keyword you can think of into the description, but you do want to include keywords that you know your target audience will be searching for.
With that in mind, research is essential. You want to research your target audience and learn everything you can about them, especially their search habits. You also want to research competitors to see what their meta descriptions look like. Then, you can think of ways to make your meta descriptions superior to the competition.
Another factor to consider when developing a website is loading speed. The reality is most of your prospective customers aren’t patient. If they click on the listing for your website and the site takes too long to load, they’re going to move on to the next listing before they ever even see your website.
When users do continue onto your despite slow loading speed, it is still problematic. Their first impression they have of your site is bad even before they read any of your content. You want visitors to your site to be in a good mood when they encounter your brand for the first time. This won’t happen if your loading speeds aren’t up to par. Plus, if the site continues to lag after the initial load, there is no way the visitor will stay on the site long.
Several factors can affect the speed of your website. One factor is the choice of template you use. Some web design templates come with unnecessary features that can slow down the site. Generally, custom-designed websites will be faster than sites that use templates because you can choose to only incorporate essential features. Using lots of large images, having carousels on the pages, and the hosting/content delivery network you use can also influence loading speed.
More Than Meets the Eye
At first glance, website development and management can seem simplistic, but there is a lot that goes on behind the scene that affects whether or not a website succeeds. Understanding the role search engine optimization, sitemap indexing, engaging content, keywords, meta descriptions, and loading speeds play in giving your website the visibility and utility it needs to drive traffic and convert visitors to customers is crucial. We hope you found this in-depth guide about website development useful. We are always available to assist to you in any way we can.