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Let’s talk website design.

From a big-picture perspective, Google aims to push websites users like to the top of its search rankings: doing this far better than any other search engine out there as a behemoth within the industry. And you can bet they’ll do everything possible to stay on top and not become the next Yahoo (eek!).

Quick-loading websites with attractive designs get lots of love from searchers, so page load speed and bounce rate shine through as prominent ranking factors. Google also endorses responsive design as an SEO best practice, so it’s important to optimize your site’s loading speed. Here are some of the more important factors that affect how quickly your web pages load:

  1. Picture Compression

Your website should feature pictures—thus increasing visitor engagement and the time they stay on the page—but go light on these overall. Your services pages should include no more than one to two pictures, while you can use two to three (or even more, if it makes sense) for your blog articles.

Either which way, remember that pictures take the longest to load and especially so if they’re large files. Though you can compress them to speed up loading times, this process sometimes reduces their quality. Keep in mind 60-7% compression is in fact possible without impacting quality (at least to the naked eye).

  1. Images Combined with CSS Sprites

We apologize for the “geek speak” in advance! An image-loaded web page will send your PC to the server numerous times—thus slowing down page speed. Thankfully, sprites combine all background images on a page into one single image, noticeably decreasing page loading speeds.

  1. Website Browser Caching

In the digital world, “caching” refers to storing a copy of a page for a defined period of time. That specific version is then served up, rather than the most recent version of the page.

Rather than taking additional time to load the newest version of a page, your user gets a cached version. Most web pages—especially those for SMBs—don’t adjust this on a frequent basis. You can set this up so that the caching-management program checks the page for updates every week or so and serves up the new version. For all you WordPress users out there, this platform offers a variety of plugins that help simplify this process.

  1. Navigation Structure

Most web users expect small/local business sites to all follow a general format. This includes the ubiquitous Home, Services, About, Blog, and Contact sections. “Services” should highlight all your major services (obviously), and you might also tee up a “Locations Served” section as well.

Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Unfortunately, many sites in fact don’t adhere to this format in an attempt to get creative: frustrating visitors and costing you business. This behavior is reflected in your “bounce rate” analytics, revealing the percentage of visitors who view just one page on your website before immediately departing.

Wrapping Up

While this web design stuff clearly gets a little technical, it’s imperative you pay attention to it so you stay on top of the search rankings. Performing a technical SEO audit goes into much more depth and is thus highly recommended for your business.



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