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I’m Jacob Cass, the founder of JUST™ Creative. I’m a multi-disciplinary graphic designer, working with clients all around the world. My specialty is logo & brand identity design. JUST™ Get in touch.

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Designing Websites with SEO and Conversions in Mind

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SEO Eye

This is a guest article contributed by Jennifer Bailey*.


If you’re running an online business, you’re not alone. Millions of other online entrepreneurs are out there trying to earn livings. To stay ahead of the competition, you need to get educated about search engine optimization (SEO) and social media. You also need to know how to design your site to be as conversion-friendly as possible. If terms like “SEO” and “conversion rate” throw you off, take heart: It’s easy to get on track. You could also enlist the help of a digital agency, one such example is GearyLSF.

Keep it Simple

Drawing visitors to your site is just the first step in the online sales process. After all, they can just as easily click themselves away from your website. That’s a lot less likely to happen when your site has a clean, stylish design. In keeping with the theme of simplicity, you shouldn’t ask too much of your visitors. If they have to jump through a bunch of hoops just to get to the shopping cart, you are doing it wrong. The simpler and less cluttered your site is, the more likely someone is to stay and explore; the easier you make that visit, the more likely they are to become customers.

Entice Visitors to Click

The language that you use in your site’s copy has a profound effect on how visitors react. Within seconds of landing on your page, visitors need to be enticed into clicking their mouse buttons. Those clicks represent legitimate interest that can be used to gauge the success or failure of your site’s design. You can encourage clicks by using terms like “sign up now,” “learn more here” and “send a comment.” Those words are action-oriented and will spur visitors to click the associated link; from there, it’s much easier to turn them into customers.

There are many other ways to improve conversions on your site. Play around with its color scheme to see how color affects its conversion rate – you’re sure to be surprised by what you discover. Heat maps can also give you a feel for how various design changes affect the way in which people interact with your site.

Include Calls to Action

Calls to action are absolutely crucial when it comes to generating online sales. Visitors want to be told what to do – they don’t want to be left in the dark. If your site leaves them scratching their heads, they won’t understand the point. In that case, they will leave without buying anything. Once again, the terminology that you use will have a strong impact on prompting action. Phrases like “buy now” and “add to cart” provide clear instructions. You need to pique a visitor’s interest and get them to close the deal as quickly as possible.

The content on your site should always be rounded out by clear calls to action. After explaining a product or service, include something like “click here to place your order now” or “learn more about this service here.” Links within the calls to action will lead people to the next step in the process, which should be simple and streamlined.

Maintain Relevancy

Good SEO relies heavily on relevance. The search engines aren’t going to rank your site too well if it doesn’t use relevant keywords. If the backlinks that connect to your site aren’t relevant, your ranking will suffer, too. At all times, keep the importance of staying relevant in the back of your head. Just because another site is willing to link to yours doesn’t mean that you should take the bait. Every little decision matters, so use common sense. You want to attract people who are looking for what you sell, after all – there’s no use in tricking anyone. Reading websites like SEOMoz, SEOBook or SEOMoves will make it easier to see how your campaign is faring; for a reasonable annual fee, you can log in to its simple interface to keep track of your site’s statistics and other data.

Prioritize Keywords

Keywords are at the heart of any successful SEO campaign. Once you’ve selected a great batch of keywords and key phrases, make sure to use them properly. Don’t stuff your content too full of keywords, because that will get you in trouble with the major search engines. Instead, use your keywords as naturally and relevantly as you can throughout the content on your site. Don’t forget to use keywords and key phrases in your anchor text, which is the text that makes up a hyperlink. Sprinkle keywords into titles and headers, too, to keep your site well organized and easy to scan.

As you become more adept at SEO, you will be able to use it to improve your site’s conversion rate, too. For example, you can play around with a variety of different widgets to attract a more targeted audience. Title tags are also important; like so many aspects of SEO, however, that importance is changing. Instead of stuffing them full of keywords, for instance, more people are using them to bolster their branding to great effect.

Make it Easy to Connect

Social media has dramatically transformed the process of marketing online. If you’re not already plugged into popular sites like Twitter and Facebook, it’s time you got on board. You’ll be amazed by how easy it is to connect with prospective customers; such sites also make it easy to keep existing customers happy. It’s simple enough to add social media buttons to your website; similarly, you should link back to your site from all of your social media profiles. Like anything else, you can easily keep track of how successful or unsuccessful your various social media buttons are, which will help you optimize your site even more effectively.

There’s no question about it: Running a successful online business takes a whole lot of work. By being familiar with basic concepts like conversion rates, calls to action and social media, though, you can increase your odds of achieving phenomenal success by a considerable degree. A small amount of extra effort can really pay off, and it is smart to pay attention to emerging trends. There is no finish line when it comes to running an online business; with top-notch SEO best practices, you can stay ahead of the competition.

*Jennifer Bailey is Social Media Manager for http://www.privatejetscharter.net , and realizes the importance of SEO relevance in web design. Photo credit: Bartelomeus

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16 JUST™ Creative Comments

  • Michael Gunner Reply

    I also do a similar job as Jennifer for a private jet company, but ours is based in the UK. I am the web developer/designer for our site.

    There’s some great stuff there, the social media we were a little unsure about but we have recently started implementing it and understanding its effects on SEO.

    It’s interesting for me to see how a company in the same line of business as ours (though thankfully not rivals due to location!) conducts their SEO!

  • David Christian-Woodruff Reply

    For any budding web designer, this post is entirely relevant and must be taken into account when designing a website. SEO is a massive part of what enables a website to remain near the top of search engine rankings, and as such, is key to ensuring that your site performs to the best of it’s ability. You could have the best looking and most beautifully laid out website, but without specifically targeting keywords and building them into your content properly, it will all go to waste.

    Social media is also a very important and fairly new addition. Whilst it not only promotes your business on massive platforms, it also gives you a chance to push offers or information about yourself that perhaps would be missed on your site.

    Overall, the importance of SEO cannot be stressed enough. It’s this perhaps even more so than website design itself which can make or break a company’s success.

  • tabletpcunion Reply

    Good post. SEO is a must if you want to do well in search results. If we want to do good SEO, website design is very important. It’s like the base of the building. You give me some good tips. Thank you.

  • JAT Source Reply

    Nice tutorial,thanks for sharing……….

  • Hasan Reply

    So, this is not only design this is design and content presentation in correct way.
    Correct? ;-)

  • MASBAS Reply

    nice tips cass.. thank’s

  • LinkBuildingWorks Reply

    Nice post. I think if the above mentioned points are met with a elegant design, then it would make a quality site. Call for actions such as Order Now or Queries should be easy to find. I came across a site which had animated twitter button, things like that can be eye catchy and may help in increasing followers.

  • Scott Stubblefield Reply

    This is pretty much how I build websites all the time. Simple is usually always better!

  • Darren Azzopardi Reply

    Stating clear business objectives for your website or/and marketing campaign will help you justify what you are doing. It helps you question why you do it and what you will gain from it.

    We all know why we have websites but sometimes fail to give them a purpose other than to say “I have website”…

  • website development Reply

    Quit interesting about designing website considering SEO and other strategies. Keep giving us such ideas.

  • SEO Website Design Reply

    Good article Jennifer.

    Website design and SEO are indeed two complementary tasks that both require attention.

    Your website design primarily appeals to the customer and affects their decision to stay (or not) on the site once they’ve found it.

    SEO addresses a different customer — the search engines.

    Many biz owners really dont think of the search engine as a ‘customer’ , but that’s the reality of it.

    Optimizing your website design for the search engine will influence these key players to popularize your website and make it accessible to the end user.

  • Amy Reply

    I’m up to my eyeballs in web marketing, SEO, design, code, Google algorithms, Adwords, analytics, social media and just about every other term or buzz word every single day. I know that my job is to drive business and get people to click here or take this action or whatever, but I begin to wonder if the internet can be used for something more than just sneaky sales tactics. Blogs aren’t ways for people to write about what’s on their minds anymore – they’re sales tools. Social websites used to be about communicating and sharing bits of your life but now they’re all about marketing and stealing your personal info and not letting you say the word “macintosh” without replying with a link.

    I’m just wondering when the big switch will happen – - the one where the internet basically gets turned into television. It seems like the same old story – companies and businesses find what people use and enjoy only to turn the tables on them, take away their freedom and replace it with an advertisement.

  • Sheena Reply

    This article makes an interesting point. Yes it is absolutely correct that SEO plays a humongous role assuring the success of a business. It is not magic but what it is , is that SEO drives in the interest from potential web users into a site and then if a site cannot hold its own in terms of look, design, content and overall presentation then it is nothing but a complete failure. Also a site must be designed keeping SEO strategies or implications in mind so that accommodating for optimization will guarantee that the website development is thorough, complete and SEO effective.

  • Morgan and Me Creative Reply

    Particularly do not fancy sites with bad grammar due to keyword stuff. Makes it look cheap and a whole lot tackier even with a good looking gui. It’s almost like as though they’re trying so hard to get noticed. Not cool. I’ll never hire them if I was looking for someone to design my website.a

  • Morgan and Me Creative Reply

    Opps…I meant keyword stuffing. Bloody auto correct feature.

  • MGT Design Reply

    I agree with everything you are saying, this is why it is good to have an SEO company with all-round Web design, web developing and SEO knowledge.

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