Designing a website that realizes the goals of web designers, UX experts and SEO specialists is not an easy task. A captivating and elaborate design often has disastrous effects on a website’s SEO – even if you expect lots of people visit your website because of the amazing experience it offers, chances are that its poor SEO performance will negatively affect the number of your visitors. If you don’t want your website to fall into this trap, make sure to avoid those 5 design mistakes.
1. Going mobile
If website owners want their pages to gain maximum exposure, it’s only natural that they turn to mobile – the popularity of mobile platforms is on the rise and they’re predicted to become even more significant in the near future. When going mobile, you can choose between two options: responsive design or a separate mobile site.
While creating a new website might seem an attractive option, responsive design in considered far more valuable from the SEO perspective. Using one URL has its perks – you won’t have to worry about “rel=canonical” functionality not performing to your expectations and ruining your website’s search rank.
2. Images that aren’t functional
One of the most common mistakes in web design is replacing navigation and headers with attractive images. When it comes to navigation, images that serve as its primary mode offer a great way to lose all the potential enclosed in navigation links – search engines simply won’t assign this meaning to the images. Purely textual navigation is most of the time not a suitable option either. That’s why you should go for CSS and the text-over-image techniques it offers.
Headers are important as well – they are, after all, meant to highlight important keywords that situate your website’s content in a certain context. Replacing text headers with images, no matter how captivating, will only hurt your website’s SEO.
3. Framing your content
Frames might seem an obsolete style feature, but we still see them popping up here and there – despite the fact that they completely ruin a website’s SEO. Search engines find it really hard to quickly index websites based on multiple frames – their structure makes reaching the valuable content difficult. Another problem of framed websites is the fact that they use three instead of one html files – and that stirs trouble in their indexing.
4. Excessive use of Flash
While web designers value Flash for its visual potential, SEO specialists certainly don’t – especially since it’s still poorly indexed by search engines. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid Flash at all cost – only that you should use it to complement your website visually and never for important content or navigation. If you decide to create a great website exclusively in Flash, you risk that no visitors will ever admire your project.
It’s safe to say that both users and search engines hate pop-ups. They disrupt the experience on the website, involve an additional interaction cost, and are simply annoying. Sometimes they might evoke a prejudice against the website – users tend to associate pop-ups with potentially harmful pages.
If that’s something you’d like to avoid (and you probably do), make sure that you never use pop-ups – search engines won’t even index them, so why ruin user experience and gain nothing in return? Take some extra time to find a place for your content inside the website, instead of simply resorting to this risky feature.
Avoiding those design mistakes, you’ll be sure to attract lots of visitors to your website with great design solutions, which at the same time power your SEO objectives.
Author Bio: Monique Rivers is an Australian tech blogger who also loves good food and fashion. She works at ninefold.com. Ninefold is a company providing efficient and powerful virtual servers for all those occasions when a business needs to move their ideas into the cloud.