Website Design Tips & Social Media Guide 2013
21st Aug, 2018
This article for Website Design Tips & Social Media Guide 2013, was part of the iGB Affiliate magazine for August/September 2013 issue.There is always constant change in design and technology and to some it might seem like the rate of change is too great. For some websites it seems like the need to redesign and update becomes time consuming and sometimes expensive in having to redesign and reprogram as well. If your website was built in 2011, it might even be considered obsolete right now. In the past few years lets look at some of the changes in technology and how it has affected the way people use and interact with websites.
- Mobile traffic
- Tablet/iPad users
- Google Panda updates
- Rich Snippets & Microdata
- Social Media
Mobile TrafficMost websites are not mobile friendly at all, that is they are not formatted for responsive design or they don’t have a separate mobile version of the website. With mobile phone sales expected to double PC sales in 2014, how can you not have your website ready for mobile. If your site isn’t mobile friendly then you will be missing out on traffic and sales. If mobile users can’t get their information and entertainment from your website on their mobile phone, they’ll find it from another website. As for iPad and tablet users, they are a different market to deal with but you at least want to test to make sure your website formats well for these devices and is readable and functional.
Google Panda UpdatesSince most designers don’t know much about SEO, usually their designs have more emphasis on the visual aspects of the site and they see text as being boring. If you are working with these types of designers your job is to make sure that you have text and content on every page of your website, or at least every page that matters to you. Also another problem some designers can make and is no fault of their own, is by embedding duplicate content into the design. That is every page contains a section that has the same text on every page. In some cases this makes sense as perhaps at the end of the pages you need to have a call to action (CTA) to try to lead the user to a sale. If there is too much of this repeating text on every page then this is duplicate content on your own site and isn’t helpful for SEO. This can also be a sign of lazy design as a means of making the designs complete on all pages whereas to customize more pages requires more work and usually more money. You can learn more about the panda update here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Panda So what does website design & google panda have to do with each other? Google Panda update was specifically meant to target websites that are weak or ‘thin’ on content. So if your website designer has given you a beautifully looking landing page but left no real section for content & text, well this is going to create a problem. In some cases landing pages are extremely important and are almost impossible to inject much text into them. The simple solution to this problem is to provide the content and text below the landing page elements.
Rich Snippets & MicrodataThis aspect of your website is usually not the responsibility of the designer unless they are coding the website for you as well. If this is the case then you’ll want to ensure your website has the edge on your competition. An easy way to generate more traffic is with adding rich snippets which increases the click through rates of your rankings in the search engine. How can you add rich snippets / microdata into your website code to appear in the search engines?
- 5 or 10 Star Ratings
- Image / Product thumbnail
- Video thumbnail
Social MediaWhen people in this industry say ‘I don’t get social media’ well I don’t blame them. Some websites probably need social media less than others. Either way social media will forever affect website designs and can’t be ignored anymore. How does social media relate to your website?
- Social signals affect SEO
- Drive social traffic to your websites & Sharing
- Communication & Support
Social Signals affect SEOAccording to a recent article from SearchMetrics.com, social signals are proven to influence your rankings. Many SEOs are all stating this the question is not whether social media affects SEO but rather how much does it affect seo. Why would social media affect your ranking efforts? Most social media sites are nofollow links while some can be follow. No matter how you look at it, it is a form of link building. Some links on google+ appear to be follow and it could be a reason some webmasters might want to focus more on google+ and less on facebook.
Drive social traffic to your websites & SharingAside from some possible SEO benefits, try to look at social media as traffic opportunities. Sites like facebook, twitter, google+, youtube, pinterest, there are so many people on these networks and they are also search engines too. When people like and share your pages and content, this creates more opportunities for people to stumbleupon (pun intended) your website.
RetentionRetention is huge and this should have probably been called RETENTION instead. If email marketing is such a valuable tool then you have to consider all other social networks that allow people to follow you or your brand. Many websites try really hard to get someone to join their newsletter and it can actually be difficult, but asking someone to like their facebook page is just a single click. That single click now have them following your facebook feed and gives you a chance to get your message out to them. The same goes for twitter, google+ and many more. Getting someone to like or follow you is going to be easier to do and it allows you to message this customer as not all of them are going to bookmark your website or remember it. Even if you do get their email, you then have to worry about if your emails are making it through spam filters, which you don’t have this problem with facebook. So when you have new products and services to launch it is only natural that you would first write about it, then email your newsletter subscribers, then share it on social media sites. So when you think of social media, think about retention. Facebook likes and twitter follows are now more than just bragging rights for # of followers. They are social signals that can be used as ranking factors and you have given yourself a chance to contact them again.
Communication & SupportSocial media sites are communication tools. Many many years ago your business communication tools were telephone, mail, fax machine. Then Al Gore invented the internet and we added email. Now we have skype, WhatsApp, Viber, all types of mobile phone chat apps and social media which can act both like private emailing and public emailing. You can do business all over these tools with your customers. In the past newspapers (paper news) had all of the media power and could either advertise a brand or write a bad story about them so their public relations were easier to handle. Now a single person can leave a negative comment about your brand that can be viewed and shared by many. These issues are nearly impossible to ignore and gives power back to the customers. So you can add brand management and reputation to one of the purposes of social media.
How websites incorrectly use social mediaIt is easier for both designers and webmasters to misuse social media sites as the buttons and features offered are getting more customized and complex every day. The standard features are typically to follow them on social media and to like and share one of their pages specifically. Some common misuses of social media:
- Sharing buttons on all pages
- Social media buttons only link to profile pages
- Social media conflicting with calls to action
21st Aug, 2018