Navigation and the menu structure
- Is the menu easy to navigate to find content for a person?
The navigation menu of a website is one area that cannot be overlooked. It’s important for visitors to easily find what they are looking for and avoid any confusion about your site content, which can drive them away from buying products or services offered on the website altogether!
Depending on your needs, you might only need basic navigation menu structures that let users see what services or products exist within your online shop etc, but if thousands of items exist then it might be necessary to use mega menus so customers can browse through all categories without difficulty – this will also show more detailed descriptions about each product/service offered which could attract new clients!
- What about Google and other search engines
The main thing when looking at product data for example is to avoid duplicate content as Google only needs to see the content once, repeating the same information over and over confuses the search engine. For instance, it will only usually be able to rank one page for each piece of content, so if you have the same content for multiple products as they are the same in every way apart from sizes and colours for example.
- But what if I also have various sizes and colour options to show?
Let’s say you want to sell T-shirts that come in various sizes and colours, how best to display these to visitors with the menu? You could create a page per size but then if you had 3 sizes and 3 colours you would require 6 pages and 6 links of basically the same information and product with only a change to the size and colour to be highlighted to the website visitor. For various reasons, this is not considered the best solution for displaying products as it overcomplicates things for the website visitor and the search. We need to make use of product variations whereby the customer selects which size and or colour they require before checkout. Thus making only one product and link in the menu.
So, in conclusion, the menu must be concise, and clutter-free and we can do this with the use of filters on category pages for example.
SEO Search engine optimisation and why do we need it?
- What even is SEO?
You can think of it as a guide to how well your website is perceived by Google and how they think your website and content will help others. They look to see if the website is attracting lots of other visitors and are they staying around to read articles like this one or are leaving the website after viewing only one page or spending a small amount of time on the website before moving away?
The more the user interacts with the website the better, for example completing a contact form, signing up for a newsletter or clicking on any other call to action (CTA) the better your website looks to Google as a place where people can obtain lots of information and a “domain authority” on that subject. That’s why when you look for help and advice on the internet the usual place you end up is a blog news post like Reddit, Aurou etc as they have a vast amount of usual information discussing many subjects. So for your website to outrank your competition you must become the go-to location with informative useful information about a service or product. The number of results is far too high to start from nowhere so we advise you to look at the local search for your initial ranking results before thinking about reaching further afield, we for instance concentrate on content about “Websites Stroud” & “Website Gloucestershire” as a couple of examples.
Have you also noticed that other websites are showing you offers and promotions from other markets that might and most likely are for previous products you have been looking to buy online, this is Google remarketing and helps other brands sell products using Google AdSense for example. So now that website is not only getting great visitor numbers, but they also generate revenue from people selling products you were looking to purchase.
SEO is not a one-time thing, and you are done, you should be reviewing the market and competition to see the current trends and check that Google algorithms are not negatively affecting your rankings. As Google regularly release updates to the algorithm and you need to know if those updates are impacting your results. Or perhaps the competition has since found either a niche or other way to attract visitors and potential clients you are unaware of.
So in conclusion, SEO helps your Google search ranking so you are found above your competition.
Technically how well does your website do?
A slow-loading website can drastically cause two major problems. The first is how the visitor interacts on the website, let’s say they just want to buy something quickly and leave but the pages are slow and clunky to load, (over 3 seconds is considered slow) then usually the visitor will move away to another website, usually your competition and buy that same or other product with them. We can run advanced reports for existing websites to show where you can speed up areas and improve loading times, you can also get this information quickly from places like GTmetrix
Secondly and while the first point is not great this is even worse as due to a slow-loading website you’re most likely to not even get ranked within google so nobody will even be able to see your slow-loading website anyway.
- So how do we go about getting a super quick-loading website?
Image optimisation so they are not too big and not too small, if they are too big they will take longer to load on the page. If they are too small, they may become pixelated and so not visually appealing.
Also, implementation of a cache will drastically help, so let’s get caching and compress the CSS and Scripts, Using caching and compression so as not to keep loading a fresh file and making them small so load speeds are much quicker. If we cache files we reduce server load and compression makes the files smaller to load quicker.
As the quote from the film “I feel the need the need for speed” A Slow-loading website not only puts the humans visitor off but also Google
Mobile-Friendly Websites will outrank the competition
If you want to sell your products via an e-commerce website it has to look great on every device as more and more of us are now buying products using our mobile devices.
This means your website should adapt to look great on any platform, some people are even designing the website to look good on mobiles first.
Google look at your website from a mobile view in terms of SEO and access so it really should be designed for Mobile-first.
- What do we even mean by mobile view?
Previously your website would try and show itself like you were viewing the page on a large display so cramming in the content meaning you had to zoom around the page to try and read the area you wanted to see more about, this constant zooming in and out was not easy so we now use mobile view to make the data quicker and easier to view.
If you are not Mobile ready then you are hurting your rankings and user experience.
Trust, Safe and Secure Website
Google like to give searchers results that they think are trustworthy, if you are using content that is maybe copied or otherwise not trustworthy they will not show this information in the results. Instead of showing your website in the results, they will show the competition who has good and trustworthy content. As well as content, the technology needs to be set up to avoid hackers taking the website down or others using it for disreputable reasons that could jeopardise your brand or even ruin your business overnight If you are e-commerce based online for instance and have no backups etc where would you be, imagine having to create the website all over again or being held to ransom by the hacker before they restore the information.
Is the website secure? does it make this obvious by showing a padlock to the user so they know the data entered is safe and using encryption technology?
What happens if your site is hacked? You could also be sharing your customer’s personal information the hacker would use to steal the identity of your customer. Or they might just want to ruin your business by showing offensive material. If you have been hacked then you need to know you can reverse this quickly and easily. Be sure to have a backup policy so if the worst happens you can easily revert the website to how it was before being hacked. Check the website is hosted using a setup from Acronis or another tool that makes a copy of the website files and database regularly. Other products are available for WordPress like Updraft which allows you to make a backup to a google drive account etc.
Of course, it would be much simpler not to be in the position of being hacked to start and not impact your business even if only for a small amount of time. To avoid this happening we use systems like a firewall from Wordfence and third-party CDN hosting from Cloudflare to protect our websites from DDoS attacks or other known hacking methods.
So in conclusion:
- A great website is easy to use and get around using a menu structure that works for humans and search engines so your website can be found when searching Google.
- Technically set up to make it fast loading, as studies found that people move away to another website if it loads too slowly.
- Looks great on all devices and is designed to be mobile-friendly, trusted, safe and secure for the user confidence, especially when making payments.
- Easy to update by anyone without any technical knowledge