WEBSITE DESIGN TRUTH: If you want your website to rank high and get your message across to human viewers, you gotta be mobile-ready. Why? The fact is that search engines rank websites in part by whether websites are mobile-ready (in the industry, this is known as “Responsive”). Further, because folks are increasingly looking at your content on small devices like phones, contextualizing you content so viewers can easily consume your content is a must. This is a trend that’s irreversible. And in fact, while mobile and pad usage is trending, even smaller screens are coming to market in the form of glasses and watches now. So here’s a few tips to optimize your website design:

1. Go Responsive for Website Design

“Responsive” website design means that the content on your website is formatted to re-stack and scale to fit any size screen from desktop to pad to mobile. In the old days, separate desktop and mobile sites were built, but now publishing templates take care of the conversion for you. While this is certainly important to pulling in viewers, it’s equally important to ranking high with search engines like Google that now dock non-responsive sites.

2. Minimized Graphics, Maximized Pics

In the old days, website “design” featured a lot of fancy graphics. Background graphics, doodads in text areas, containers to hold text and graphic frames around pictures were popular, hence the term “design.” But these day, due to the size of mobile screens, it makes more sense to do away with all that gack in favor of going immersive with full-width pictures and super-simple Keyword text. Keep it simple. As simple as possible. Leaving the graphic gack behind also makes upgrades and maintenance much cheaper. And with less gack, your website will download faster and use less storage space which will also save you money. Yes, this is the art of the branded website and you can win huge search points by doing it right.

3. Use a Content Management System

Old-skool website design was also often done by custom coding. These days you want to go with a CMS (Content Management System) as such systems allow non-technical editors to create and edit their own content. They’re also stable and bullet-proof. We like WordPress. WP is the platform 2/3’s of all websites are built on today. Use the standard as it’s growing the fastest and is supported by the most people.

4. Simplify Your Navigation

Your website’s menu structure should be as simple and direct as possible. Resist the temptation for cute labels like “Tips & News” over the standard “Blog” title for your Blog section. The rule: don’t make you’re viewers think. In website design, making them think extra in the navigation phase causes fatigue and dropout. In the Internet world, people are constantly searching for quick information. If you presentation format gets in the way, they simply click off to someone else’s site that’s more respectful of their time. A related point is to choose labels that are really short. Like one word short. Less is more in navigation.

5. Connect Your Social Media

Leveraging social strategy is an easy way to ad dynamic reality to your site. It constantly refreshes and there’s lots of ways to push social content onto your site to keep it fresh, fun and friendly. Most social media services specialize in capturing content that works on mobile as that’s their most common communication path now, so its good practice to use their content. Their style will also hopefully rub off on the rest of your website’s content.

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