10 Factors for Developing Creative SEO Websites
To all our friends, conspirators and companies in the Creative Design industry who speak SEO as passionately as we do… this article is for you. For many of us, SEO projects are performed on existing sites with clients who need our help to boost their search engine exposure. Sometimes companies need a little more than that. A website redesign. Lets take a look at 10 Factors for developing creative SEO websites.
1) Branding & Design
The first step to any marketing initiative is a rule all creative companies follow. Develop a brand. We know this is easier said than done, but this builds a foundation for all your goals whether online or offline. This starts a roadmap into the customer’s mind and the company’s goals. Truly successful websites start by uncovering concrete goals and ambitions that are used to develop a unique brand image. Once a company and it’s customers are fully understood, branding and design is then able to take shape. Let your imagination take you down that path in order to establish or confirm a company’s brand guidelines.
Yes we said it, the “wow factor”. It is one of the most ambiguous terms that never helps direct your designers towards a tangible concept. Why? Because it is a feeling. We all know what it feels like when we visit a fantastic website that makes us say “wow”. So how do we do this as creative directors? We develop something unexpected, unique, and useful. The “wow factor” is what happens when full understanding of customer needs comes in contact with a Creative Design Company.
Creating websites with search engines and users in mind ultimately requires the overall goal of engagement. You may have heard it from us before: engagement is what drives your website and uncovers your keyword performance. If you provide a creative website that engages your users by targeting their needs, your website performance will increase in positive ways.
4) Page Speed
If they have to wait, it’s too late. Balancing load time with creativity can be a painful process, but well worth the reward. So what should you tell your creative team? Nothing. Let your creative minds soar across your website canvas. Keep working and discovering until the the solution is in front of you. Once your main focal point has blossomed and nailed your message home, then we can start to peel back. Now we can identify the unnecessary elements and eliminate items that do not benefit our focal point.
5) Homepage vs Interior
Your homepage is the launchpad. Make it exciting and relevant or people will not care to follow your journey. Your website users need to immediately find what they need on your homepage and get off as quickly as possible. Design your homepage with the user’s intent. If your site is a consumer product, give your users visual cues for viewing pricing or learning more about your products. Then drill-down your topics on your interior pages and focus on your final conversion point.
6) Site Map
100 year old oak tree or a spring sapling? No matter the age of a website, the site map should still look like a tree. People and search engines are able to best comprehend information when it’s presented in a tree-like structure. We need an over-arching theme in order to start organizing our thoughts or indexing information into search engines. The main theme is the homepage of a website. The website should very quickly direct us to sub categories that support the main theme. Then following pages should provide very targeted information and material. Develop your site map before developing your website.
7) Call to Action
If they need it, tell them! Customers and clients visit websites with a purpose. They need or want something. If your SEO efforts are successful, your website funnel should be a cake walk. At least, it should be. The best we can do as creative design companies is show them the way. A call to action should be easily understood by your website visitors and in-line with their needs. This is the single most important element on the page that leads to conversions and ultimately sales. How important are conversions to a company? How important is a sale? The call to action is well worth your time researching and developing a clear and concise direction. Tell them what to do.
8) Conversion Point
The bread and butter of internet marketing. The conversion point could be a phone call, a form, a signup, or any action deemed valuable to a company and it’s website goals. All efforts are leading up to this point and users want to know that they made a good decision. Customers need to know they can trust the company and its website, so make sure to enforce the conversion point with clear call-to-actions and supporting materials. Someone engaged in the checkout process needs to feel safe before they enter their credit information. Support your checkout pages with clear trust symbols and next steps.
9) Social & Multi-Media
It’s about feeling connected. A website, now more than ever, can actively connect people through multi-media and social cues. Analytics tells us that video and other multi-media objects on a website help people stay engaged and develop a deeper relationship with a company’s brand. What’s almost more important, is we can now integrate our friends and colleagues into websites in order to establish more credibility between website and user. If we see a friend or colleague recommends a website product, we are more likely to trust their recommendation. As a creative design company, our task is to develop creative solutions that help engage our users. Integrating social apps and videos is a great opportunity to start with.
All your hard work is resting on this one question: Will it convert? Well, how will you know? With Analytics. This doesn’t mean you are finished after pasting one line of Google Analytics code into your website. In fact, using analytics is like running a company. In business, if we are accurately tracking performance of every moving part, we are able to gauge the effectiveness of that part and make adjustments. With Analytics we can setup parameters to monitor on a website. If you have a video on a page that you want users to see, make sure you track that action. Do you have a specific conversion point you want to track? Set it as a goal in Analytics. Do you want user’s to stay engaged for a certain amount of time? Set a time limit as an Analytics goal! Analytics becomes part of your creative process once you are able to understand all that analytics has to offer. For example, Google Analytics allows you to test multiple pages for conversion. Did you factor multiple layout options in your design process? Stay educated with all your creative internet marketing tools and the rewards will follow.