Web Design Choices to Boost Your SEO

Illustration by Lucy Froelich

by Raymond Pang

You upload the beautiful pictures a photographer took for your website, but now your site’s loading at a snail’s pace. The words “Not Secure” appear in the search bar when a customer clicks on your site, discouraging them from going further.

The best website design choices you can make are small, yet they can help you avoid the scenario above. Choices like improving your website’s performance by compressing images before uploading them or minimizing files can not only make the experience for your users better, it can also help your SEO. 

Other choices, like getting an SSL certificate for your site, also help your SEO ranking as search algorithms favor secure and faster websites.

Compressing Images

Compressing images reduces the memory cost to store and upload images, which helps with page load times. Some might be reluctant to undergo this process since it technically results in an inferior-quality photo, but the difference for most pictures after compression is negligible, especially since most people won’t be looking closely. 

Compressing photos isn’t difficult to do, as it can be accomplished using Adobe Photoshop or through free alternatives online. There are even guides on YouTube that can walk you through this process.

Minimizing and Combining Files

Another design choice that can help improve your website’s performance is minimizing and combining your files. This process involves reducing file sizes or combining files to reduce the number of files. This is particularly applicable if you used a templated website builder like WordPress. While website builders make it easy to build a site, they also create messy code which only lengthens the time for pages to load.

Minimizing your files could entail removing unnecessary formatting, whitespace and code that might be making the file longer than it needs to be. There are WordPress plugins that automatically help you complete this process, but you can also choose to do this manually by opening up the CSS or Javascript files and editing them. 

However, be careful of accidentally deleting necessary code which could impact how your website operates or looks.

Browser Caching

Another important design choice you can make to help improve website performance for visitors is making use of browser caching. The first time that someone visits your site, every HTML document, CSS and Javascript file, and image has to be downloaded before they can access the site. 

However, on repeat visits, some of your site’s components have already been saved on the person’s cache, so only a few components need to be downloaded again. As a result, subsequent visits to the site should be much faster to load up. Once again, there are WordPress plugins that can help with this and guides on Google about how to complete this process.

Embedding Videos

Another thing that helps with SEO rankings is to increase the dwell time on your site, or the amount of time that someone spends on your site. An easy way to increase dwell time is to embed videos onto your site. This helps because, if people stay on your site to watch a video, then they will naturally be on the site for a longer duration of time. 

Don’t shy away from making this change, especially since WordPress has an easy way for you to embed videos just by pasting the URL link of a YouTube video.

SSL Certificate

Finally, you should obtain an SSL certificate for your site. Doing this will make your website “secure,” denoted with a lock icon in the search bar. It also changes your website’s web address from HTTP to HTTPS. The Google search algorithm favors sites that have an SSL certificate and can reassure potential visitors that they aren’t visiting a poorly-constructed and insecure site. Once again, this can be easily done through a free WordPress plugin that can be downloaded and installed.

For more advice on how to boost your SEO ranking or business in general, check out some of the other great blogs from the 1893 Brand Studio!