A common theme in website development is that too many designers and developers do not keep up with the latest changes with the Google Algorithm, which changes daily. They implement design strategies that look cool but paralyze their website from search traffic. What good is your website if people cannot find your products and services through Search?
We present three of the most misunderstood website design and layout techniques that could be killing your website, or at least your business in terms of traffic.
Infinite (Endless Scroll)
While no technique is inherently bad, this design method is one of the most overused and misunderstood design techniques on the Web today. Many sites use it with the idea it helps site engagement because visitors don’t have to click, they just keep paging down to see your content. Infinite scroll fetches content from a database and inserts onto the page as the user scrolls. This results in a seemingly endless page.
Major SEO Issues: Google is leery of fully crawling infinite scroll and it will trigger some type of limitation on the data that you are feeding it to index your site. How can you expect Google to index several pages on your site, say for products or services if its all on one page?
Memory Issues: If you put too much scroll into the page, you are consuming browser memory with each flick of a finger and you can cause browser performance issues. This can be a big deal for the fast growing mobile user population.
You're Not Mobile-Friendly
If your site is NOT mobile-friendly, you should stop what you are doing right now and make a plan to get it there. Do you think smartphones are going away? If you rely at all on organic search traffic (or Social Media) your site must be mobile friendly or you will lose traffic. Loss of traffic means lost revenue, clients, patients, customers and most importantly - vacations!
Over the past two years, Google has been very explicit that sites need to start taking mobile into account. On January 24, they even released a mobile algorithm that started penalizing sites from mobile search for not being mobile-friendly and started moving them down in search results.
So what is responsive design?
Responsive design uses one code set and techniques to make the site render properly in all types of devices by pre-determining how it will appear on that screen size. If you have a WordPress site developed recently its probably responsive. If yours is not, find a theme that is and switch to that. This can be a lot easier than trying to convert a non-responsive WP site to be mobile friendly. If you have a site that is built outside Wordpress, find someone who is an expert in coding responsive sites and get it going. There is no workaround for this.
It has become common practice in mobile web design to remove all menus and load in a "hamburger menu". While mobile users have become more familiar with this menu type on desktops you are hiding what the user can find on your site and adding a click. Neither of these is necessary and in the end can cause user confusion.
Usability studies show us that if you want to get maximum clarity for those using your mobile site, add the word MENU to your hamburger icon. It helps users find and understand it much easier.
Don’t use the hamburger icon on your desktop site (except maybe a tools menu), make it clear that it is a menu by adding the word "menu" to your icon in mobile and make sure it is large enough to be easily clicked by tablet and smartphone users.
Often designers and developers get bored with their work and want to do something new and fun (don’t we all) or CMOs look at a new cool thing on another site and want to add it to their own. While these can sometimes work well for users, they are often hinder the intended purpose of the site and especially organic search traffic. When in doubt always err on the side of functionality, not fun.
Thanks For Reading!
* portions of this article taken from Kristine Schachinger