If you’re aiming to draw in new customers and reach the top of the search results, you simply can’t afford to ignore SEO. Website design and SEO go hand in hand, which means if you skimp on SEO when making your site, its ranking will likely suffer.
If you’re not very technical, don’t worry. Website design for painting contractors doesn’t have to be complicated. Below, we’ll explain what to know about how web design affects SEO in a way that’s easy to understand.
What Is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the practice of optimizing a site so it ranks well in the search results. For many painting businesses, SEO is all about ranking highly for popular keywords via on-page content.
While that’s important, it’s smart to pay attention to what’s happening under your website’s hood. Factors like mobile accessibility, loading speed, and even your hosting provider can affect your position in the search results.
Why Does Website Design SEO Matter?
Wondering why you should worry about website design and SEO? Here, we’ll explain a few perks of optimizing your site’s design.
Website Design SEO Improves the User Experience (UX)
If your website is hard to understand or confusing to navigate, visitors will probably hit the “Back” button and flee to your competitors’ sites instead. That means you could be losing out on new customers and potentially thousands of dollars of revenue.
Not only that, but a site with a poor UX won’t rank well in the search results. If your site’s UX is bad, it’s likely to get pushed to the second or third page, where nobody will ever see it.
Factors that Google considers when ranking sites include:
- Bounce rate (how often visitors leave your site soon after clicking on it)
- Dwell time (how long visitors spend on the site)
- Mobile usability
Website design SEO improves all three factors to help your site rank more highly.
Website Design SEO Draws in High-Intent Traffic
Even if your site manages to attract thousands of visitors a day, that doesn’t matter much if users don’t care about what you’re offering. Creating your website with SEO in mind means the people who are truly interested in your business can find what they’re looking for.
Website Design SEO Boosts Organic Traffic
If you’ve ever paid for advertising, you know just how expensive it can be. SEO for your website, on the other hand, can be completely free. By designing your website with a focus on SEO, you’re more likely to pull in potential customers without spending a dime.
Eight Tips for Designing an SEO-Friendly Website
So, how exactly do you design an SEO-friendly website? Here are a few tips to get you started.
Consider Your Domain, CMS, and Hosting
Thinking about your domain name, CMS (content management system), and hosting provider before launching your site is important. All three factors can strongly affect your ranking in the search results.
Your domain name is akin to your website’s home page. Your site can have many pages, but they’ll all redirect to this one. The domain name should clearly describe your business, but don’t make it too long, and avoid including lots of numbers and dashes.
For instance, your domain name shouldn’t be “best-painting-business-in-san-francisco.com.”
Choose a CMS that’s easy to optimize, too. WordPress is one of the most popular, but you’ll find some other good picks.
Lastly, don’t be tempted by ultra-cheap hosting. It can be slow and very unreliable. Choosing high-quality hosting means your site will run properly and rarely suffer from outages.
Make Your Site Accessible to Mobile Users
Even if you have the most gorgeous site in the world, you will turn off viewers if it doesn’t load well on mobile devices. About 60% of all web searches come from mobile devices, so if your site isn’t optimized for phones and tablets, you could be losing a lot of traffic.
To optimize your site for mobile:
- Ask your web developer to build the site using responsive design practices. This means your site will adjust to the size of the screen automatically.
- Don’t use Flash because most mobile browsers can’t render it well (or at all).
- Don’t put touch elements too close together.
- Use an appropriately sized font so users don’t need to zoom in.
- Never block the whole page with a full-screen pop-up.
Not sure whether your site is mobile friendly? Try checking its Mobile Usability report. This Google tool will tell you which of your pages need some work.
Use Readable Text for the Best User Experience
As mentioned above, text size is important for a good user experience. This is true for mobile devices and desktops.
The body text of your website should be no smaller than 16 pixels. Be sure to break up large chunks of body text with H2 and H3 headers for better readability.
You should also pay attention to line spacing so the text isn’t squashed too closely together. A line spacing of 130% to 150% is best for readability.
Font style matters, too. Avoid fancy, hard-to-read fonts and stick with clean, simple ones.
Ensure Your Site Loads Quickly
How quickly does your website load when someone clicks on it? If it takes more than a few seconds, users are going to lose patience fast and will likely bail for a quicker-loading site.
To speed up your site:
- Enable browser caching, which stores frequently accessed resources on the user’s device to reduce server requests.
- Ensure images are no larger than they have to be. You can use CSS to make a template that loads blocks of images all at once. This saves time because users don’t need to wait for each separate image to load.
- Use a content delivery network (CDN) to handle the load of distributing content.
- Cut down on redirects. Each redirect adds more time to the HTTP request-response cycle.
Complete Your Site’s Metadata
Visitors don’t see the underlying metadata of your site, but Google uses it to explain to users what your website is all about. You can adjust your site’s metadata through your CMS.
We recommend focusing on the following metadata:
- Meta descriptions: These descriptions give users a better idea of what they’ll find when they click on a page. If your meta descriptions are boring or uninformative, they won’t entice anyone to click. Google prefers meta descriptions that are no more than 160 characters, so come up with a concise, compelling message that draws attention instantly.
- Alt text: Alt text, or alternative text, describes the content of your images to Google. Make sure your alt text is relevant and specific to each image. Avoid using numbers and confusing abbreviations.
- Title tags: Title tags appear on the search engine results page (SERP). Give each page a unique title tag, and make sure tags are accurate and descriptive. “House Painter in Chicago” and “Professional Business Painting Services” are examples of solid title tags.
- Structured data: These data give search engines more information about what’s on your pages. Using structured data and schema markups boosts your chances of pages appearing as rich search results at the top of the page.
Make It Easy for Google To Index
Indexing is critical because your site won’t appear in the search results without it. Focus on indexing whenever you make changes to your site’s pages.
To index pages, Google’s bots crawl the web and analyze your site’s content. However, just because the bots crawl your pages doesn’t mean they’ll always index them automatically.
To boost your chances of having pages indexed:
- Make a sitemap to help Google crawl your pages.
- Submit your URLs and sitemap directly to the Google Search Console. Doing this is typically faster than waiting for Google to crawl your pages by itself. Many content management systems will automatically submit your sitemap whenever you make changes.
- Practice good interlinking to ensure that all pages connect to one another on your site. For instance, each subpage should link back to your home page.
- Build high-quality backlinks to your pages. This tells Google that your site has experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T).
Imagine that you’re driving around trying to find a restaurant. Unfortunately, the restaurant gave you bad directions, and you can’t find it anywhere on the map. Would you keep aimlessly hunting, or would you give up and go someplace else?
The same applies to your website. If users can’t find what they’re looking for, they’re going to leave.
Your website should clearly tell visitors where to go. Give your menus clear, easy-to-understand names, such as “Our Painting Services” and “About Our Company.”
If your site features lengthy content, it’s better to break that content down into sub-category pages. Doing so makes your content easier to scan and search. Plus, each sub-category page gives you another chance to rank your site in the search results.
For instance, instead of putting services such as cabinet painting, fence painting, and staining on the same page, give each service its own page.
Ensure users don’t have to dig too deep to find what they need. Customers should be able to find your phone number or book painting services with a few clicks. The more clicks required, the higher your chances of losing customers.
For the best navigation experience, avoid the following:
- Java programs and Flash files
- Content that’s only accessible via search
- Orphaned content that can’t be found at all
- Content that’s split into sub-domains instead of sub-folders
- Content frames embedded from other sites
Comply With Web Accessibility Guidelines
About 16% of the global population has significant disabilities that could make it hard for them to access the web. By following web accessibility guidelines, you’ll ensure that anyone can use your site regardless of whether they’re sight or hearing impaired.
WCAG 2.1 guidelines include:
- Add alt text to images so screen readers can describe them to the sight impaired.
- Ensure that your site is fully accessible with a keyboard for users who are unable to use a mouse.
- Avoid using flashy content that could cause seizures.
- Don’t use menus or pop-ups that disappear before users have the chance to read them. It’s also wise to avoid scrolling content that some users may find hard to read.
- Ensure that all content appears in a predictable way.
- Use a color scheme with sufficient contrast to help people with visual impairments.
We Offer Professional Website Design for Painting Contractors
Could your painting business’s website use a little work? Reach out to Painter Marketing Pros! Our team can revamp your online presence and drive new customers to you. For website design and SEO services, call us at (800) 813-4385 or book a free strategy call today.