Much can be said of how a website's design and layout can affect how people use it. If a website is either too cluttered or too void of functionality, then they won't find it satisfactory. Web design is all about caring for how the audience will think about the website and not just exerting creativity for creativity's sake. Design as a whole is an exercise in empathy within creativity, which is much like juggling chainsaws while walking a tightrope.
This whole thing is what experts call user experience, or UX. By understanding how users interact with an interface, you can provide a better user experience by following good design principles and including features that help with that experience. Nowadays, that's a big part of SEO as search engines have decided that a website's usefulness goes beyond just its content. Therefore, designers and website owners must pay attention to a number of UX factors to maintain good SEO.
It seems like not enough people pay enough attention to the website's performance, and it's pretty much the most fundamental part of user experience. Few things are worse than having to wait for a page to load, and it's really bad when it takes a really long time. It certainly makes a website less attractive for users who value speed in their browsing experience.
Google certainly hates it when a website loads slow, which is why it does affect your SEO. Do what you can to speed up your website's load times, like using images with smaller file sizes and employing a more minimalist design. The less elements the web browser has to download in order to make the page appear, the better it should be.
But of course, don't make it so minimalistic that there's barely anything in your website. Just hack away at the non-essentials and you should be fine. If it still loads slow, then it's time to have a talk with your web hosting. If they can't provide faster loading for your website, then move to a better one.
Intuitive Site Organization
The layout is a very important element of the web design that can't be quantified easily. It's all about the look and feel that helps users know what goes where and distinguish one element from another easily. Messy layouts confuse users and keeps them from getting the most out of your website. But of course, that's not the only thing related to site organization.
The structure of the website itself and how it organizes its content is very important to the user experience, and thus to SEO as well. The rule of thumb to follow here is to not have users take more than two clicks to find what they want. Your content shouldn't be buried within the depths of your website; there's a way to keep them neatly organized even if you have thousands of posts on your website.
Have a good search feature that lets them find whatever they may be looking for and have a simple navigation bar that links to as much of your site as possible without needing complicated sub-menus and multiple options. Your content management system should be able to take care of most of these problems by cataloging them by date, category, and tags.
On your part, you should be diligent in putting your new posts in the right categories, assigning the right tags, and giving them proper titles. The format of the permalinks should also be SEO-friendly and descriptive as well. These are some of the things you can do to maintain intuitive site organization.
Responsive design is all the rage these days in web design. The reason for this is obvious—majority of web users these days are on mobile devices. Therefore, websites that don't feature responsive design that adapts to whatever platform views it may be relegated to the proverbial trash can of user experience.
But there has been a bit of debate on this topic lately. The “classic” way of delivering websites to mobile is to have it detect whether you're using a desktop or mobile device, then redirect you to a mobile version of the website if it's the latter. The problem is that it would have a different URL (e.g. m.facebook.com), which may not be that good for SEO.
So instead of having a separate mobile version of the website, have web code that changes the layout when you use a mobile device or switch to a different screen resolution. You'd then look into things like media queries in CSS and so on to achieve responsive design without having to do it the old clunky way.
User experience should never be taken for granted, and it does seem like more and more people are catching on to how important it really is. What else do you think can be done to improve a website's UX and SEO? Please leave your ideas, suggestions, and other comments below so we can discuss more about it in the future.