As a web designer, it’s so much fun to build beautiful websites, play around with new elements, features and tools. And yet, as we dive into all these shiny distractions, it becomes easy to forget the purpose of a website which leads to a lack of attention in some key areas.
In reality, it’s pretty easy to get distracted from these important points as well...let’s just say, they aren’t as much fun as other web design tasks we could be working on!
Unfortunately, the lack of attention to these important areas of web design and how that lack of attention hurts the website and business behind it, is crucial to be aware of.
After reading this, you’ll know exactly what to pay attention to to ensure you are building a high quality website and you can even add these tasks to your website launch checklist.
Don’t Make These Website Mistakes
#1 Not Paying Attention to PageSpeed
Page speed is a ranking factor for SEO. Why? Because it impacts a user’s experience on a site and Google wants to deliver search results that deliver a positive user experience.
That’s why they’ve released free tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to help you test both the desktop and mobile versions of a site.
After running your website through PageSpeed Insights, you’ll receive recommendations for making web pages faster. Some common improvements you can make are:
- Optimizing images for a smaller file size and using JPEG images over PNG where possible.
- Reducing the number of 301 redirects the site uses.
- Use browser caching so they webpage only needs to reload new content and elements for returning visitors.
- Clean the site’s database so it runs efficiently and isn’t storing any unnecessary data.
And if you’re not familiar with how to make these improvements, there are several great plugins to help with this like WP Rocket, W3 Total Cache and WP Smush.
#2 Not Preparing for Site Security
Website security is so important, yet most web designers overlook it. Is this really part of the design process? While it’s not, not securing a website is like purchasing an expensive car and not getting insurance for it.
According to Internet Live Stats, over 100,000 websites are hacked everyday.
Websites are often hacked by hackers exploiting loopholes that are constantly being found and adding malware, stealing private information and even taking down full websites.
WordPress especially has a lot of vulnerabilities like brute-force login attempts, cross-site scripting, pharma hacks and more.
There are many steps you can take to secure a website to prevent access to the site by those that shouldn’t have access.
Some steps you can take include:
And most importantly, make sure to take regular backups of the website so in the event the website is hacked, you will be able to easily restore the website in minutes.
#3 Not incorporating basic SEO strategies
As a good web designer you should at least be aware of SEO and how you can build a website that is set-up for SEO even if you won't be the one performing the service.
We’ve already covered 23 SEO Tips All Web Designers Should Know to catch you up to speed.
Some of the biggest, yet easiest SEO tasks you can incorporate into your website designs are:
- Set-Up Google Search Console
- Create an XML Sitemap
- Use a SEO plugin
4. Make images SEO friendly
5. Use SEO friendly URLs
#4 Not reviewing the site's analytics
Web design should always be done with intention. Do you know what the business wants to achieve with their website? How do visitors currently use the website? Do you know what the site’s current metrics are such as:
- Number of pages visited per session
- Time on site
- Bounce rate
- Conversion rate (goals)
- Top landing pages
- Top traffic sources
Knowing this type of information will help you design a website that is useful to the right audience, converts well and helps the business reach their main goal.
Don’t just install analytics, make sure to review the data regularly and make changes accordingly.
#5 Using a high number of plugins
We’ve already talked about the importance of page speed and website security, and a high number of plugins is a problem for both of those areas.
Web designers should look for how to achieve the site’s goals with the least amount of plugins possible. Not only do they constantly need to be updated, they also slow down a website a lot!
Log-in to your dashboard right now. How many plugins do you have? 20? 30? 40+? Review what’s there and if it’s not in use, get rid of it!
Most websites should not need a high number of plugins and rather than adding to the performance, they can actually start to hinder the website.
Improving Your Websites
Now having read this, you will be building better, more powerful, more secure websites moving forward that are ready to rank! Luckily these are easy to implement and will make you even more valuable as a Web Designer.