10 Lessons From 1 Billion Page Views

Recently at the Yext ONWARD18 conference our CTO, David Højelsen, and Yext’s Design Director, Erin Pfiffner, guided attendees through 10 lessons that they’ve learned from working with enterprise and small business websites.

With a perfect combination of technical and design expertise, David and Erin gave their best tips and tricks for building performance-based websites in today’s era of voice search and need for branded online experiences. Overall, their message focused on ‘Technology Endurance’ and ensuring that your website from both a design and tech perspective could withstand technological shifts over time as we transition to adopting more artificial intelligence, and need to focus our efforts on data ownership and control of our online data.

Here’s a summary to help you employ best practices on your website:

Lesson 1: Balance business expectations with search engine tactics

Keep in mind that search engine optimization (SEO) is a long-tail investment, and remember that all the small things, from W3C compliance to image optimization to adhering to privacy standards, contribute to overall SEO performance.

Lesson 2: Your website is a data hub

Your website is your proprietary data hub within the digital landscape. Make sure that you curate relevant content (data) for your website, so that it can easily be found online, and even more so - leverage your website to collect valuable data-based insights about your visitors.

Lesson 3: Well organized content is a game-changer

Ensure that content/data on your website is structured and marked up according to common standards, such as Schema.org and JSON-LD. This makes it easier for search engines to make sense of content on your website, and deliver richer results to the user. To put it simply, if humans can’t understand it, then robots can’t either.

Lesson 4: Content gets users to your site

Ensure that website copy is optimized for your target audience’s search keywords and that they appear in important fields, such as H-tags. A pro tip: Don’t style important promotions or information into images, as it can’t be crawled by search engines.

Lesson 5: Design drives conversions

Design is an experience, and people buy into the look-and-feel of your brand. According to Stanford, 46.1% say look-and-feel influences trust of website, and 38% will leave if it’s unattractive.

Lesson 6: It pays to stay on top of regulations

Make sure that you separate the design of your website from the content. This is important so that your website content OR website design can easily by independently adjusted in preparation for new regulations, such as e-privacy (content focused) and accessibility (design focused).

Lesson 7: Don’t overlook the powers of conditioned behaviors

To say it short and sweet, respect the user’s time and experience. Don’t customize your website with unintuitive functionality (Jacob’s Law), make it easy for users to find what they are looking for (Hick’s Law) and limit your content to a maximum of 5-7 takeaways that you want users to remember (Miller’s Law).

Lesson 8: Think twice before adding third-party widgets

There are without a doubt many great third-party widgets available, so the lesson was to simply caution website owners to think about some of the challenges that widgets may bring, such as e-privacy compliance, inconsistent design and slower website load times.

Lesson 9: There is power in a collaborative mindset

Combine the best from design and tech to create a stronger website in terms of performance, tools and processes - and remember to keep this collaborative approach in mind when hiring for your website team.

Lesson 10: Trends to ditch and adopt

Last but not least - David and Erin share their trends to ditch and adopt, and the advice was:

  • Ditch (tech): Off domain images: It’s cheaper, but less secure!
  • Ditch (design): Carousels
  • Adopt (tech): Local content delivery networks (CDN) for faster delivery
  • Adopt (design): Authentic imagery on your website

Download their full checklist for tips, tricks and tools on how to improve your website!

Download the checklist