Simplicity in web design means something different today than several years ago. “Simple” nowadays is inherently linked with search engine optimization. The truth is, Google like simple websites, which do not cause much trouble for the bots. Of course, search engine crawlers are much sophisticated today and they can read a lot on a website. Nonetheless, you will have much better success getting found if you design your websites with simplicity in mind. In fact, if you do that you do not have to worry much about optimization itself. In my mind, simple design is a synonym of on-site optimization. And do not be fooled, until search engines do not come with a breakthrough idea on how to index videos, flash, pictures and audio files plain text is all you have to work with, so I say this one more time – IF YOU WANT TO BE THE BEST, KEEP IT SIMPLE.
Look at open source like WordPress and Jomla. Most themes for these two platforms are simple when it comes down to it. Of course, you can install plugins and add-ins, but consider the fact that majority of websites making money through Adsense and getting mostly organic traffic thrive of simplicity of Wordress design. Urls for posts and pages are almost always titles of these posts/pages, which is both SEO friendly and plain simple. Directories like ours also put their listings with urls reflecting titles, which is what our clients request. In reality, the spreading of open source is making web design more of a standard than it has even been possible before. More and more websites have the same coding structure, which may not be great for security reasons, but is surely a good development as far as “clean Internet” eliminating overflow of code and poor design solutions.
Just remember these facts that may change the way you design your site. For one, you do not have to have a graphic logo for your website. In fact, if you put a text with your keywords instead of an image this may greatly help your SEO. Second, if you have an address and a phone number, do publish it on your site. Search engines like websites, which appear legitimate and putting your contact details is one way of showing you are for real. Finally, do not be afraid to make changes even if you think you have a solid ranking in Google. Who knows what ranking you may get if you try something new? So experiment! Even if it’s not working you should not dramatically use your rankings and even if you do, you will most likely quickly regain it. One thing is certain, simple is more than just beautiful – its effective.