When designing your website, or running somebody else’s, just remember to check that a few basic essential building blocks are in place. This will help you in a number of ways, including the direction of your sight.
Ensure that your website can be viewed on a number of browsers, and not just Internet Explorer. Firefox and Opera are extremely popular browsers, and therefore your site should be compatible with them.
The importance of title tags cannot be overstated. Many websites, even well designed ones, do not pay attention to this, and as a result, lose traffic. Not a good situation.
Broken links are a fact of life, and it is important that the custom 404 page is in place. It is also a good idea to have a 301 page in place to redirect the traffic to where it needs to be. Having these links tracked by an analytic tool, will hi-light the broken links, enabling you to fix them.
Having said they are a fact of life, it is important that you fix all the broken links. It is a good idea to sweep the site for them on a regular basis. This also shows you old, out of date content that should be deleted.
It is a good idea to ensure that all links are obvious, and that they appear differently once they have been visited. This will improve the visitors experience as site navigation will be enhanced.
Sitemaps, are always good things to have, and as long as they are updated, will assist navigation no end.
Typography should be a consideration for all websites. Is it clear? Are the colors appropriate? Does it fit well with the feel of the site? Is it easy to read? You do not want to drive people away because the site is hard to read!
If a web site is big enough for a site search, take the time to get it working properly. This is no easy task, but one that is worth the effort. The benefit here is that if used in conjunction with a good analytics program, will show you what visitors are looking for, and what they are searching for but cannot find. This is a very important basic essential building block in web design.
We all know most search engine traffic comes from Google, so why not add a webmaster tools meta tag to make sure your site is being indexed completely and regularly. Arguably, this is a secondary building block, but it is a good one.
It is always a good idea to put in place a web analytics program if only to monitor improvements made to the site. It has other uses too, as you have just read
Help search engines find what they are looking for by using a 301 redirect. By using either www.mysite.comor mysite.com, and directing one to the other, or vise versa, you are making it easier for search engines to find information on your site, because they are only looking for one version of your site.
As long as you remember to be consistent, so you either use “www”, or you do not, the canonical domain, or URL to you and me, will remain consistent as the 301 redirects will direct the “wrong” one, to the right one. Web analytic reporting will also improve.
As long as you follow these basic essentials of web design, you will see improvements to the user experience, which results in more hits for a website, and more chance of visitors returning.
Many of these can be accomplished by using CSS with its handy focus on uniformity. Just remember to follow through the results from analytic programs, and the basic essentials of web design, will not let you down.