Improve Website Performance – 10 Fundamentals

  1. Are you using Google Analytics (or require and use an alternative)?

    You can’t gauge success unless you measure performance. Google Analytics is a free and very effective tool for just this. For businesses that depends on local custom, it will qualify the proportion of your visitors that reside nearby and are therefore of value. eCommerce sites can drive sales by adjusting their site layout or structure based on the analysis of search terms used within their site when people can’t find information. The available measures are extensive.

  2. Is every page of your site connected to every other via a site map?

    Page Rank is a measure of how valuable or important Google considers a web page to be. It is based largely on the number, page rank, and relevancy of web pages that link to that page. The pages of a site can also inherit Page Rank from other pages of their website, but the more links to reach those pages, the less page rank is inherited.A site map thus maximises this inheritance by ensuring every page is just one page from every other.

  3. Are your URLs static, keyword-rich, and guessable?

    URLs, or the web address, plays an important role in the performance of a website in the search engine rankings. Dynamic URLs, often consisting of random letters and/or numbers, are less well received by search engines – they are concerned that their bot, or spider, will get tangled up in your site’s parameters. Keywords in the domain are a strong indicator to some [tag]search engines[/tag] that the page is relevant to that keyword, and thus boosts your ranking. Simple domains are memorable and communicable.

    An ideal example might be

  4. Does your (X)HTML validate?

    Enter your URL into the W3C XHTML Validation Tool to learn if your site, your competitors site, or your proposed web developers website validates. XHTML is a coding standard – coding standards help to ensure that your website reaches the most people and is sustainable across changes to future technology without incurring massive costs.

  5. Does your XHTML contain presentational elements?

    In your browser, right click and hit view source – confirm that the first line of code, the one starting with ‘DOCTYPE’, does contain the words ‘XHTML’ and ‘Strict’. You can also skim the page code to confirm it doesn’t contain presentation keywords such as ‘color’, ‘font’, ‘margin’, ‘padding’, and ‘float’, etc.

    It is critical in sites bigger than a few pages to ensure your content is separate from the instructions for how to present that content. While the content is static, the presentation must be flexible across devices and over time. If you tie presentation instructions to every content element, then you face maintaining multiple versions of the same site for different devices, and updating every element of every page of each of these versions during a redesign – very expensive!

  6. Does your CSS validate?

    Enter you URL into the W3C CSS Validation Tool to learn if your site, your competitors site, or your proposed web developer’s website validates. Like XHTML, CSS is a coding standard, ensuring maximum [tag]website performance[/tag] and minimising the risks associated with website management.

  7. Do you meet Accessibility legislation?

    Use this Accessibility Validator to ensure you are fulfilling your legal obligations and maximises your target audience.

  8. Is the content of your title tags relevant to their specific page’s content?

    Title tags, the text that appears as a link on the search engines results page, is the single-most important factor of on-site [tag]search engine optimisation[/tag]. Make sure each page’s title is different, and that it effectively describes the content of the page.

  9. Is your navigation consistent across every page

    Users will establish expectations having used your navigation once – don’t break these expectations by moving or hiding links.

  10. Do you provide an accessible, easy user feedback mechanism?

    Any feedback you can get from them informs you about the performance of your website – provide a quick and easy way for your users to ask a question or leave a comment. You also appear more approachable and facilitate dialogue.

[tags]web design, web project management[/tags]

"Iain had listened and latched on to a key element in the brief - simplicity"

Alister Thomson
Director SPM

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