Just looking for some helpful information to use on your own site? What better way to learn some tips of the trade than to do so for FREE!
- choose a web site design standard for your pages like 'world wide accessibility' versus something less universal.
- test, test, test.. to make sure your design features degrade gracefully in diverse web browsing environments and screen configurations.
- use commonly accepted good site design practices.
Choose a website design "standard" for all of your pages. For instance keep the same layout from page to page. If your navigation is on the left on the index page keep it on the left in all other pages as well. Consistancy is the key!
I know most of us use Internet Explorer, but there are several other browsers out there being used by a good number of people. Check to see that your site looks/works well in these other browsers. You might you need to change a couple of things that simply do not work in Firefox or Netscape.
Most importantly...design a site that uses good design practices.. If you don't know what these are do some research prior to building your site. It is far easier to do it right from the begining than to have to fix what you've already done. This is a great place to start W3C.org
Many search engines use linking to rate the importance and relevancy of your site. This doesn't mean just exchanging links with any and all sites you see or are contacted by. This mean selecting a "theme" and then searching out sites that meat your criteria. For example, if you offer hand crafted items then maybe a link exchange that focuses on hand crafted items would be a good place to start. Go for a broad "theme", do not restrict yourself to only the same items you offer, but rather something about the items you offer.
You may want to have a look at the sites that are linking to your site. You may find that some of the sites that have linked to you simply do not offer the things you would like to be associated with. You check your links several ways. The most popular search engine is Google. While Google will not show all of your incoming links typically, it does show you what it finds to be relevant. To check your incoming links with Google, go Google and enter in the search bar "link:www.yoursite.com", please remember to remove the quotes and to replace yoursite.com with your site name.
Another great tool is Alexa. Alexa will give you many more incoming links than Google. To see your incoming links using Alexa, visit Alexa and enter your site name, for example Mrs. Designs, not the website address. This will then return a listing of sites that should include yours at the top of the list. Choose your site by clicking on "Site Info" and this will give you a listing of the site as well as a link to check the "Sites Linking In". Once again, you will want to check these just to be sure there isn't an undesirable site linking to your site.
Get not only the main index page of your site listed on Google, but all pages of your website. You need to know what pages are currently indexed by Google. To this, again go to Google and in the search box enter "site:www.yourdomainname.com", please remember to remove the quotes and to replace yoursite.com with your site name. This will provide a list of all the pages that Google has indexed for your entire site. If you find that not all pages of your website are indexed, Add Your Website to Google and submit your site. This will allow Google to see your entire site and not just the index page that may simply have incoming links. Google can take up to 8 weeks to index a website so be patient.
Keep your site up to date
Don't allow your site to sit for months on end without being updated in some fashion. Search engines roam through the internet and look for new content on websites. Keeping your site up to date will keep the search engines on their toes. When a site is updated frequently it lets the search engines know the website is an ongoing work, not just simply sitting there and taking up space...in other words the search engines will have a look at your site more frequently.
Get your site working properly
Sure you may attract people to your website, but what happens if once they are there the site just doesn't meet their needs? An unattractive design or half-built website doesn't appeal to anyone. Assuming you're happy with how your site looks, you need to look at all the "bells & whistles". Here's a quick list of items that really turn people off a website...and fast!
- Broken Links - Simply checking these items out will save your customers time and energy.
- Spelling Mistakes - Use the spell check feature that we all know and love on your website too. Misspelled words speak poorly of you personally and therefore of your business.
- Page Size - I know, we all love our graphics. What good do they do if the site takes forever to load & no one will stick around to see them? Make good use of the graphics you choose to place on your site. They should have a purpose.
- Music - We all love the music that our friends and family listen to, right? Then why subject your visitors, and potential customers, to music they might not like? Get rid of the music!
A properly built and maintained site is sure to be more valuable to you over time then one that needs constant redoing and work. The usual updates are not a big deal when the entire site is working correctly from top to bottom.