When building a website it is easy to get caught up in the coding and styling side and forget the basics that make a good website work well.  Here I give you part one of my checklist to follow before you put a site live.

  1. Common sense page names – For good Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and usability practise you  should be naming you page files according to what content they hold, for example – a page which contains Mexican recipes should be called mexican-recipes.html etc.  It is better to use hyphens rather than underscores when separating words.
  2. Unique meta data on every page – For each page, you should have a unique title, meta description, and set of meta keywords.  Adding unique titles and meta tags is beneficial for SEO as search engines will be able to identify what page is what, as well being benefit for usability as users will easily be able to keep track of what page they are viewing from the title of the page.  The worst thing you can do is leave any page titled as ‘untitled document’!
  3. Make sure your pages validate to W3C standards – Ensuring that the HTML and CSS every page on your site is valid will minimise any browser compatibility issues, help search engine spiders index your code quickly, and allow other web developers to see that you hold high standards when building websites.
  4. Fill out all your image alt tags – Having images well labeled with alt tags will help your site from SEO, usability, and accessibility perspectives.  Don’t spam your alt tags with keywords or text that you think will help you with search engine rankings, keep them accurate, describing exactly what the image is.
  5. Check your spelling – Make sure you run your page content through a decent spellchecker before putting anything live.  If you have spelling mistakes on your site it makes people think the site is unprofessional and are less likely to trust it.  When was the last time you saw a spelling mistake on the BBC website?

Part two coming this week – let me know if you have any yourself which I may add to the article of which you will get a linked-credit for.

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