In this day and age of instant gratification (do you, like me, stand in front of the microwave and holler “Hurry UP!!!!”?), it’s nice to know that there are still a couple of things you can do to improve your web site’s visibility and performance in the time it takes you to heat up a Hot Pocket™! So, what are you waiting for? Get that Hot Pocket in the microwave and let’s get busy!
- 1. Validate your stylesheets.
- You’d be amazed at the number of errors that can come to light by just running your stylesheet through a CSS Validator.
- 2. Validate your HTML.
- Like with the stylesheet, the HTML validator will point out all your HTML shortcomings. Maybe you forgot to declare a DOCTYPE or a character set? Not to worry. An HTML Validator will shake out those errors and omissions and get you on your way to validating code nirvana.
- 3. Use ALT tags in your images!
- If you ran your site through an HTML validator, and you didn’t use the ALT tag with your images, the validator probably let you know it straightaway. Not only will this help your readers who may be using a text-based browser, but it’s also another clever way for you to put relevant keywords into your site for the spiders to gobble up. Be kind to your screen-reading visitors and be kind to the spiders.
- 4. Proofread your copy for grammar nits and misspellings.
- Nothing loses credibility with your readers faster than a site with grammatical errors and misspelled words. I can forgive you this transgression if you are a 13-year old with a MySpace page. A reputed authority on [insert your field of expertise here]? Not so much.
- 5. Have a way for your readers to contact you.
- They might have a question for you, might want to hire you, or might want to report a site malfunction. Give them an easy way to contact you either with a contact form or a handy email link (and you can munge your email address so it’s invisible to those evil spambots, yet fully functional for your readers to click and open their email client).
Joni Mueller has been designing web sites for hire since 2003, when she first blew up her web host’s server by insisting on running Greymatter. Since then, Joni has designed for Blogger and Movable Type, TextPattern, WordPress and CMS Made Simple. She lives with her cat and shoe collection in a bucolic old section of Houston called Idylwood. For some strange reason, Joni likes to refer to herself in the third person. When she’s not working on web design, she’s ordering lawyers around. And blogging about it. Or both.