This article describes in simple terms, practical and effective tactics used to optimize your website. Following these suggestions, will result in a more enjoyable visitors experience and traffic.
At the end of this
article there is a Reference and Resources section where you can find
supportive information and services related to each topic.
Compatibility With Web Browsers
It isn't a surprised for website owners, webmasters and others who are
involved in their websites optimization, to see how different the web
pages are displayed in various web browsers or between different web
browsers version. Web pages might not even be visible in some web
Displaying differences it's the result of how the various available web
browsers (Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Netscape, etc.), or their
versions, handle HTML code, HTML errors or computer screen resolution
used. Because of the above reasons, I highly recommend to look at your
web pages through at least three of the most widely used web browser
platforms: Internet Explorer, Netscape and Firefox. Alternatively, you
could use the available web based service found in the References and
Resources section at the end of this article. (See Anybrowser viewer
and Firefox below).
Title and Meta Tags
Meta tags are information inserted into the [HEAD][/HEAD] section of
the HTML code of any web page. There are many type of meta tags. We
will be considering only two of them and the [TITLE] tag.
From the visitor's point of view, the only tag visible within the head
section is the title tag, which is not a meta tag itself, but a stand
alone tag found in the head section of the web page. The title tag is
responsible of the wording displayed at the top left hand corner of the
web browser window. You should always include this tag in order to name
your web pages. Think of the title tag as the subject of an email
Two of the most important meta tags are the keyword and description
tags which are invisible to the visitor's eyes but should be also
included if you want your page information (title and description) to
be properly displayed on the search engine result page (SERP) listing.
Specially important is the meta description tag.
In the early days of the Internet, one could influence the search
result by including keywords within the meta keyword and meta
description tags you wanted the search engine (SE) to classify your
page for, today you cannot influence the result of the SE by just
adding desirable keywords anymore due to the level of complexity the
SEs have achieved which are able to analyze your page, decide what it
is all about and give it the position in the SERP based on those
findings and other external factors, which are beyond the scope of this
article. You could do just fine without including a meta keyword tag,
but including it won't hurt, on the contrary, I think it would rather
do more good than harm.
Keyword tag should contain between 5 and 10 keywords that appear on the
body of your page. You should never include keywords in the tag that do
not appear on that page. It is worth to say that some SE will penalized
your website doing otherwise. Also do not repeat the same keyword to
avoid SE penalization. (See meta tags generator below).
The Importance of ALT Tags
Many web surfer and visually challenged people browse the Internet with
the image viewing option of their web browser turn off or using text
readers respectively. When one of these surfer visits your site
containing lot of images, and it happen to be that those images contain
most of the content your website is about, they won't be able to read
the content of your pages if the images do not contain the ALT="your
image description" tags. The same situation applies to the search
engines since SEs do not index images, they won't index any text your
web site has in image format. ALT tags are essentially image
descriptions that always should be added to your images to make sure
your visitors and search engines can respectively read and recognize
all the content on your website.
Browser Safe Color Palettes
Computer platforms handle color differently, and the web browser limits
colors significantly. In order to move through the digital world with
consistency, the web page designer must be well aware of this fact.
While in the real world all colors are the result of some subtractive
combination of three primaries colors: red, yellow, and blue. In the
digital world all colors are the result of additive color synthesis or
combination of three primary colors: red, green, and blue, referred to
as RGB for short. Additive color is unlike the tangible world's
RGB values are derived from a method that numerically determines how
much red, green, and blue make up the color in question. Each color
contains a percentage of red, green, and blue.
A safe color palette is a palette containing 216 RGB colors that are
going to remain as stable as possible from one browser to another,
between platforms, and at different monitor capacities and resolutions.
If colors outside the safe palette are used, many web site visitors
will see the color the computer has available instead of the color you
have called for. In this case if you have asked for a soft, pale blue
outside the safe palette, you might end up having visitors who see that
color as bright neon. (See web safe color chart below).
Check For Broken Links
Broken links are links that lead to nowhere, and clicking on the link
will show you a 404 error code page. It is said that about 5% to 7% of
all links on the Internet are broken.
A site that contains broken links, including missing links to images,
gives a very bad impression to potential visitors and it is a frequent
cause of lost visitors. Also, the search engines and directories might
not list your Web page if it has broken links. (See links checker and
Netmechanic tools below).
Check Web Pages Load Time
Many Web surfers today browse the Internet through a high speed
broadband connection, it is fair to say that those visitors won't have
any problem accessing a heavy loaded page document, but a significant
percentage of those Web surfers still use slow speed dial up connection
to access the Web.
Surfers are known for having a very short attention span and will leave
your site before the page finishes loading. You'll lose many visitors
and sales this way if you do not pay attention to the loading time of
your pages. Generally speaking, the maximum accepted time for a page to
load is about 10 seconds, and it is recommended that your page to be
around 25Kb in size.
One easy way to calculate the net size of your web page is by using
Windows Explorer to find the file of your HTML and any graphic it
contains and looking to the size value for each file involved then
adding those numbers to get the size of the page in question.
Decreasing the loading time of a web page can be easily achieved by
both, compressing or shrinking the size of your images, and reducing
the size of your HTML code. You will lose some sharpness after
compressing the image more than 40 percent but you'll gain in speed.
Below you'll find more practical ways to further decrease page loading
time, keep reading. (See load time checker and image cruncher below).
HTML Code Optimizer
An HTML Optimizer removes all blank spaces in your HTML code, and this
is another way to make your page load faster. The result is shorter
downloading time. Pages will be shown in a client's browser in exactly
the same way, but the file size will be smaller.
Make sure that the HTML optimizer you use does not compress embedded
script codes within your page, which might be rendered unusable if they
get optimized this way. (See code optimizer below).
BORDER, HEIGHT and WIDTH Attributes
The attributes used with the [IMG] tag to specify an image width and
height are the WIDTH and HEIGHT attributes indicating the exact size of
your image in pixels. The other attribute that influences the way an
image is rendered on the user's screen is the BORDER attribute, which
should be set to zero if you don't want your hyperlinked image to show
a blue border around it. There is not need to specify BORDER="0" for a
normal, non-hyperlinked, image since no border appears around an image
unless that image is a link.
One interesting advantage to adding the height and width attributes to
an image tag is that when you do specify the image size for all of your
images, browsers take a lot less time to render your page because the
browser can determine the layout of the page without having to retrieve
each image separately to find out what size it is. To find out the
width and height of an image, just open it with any image editor and
look for its property.
Validate Your HTML Code
Just as texts in a natural language can include spelling or grammar
errors, documents using markup languages like HTML may, for numerous
reasons, not be following these rules. The process of verifying whether
a Web document actually follows the rules for the language it uses is
called validation, and the tool used for that is a validator. A
document that passes this process with success is called valid and
complies with a specific set of rules.
Different browsers, or versions of the same browser, will make
different guesses about the same illegal code; even worse, if your HTML
code is really bad, the browser could get confused and produce a
mangled display mess, or even crash. Validating your HTML will help
ensure that it displays properly on most browsers. Always check the
validity of your HTML code.
Look for a very versatile validator tool in the References and
Resources section at the end of this article, which is able to analyze
your web pages directly from your server, by file upload, and direct
document code input. (See validation service below).
References and Resources
ANYBROWSER VIEWER: http://www.anybrowser.com/siteviewer.html
FIREFOX BROWSER: http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/
IWEBTOOLS METATAGS GENERATOR: http://www.iwebtool.com/metatags_generator/
WEB SAFE COLORS CHART: http://www.virtualpromote.com/tools/colorchart/
IWEBTOOLS LINK CHECKER: http://www.iwebtool.com/broken_link_checker/
NET MECHANIC TOOLS: http://www.netmechanic.com/products/maintain.shtml
NETMECHANIC LOAD TIME CHECKER: http://www.netmechanic.com/cobrands/FutureQuest/load_check.htm
SPINWAVE IMAGE CRUNCHER: http://www.spinwave.com/crunchers.html
HTML CODE OPTIMIZER: http://www.iwebtool.com/html_optimizer/
W3C VALIDATION SERVICE: http://validator.w3.org/
Javier A Garcia is a successful Internet marketing expert and editor in chief of more than half a dozen websites available for anyone interested to start a work at home business, or to work from home. With many years of experience in online marketing, website optimization and promotion.