Apr 15

15 Essential Checks Before Launching Your Website

Your website is designed, the CMS works, content has been added and the client is happy. It’s time to take the website live. Or is it? When launching a website, you can often forget a number of things in your eagerness to make it live, so it’s useful to have a checklist to look through as you make your final touches and before you announce your website to the world.

This article reviews some important and necessary checks that web-sites should be checked against before the official launch — little details are often forgotten or ignored, but – if done in time – may sum up to an overall greater user experience and avoid unnecessary costs after the official site release.

Favicon

A favicon brands the tab or window in which your website is open in the user’s browser. It is also saved with the bookmark so that users can easily identify pages from your website. Some browsers pick up the favicon if you save it in your root directory as favicon.ico, but to be sure it’s picked up all the time, include the following in your head.

1 <link rel="icon" type="image/x-icon" href="/favicon.ico" />

And if you have an iPhone favicon:

1 <link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="/favicon.png" />

9rules in 15 Essential Checks Before Launching Your Website Continue reading

Apr 08

Tips for Choosing a Typeface

Let’s pull it all together with some pragmatic ways to get your typeface choice made. You might want to try these tips, which many designers use to their advantage in one way or another. Be the beneficiary of their wisdom and experience.

1. Plan Your Hierarchy

First, make sure you have a good grasp of the content and typographic hierarchy your design job will dictate. You may realize, after a thorough analysis, you need five fonts (not typefaces) to cover your various heading, sub-headings and call-outs. Can your typeface provide enough variation with bolds, italics and small caps? Or do you need two typefaces to create more distinction in the hierarchy? Three? Use a mind-mapping tool or make a traditional outline to see as much as you can before you start choosing typefaces. Consider this example of a bad and a good hierarchy using the same text. Notice the role white space plays in the hierarchy, too. Use as many levels as you need as long as there is distinction and clear purpose in your choices.

Plan-your-hierarchy in How to Choose a Typeface Continue reading

Apr 06

Designing an Accessible Site Without Losing Your Mind

One of the biggest mistakes I see from web designers is making accessibility more complicated than it actually is. Most designers think of creating accessible content as something that will take weeks of exaggerated tagging, designing tab-browsing and hot keys for every minute function of a site, and writing over-descriptive metadata, so most people just give up and don’t even bother. However, by using some simple techniques and following some basic guidelines, you can make your website accessible to a wide audience of users without spending too much time and energy.

I define web accessibility as:

“Making web content available to a wide audience regardless of physical abilities, web clients, and personal preferences.”

To simplify our tasks as accessible web designers, there a few specific categories that can be helpful as we evaluate some of the different types of users:

  • Visually Impaired: Those with low or no vision. These users may use screenreading software or may use the browser’s functionality to increase text size and contrast.
  • Hearing Impaired: Those with low or no hearing. These users will need to be able to see a textual representation of any audio that is part of the site.
  • Physically Impaired: Those who lack the physical dexterity to use a mouse or a traditional keyboard. These users may use a variety of interface devices, many of which parallel the functionality of the traditional [TAB] key. Continue reading
Mar 31

Branding vs. Keyword Rich Domain Names – Which Does Google Prefer?

When it comes to picking a domain name most webmasters are in a dilemma of whether to choose a keyword rich domain name that will get better rankings on Google or a branded domain name that is more likely to get more visitors to the site and be easier to remember.

In recent times Google has been putting more emphasis on brand names over keyword rich domains which has led to the widespread presence of various branded online business at top positions on the search result pages even if they did not meet all the SEO guidelines. Though Google has always denied such favoritism, their criteria to assess the relevancy of any site are constantly changing to keep away spammers, gamers, and black-hated sites and Google is now adopting more novel signals to help them improve their page ranking system.

A recent video by Google’s Matt Cutts explains the situation further. Matt emphasizes that Google is ready to experiment mixing up the old and new signals in their algorithm and see its impact on the evaluation of a website.

Google has been looking at using more robust signals like link authority, page rank, and keyword-rich domains over the traditional signals like on-page optimization, link anchor text, domain names, meta-tags and meta-description. However, we can’t forget about parameters like branding, social networking, reviews, and personalization – they seem to be getting more attention from Google in analyzing the credibility of a site. Continue reading

Mar 25

9 Questions To Ask After A Site Links To You

Inbound links increase the value of your website in the eyes of Google and the other search engines. And, they help more people find your website and all you have to offer. Each inbound link is like your website just got another vote of confidence.

So, once the link has been set up, your job is done. Or is it?

Getting links to point to your site is one of the most challenging parts of search engine optimization, but link building doesn’t end once a link has been set up.

In fact, getting that link should only be the first step in a long-term link building strategy.

Let’s talk about this for a minute. Someone received your link request, and went to the trouble of responding. Or, they heard about you, researched you, and maybe even purchased something from you, and then decided to link to you . However it started, he thought it was a good idea to create a link to your site and took the time to make it happen.

Do you just congratulate yourself and move on?

No! The person who helped you deserves a little bit more of your time and attention.

Not only should you send them a thank you for the link, you should treat this like the opportunity it really is. By establishing a relationship with them, you could not only boost your search engine rankings, you could be opening the door to rich collaboration and business opportunities.

Consider these nine important questions for sites that already link to you. Continue reading

Mar 22

Has SEO Peaked?

Richard J. Tofel at Nieman Lab posted an interesting article, saying that, “someday, the sun will set on SEO,” and that “the business of news will be better for it.”

Will the sun set on SEO? 

To sum up a lengthy post (at least my interpretation of it), the point Tofel makes is that publishers are abusing search to get views (nothing new there), and the news industry is suffering for it, but with Google taking stronger action, SEO tactics might fall by the wayside.

He does make some interesting points. For example, “The Huffington Post/AOL deal may mark something of a watershed in this progression,” he writes. “Much of the $300-million-plus in value HuffPo has built has been in playing very smartly by the SEO rules of the first decade of this century. But if it is true that most entrepreneurs sell out near the top, and it is, then perhaps we have just been sent a signal by one of its masters that the dark arts of SEO have peaked and that the century’s second decade will see them fade, perhaps into near nothingness by the third decade. In other words, it seems increasingly likely that, when the history of this era is written, SEO will turn out to have been a transitional phenomenon.”

He also refers to Google’s recent crackdown (Panda update) on low quality content as a “small step in an inevitable direction, with the direction being the sunset of SEO.” Continue reading

Nov 09

How to make a search engine friendly Flash menu?

SEO is a hot topic for website design all the time, since the majority of website traffics come from search engine instead of visual attractiveness. Every element in website design should take SEO into consideration. As for navigation bar, website designers usually choose SE friendly Flash menu to get crawled easily by spider and together with stunning menu effect to attract the viewers.

Flash menu can be search friendly to search engine spiders by three ways:

  • Generate the SE friendly code and insert it to webpage
  • Make XML sitemap and submit it to main-stream Search Engine
  • Generate sitemap to help navigate site and make it to be indexed by Search Engine

Continue reading