Article Index

Web Sites

I want to be at the top of Google's search results.

So does everyone else. Google (and other search engines) use sophisticated ranking algorithms designed to reduce the ability of web designers to influence a sites position in search results, so there is only so much that you can do.

My tips for helping search engines:

  • Have some content worth finding. If you're at the top of the search rankings but when people browse your site they find nothing that makes them want to be customers, then you haven't really accomplished anything.
  • Use keywords. Customise the keywords and descriptions for each page on your site. This is hard work. If you can't be bothered doing it yourself then pay someone to do it for you.
  • Don't hide behind images. Use the 'alt' tag of an image to make sure that search engines knows what information it contains. For instance, if you always use an untagged graphic for the name of your product, search engines may never recognise that site as relevant to the product.
  • If you use frames, make sure you have a 'noframes' section. There are many myths about search engines not being able to search sites that use frames; the real problem is web designers who don't know how to use the noframes tag.

If this seems all a bit hard, there is an entire industry devoted to search engine optimisation (SEO) and its proponents will happily take your money; it might not make any difference, but if it makes you feel better…

My web site isn't working?

Perhaps not, but what did you expect?

Many web sites fail to meet the expectations of the site owners. There can be many reasons behind these perceived problems including poor design, hosting and telecommunications problems and even unrealistic expectations on the part of the site owner.

Web site review

Consider an external review of your website. Such a review should include:

  • Purpose Why do you have a web site? What do you expect from it? Why are these expectations not being met?
  • Design How does your web site appear to internet users?
  • Interoperability Can everyone use your site or only those using your favourite browser, screen size etc.
  • Usability Is your site difficult to navigate, difficult to use? Can people easily find what they are looking for?

A web site is not generally an end product but rather an element of an organisation's strategy. Web sites should not be created and then left to themselves (they do unspeakable things in the dark) but should be monitored and reviewed just like any other part of your business.