1 Keep it simple. You may love that ‘falling leaves’ fade-in graphic on a fave site.
But you must be on broadband, and were you a potential customer, or just browsing?
Large page size will deter many. You’ve got 15 seconds max. to impress - research
2 Graphics vs. text. Graphics are fun and give style, but search engines, can’t read,
for example, croque-en-bouche at the top of this page. Nor odd browsers. Search
engines look for a nice slug of relevant text. BTW, generally use one of the common
fonts. Arial, Times (both boring), Verdana, Trebuchet (here), Tahoma, Georgia (serif,
better than Times), Comic Sans (informal).
BREAKING NEWS. There are also new web fonts from Google, which are starting to be
used. See the fonts on the Google site. A good rule of thumb is if Google thinks
it a good idea, go with it. And new sites I am doing are using these fonts. They
have been around for about a year but the version 2 released in July 2012 has really
got it working well.
3 Keep text punchy. Net users have attention spans of gnats. Whatever text is in
your existing stuff, better be half that on the Web. Put interesting info first.
4 Never underline anything that’s not a hyperlink. And Italics show badly en masse.
5 Have boring (old-fashioned) text links on each page - spoil the look? But search
engine ‘spiders’ use them to check your site, and people, with non-standard browsers.
And talking search engines always have a site map, even on a four-page site. Google
looks for it! ...more on this?
6 Assume the audience is chronic lazy! Have a consistent look - in case they think
they’ve gone to new site. Navigation links must always be in a shade of blue, please.
And minimal scrolling.
7 Give me first your keywords! The Artillery Tower is a ‘restaurant’ in ‘Plymouth’.
To find a ‘restaurant’ in ‘Plymouth’, you’d put that in a search engine. The AT site
is well-populated with its two keywords; in the text, headings (blurb below this
page is in a special Heading tag), page titles (stuff in blue strip at top), and
page names. Test your idea of keywords on Google. A bit techie, but right-click a
competitor’s homepage, choose ‘view source’. See ‘keywords’ early on in the META
tags, and check out their keywords, if you need inspiration.
8 You wait for proper search engine listing. There’s a mass of spam/nefarious/devious
sites being created to attract search engines. Google, Yahoo, MSN, et al., will list
you within a week or two, but you’ll often wait up to six months before any proper
ranking, to let the dodgy sites fade away. Think of the Web as a long-term project.
Google also want to sell you Adwords, which use your keywords. Pay 12 - 50p each
time a punter comes to your site from Google (and others), and you’ll be right on
page one of Google results. Google Adwords sets up in 15 mins.! Generally much liked
by clients, as you only pay for results (cf. cost of newspaper/mag. ads.), and easy
to turn on and off. Note recently Google has got quicker ranking sites.
9 Check your spelling; check my spelling; get your wife/partner to check both - I
do. My favourite maxim: can’t spell, can’t cook.
10 Have a splash page at your peril! A splash page is that first page with pretty
pics which often move around and you have to click ‘Enter’ to get in. One more click
to get anywhere! See a graphic-based homepage done for this site a while ago.