Basic Web Design

Before creating and submitting your website to the SE’s, you first need to setup your website to make it attractive and valuable for the search engines and your visitors who are looking for your content.

  • Make a good plan what you want to do with your websiteKnow exactly who your audience (customer) isLearn about your direct competitors (just have a critical look at their websites and learn from the good things (their success) and avoid the bad things.Make ‘your’ website unique, comparing to your competitors. Do something different what others don’t do to attract visitors. Distinguish yourself from your competitors.Design an all-embracing keyword-rich-title and a keyword-rich-description for each page of your website.

    Related topic: How Web Design Can Affect Search Engine Rankings

  • Define a list of keyword phrases that are relevant to your business (website).  Use SEO tools to do your research.

  • Analyze keywords by browse Google using your defined keywords and see what sites are listed in the first 3 pages, study those websites and try to make your  website better (remember, because these competitors are already listed, they are a big step ahead of you, but if you want, you can beat their position!). Use specific tools to do your research.

  • Write natural, informational and relevant content, and use your defined keywords phrases between the content.

    Related topic: Writing SEO Copy – 8 Steps to Success

  • Use your metatags to let robots find your site and pages: Create an all-embracing title using your primary keywords

    Create the same for your ‘description’ meta name. (“description”)

    And also for your keyword meta name  (“keyword”), which is not useful for Google but still for some other major SE’s.

    Read more about title tags.  Do this for EVERY page of your website.

    Related topic: All about title tags

  • Use H1, H2 and H3 tags in your content

  • Use style sheets (CSS), instead of on-page formatting

  • Avoid using frames, frames are difficult or even impossible to read for the SE robots. If a robot can’t read your page, then you will not get indexed. If you can’t avoid using frames, then use the no-frame page for your metatags.

  • Use normal index names, like: index.htm, index.html, index.cgi, index.php, but try to avoid page names with large (database-entry) ID’s or parameters. This is also difficult to read for robots.Use keywords in page-names.

  • Use descriptive page names like: basicwebdesign.htm or basic-web-design.htm, but NOT: basic_web_design.htm or page2, page100, etc.

  • Use your keywords in your (internal and external) links (we call this anchor text). Do not use: click here or read more. But better is: book here your weekend to Paris

  • Build a sitemap and call this page sitemap.html. On this page you show (only normal text, no graphics etc.) a complete overview (chronological or alphabetical, whatever is best for your site), of all your pages, sub pages or topics, including short descriptions that are published on your site. A sitemap is easy to access for robots to find and index all your website pages.

  • Do not use too many graphics, graphics can’t be seen by robots, but if you do, then always use the alt-tag with keyword rich text, to describe the specific graphic. Keep the alt-text ‘natural’ otherwise it will look spammy for the SE’s.

  • Use an easy-to-access navigation bar at the top or left-top of all your pages, but also at the bottom of all your pages. Make it for the visitor easy to navigate through your website. If a visitor gets lost after page 2, it will immediately leave your site! Best thing is to use breadcrumbs, show the visitor where he is and from where he came from.

  • Avoid using java-script/applets menu’s, although they look nice, they can’t always been seen by SE robots. Do not use large flash movies or heavy animations. Most web surfers still use a slow phone line to surf the web. Slow loading pages will definitely give a visitor a reason to leave your site. Analyze your website (pages) regular, by using the statistics tool which will be provided (free) by most webhosts, like Google Analytics or Awstats.
    Related topic: Choosing a webhost

  • And finally…

  • Do not rush to finish your website just because you want to submit it to a search engine. Always test you websites for errors, dead-links, spelling errors, HTML syntax errors etc. Make your website easy to read, with a professional look. Remember, your personal taste of ‘design’ is not leading for your visitors. Your visitors are looking for your product, not for your super designed website with tons of animated graphics and a sea of flashing colors. Define your own house-style (not more than 3 colors) with your own graphic logo and create all your pages in the same look-and feel. The use of stylesheets (CSS) is a perfect tool to accomplish this.

    Click here for the official stylesheet information.

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