If your web page doesn’t sell your site to your readers it won’t sell product either. This checklist will help you improve your pages and keep your readers happy.
Time Required: 15 minutes
- Check to make sure your page title is descriptive of the page it’s on. It is what shows up in search results and when your page is bookmarked, so make sure it makes sense. When people come to a page that doesn’t seem to match its title, they often leave thinking they ended up in the wrong place.
- Verify that the site contents is what your readers want. Do surveys, take polls, and ask them. Once you know what they want, give it to them. People come to websites because of the information, pictures, or products that are there, and if you don’t give them what they’re looking for they will leave.
- Look at the length of your pages. Too short and it will look uninformative, too long, and it will seem ponderous. Strike a happy medium. The absolute length will vary from site to site. For example, a recipe site might have shorter pages while a site that teaches things might have longer pages.
- Make sure that your pages load as quickly as possible. While there is no 100% reliable rule-of-thumb for how large is too large, remember that no one complains that a site is “too fast.” Slow pages are the number one complaint about the web. Learn how to speed up your web pages and your customers will appreciate it.
- Make your links and navigation as clear as possible. The only time you should hide links is when you have set up the site as a game where they need to find the links.
- The best websites have very few things on each page. Before you add anything to your web pages, think about what value it adds to that page. This goes for multimedia (images, sound, flash, and video) more than anything else. Multimedia takes longer to load than plain text and if it’s not adding value it shouldn’t be there.
- Always define the exact height and width for images that are not set as backgrounds on elements. Letting the browser resize an image (either by leaving the height and width out or by setting a different size than the actual size) makes pages load more slowly and the images may look bad.
- Links in text should state clearly where the link goes. While some sites find writing “click here” helps their readers realize that the underlined text is a link, you should also tell them what they will get when they click.
- Avoid pages that are just lists of links. They are boring to read, and most people don’t find them useful. If the page is worth linking to, it’s worth explaining why you think so.
- Validate your links. Use a link checker as often as possible. Broken links make your site look bad and can even affect your ranking in search engine results.
- Make sure all your pages have a feedback link or contact information. If you want people to see your site, you should be willing to hear comments about it. This makes your site look more credible and trustworthy.
- Consider using a “last updated” field. Many people prefer to only view sites with current information. Keep in mind that this can be misleading. On information sites the information may be 100% current even if there is no last updated date or the date is far in the past. For example, many of the oldest pages on this site still have value even after more than 10 years.
- Don’t forget the spell checker. There are a lot of common spelling and grammar errors that can make your site look unprofessional. And by checking the spelling and grammar you can avoid silly errors.