99 things every website designer must keep in mind.
1. Page content and images
- The content of each page has been checked to ensure that there are no spelling / grammar errors.
- The content of each page is simple to understand for the target audience.
- The content of each page is relevant, engaging and fresh.
- Each page uses adequate relevant images.
- Each image has been legally purchased / licensed or created in-house.
- The text is split into columns or grids to make it easy for readers.
- None of the text blocks are greater than 60% of the width of a page.
- The header contains: company name, logo, social media profile links, navigation menu, email address
- The content of each page is in inverted pyramid format with most important content on top and least important at the bottom.
- All sentences are adequately short and the words used are simple to understand.
- All paragraphs are adequately short.
- Content focuses on the benefits to the users instead of the features.
- [Google says] Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.
- [Google says] Don’t embed important text inside images.
- [Google says] Give your images detailed, informative filenames e.g. my-new-black-kitten.jpg instead of IMG00023.JPG
- [Google says] Create great alt text e.g. <img src=”puppy.jpg” alt=”Dalmatian puppy playing fetch”>
- [Google says] Place images near the relevant text.
- [Google says] Good-quality photos appeal to users more than blurry, unclear images.
- [Google says] Specify a width and height for all images.
- [Google says] Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it.
- [Google says] Try to use text instead of images to display important names, content, or links.
- [Google says] The Google crawler doesn’t recognize text contained in images. If you must use images for textual content, consider using the ALT attribute to include a few words of descriptive text.
2. Duplicate content
- Duplicate content does not exist on different sub-domains.
- Duplicate content does not exist on different domains owned by the same organization.
- Duplicate content does not exist on the “secure” version of the site.
- Duplicate content does not exist on ‘printer friendly’ version of the site?
3. Quality guidelines
- [Google says] Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
- [Google says] Don’t deceive your users.
- [Google says] Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
- [Google says] Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging.
- [Google says] Make your website stand out from others in your field.
4. Page Design
- Each page has sufficient white space so that the page does not appear ‘cluttered’.
- Each page is designed to maximize user attention.
- Each page has 1 main heading and adequate subheading.
- Where relevant, bulleted / numbered lists are used to make the content easy to read.
- There is a clear distinction between the header, content and footer sections on each page.
- The color scheme of all pages is consistent.
- Each page is responsive and displays well on mobile devices.
- The use of pop-ups is minimum.
- It is easy for a visitor to share site content on social media.
- Flash is not used.
- Line spacing and paragraph spacing is adequate.
- Padding in all the web pages, as well as tables, is adequate.
- Menus and sub-menus are easy to navigate, especially on mobile devices.
- Breadcrumbs are used to guide users, especially if the site has many categories and sub-categories.
- Fonts are suitable and of ideal size.
- All links, internal and external, are regularly checked to ensure the absence of dead-links.
- Arrows or other icons are used to direct users towards call-to-action.
- Call-to-actions are clear to understand. Words such as ‘Submit’ are not used in call-to-actions.
- Most web pages are designed to serve as good landing pages.
- The color scheme of all pages is suitable and consistent.
- Colors are used to organize information.
5. Page Links
- Each page contains a link to the homepage.
- Each page contains social media icons, which are linked to the relevant social media assets (Facebook page, Twitter, G+ page etc.)
- Each page contains a prominent call-to-action to subscribe for the mailing list.
- If relevant, each page contains a link to the blog.
- [Google says] Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.
- [Google says] Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links.
- [Google says] Offer a sitemap to your users with links that point to the important parts of your site. If the site map has an extremely large number of links, you may want to break the sitemap into multiple pages.
- [Google says] Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number.
6. Page keyword
- Each page is optimized around 1 primary-keyword.
- The title of each page is relevant, less than 70 characters and contains the primary-keyword.
- The meta description contains the primary-keyword.
- The primary-keyword is used adequately in the page content.
- The primary-keyword is ‘bold’ at least once in the page.
- The primary-keyword is used in the main heading on the page.
- At least one link uses the primary-keyword as its anchor text.
- At least 1 image is named using the primary-keyword.
- The ‘alt text’ of at least 1 image includes the primary-keyword.
7. The ‘About us’ page
The About page must contain:
- the organization’s mission
- list of products / services
- success stories
- links to other organizational websites
- details of key employees
8. The ‘Contact’ page
The ‘Contact’ page contains at a minimum the:
- official email addresses
- physical addresses
- official phones numbers
9. Other pages
- The ‘anti-spam policy’ page must be reachable from a static text link.
- The ‘copyright policy’ page must be reachable from a static text link.
10. Technical Guidelines
- Analytics tracking code is on every page.
- [Google says] Allow search bots to crawl your sites without session IDs or arguments that track their path through the site.
- [Google says] Make sure your web server supports the If-Modified-Since HTTP header.
- [Google says] Make use of the robots.txt file on your web server. This file tells crawlers which directories can or cannot be crawled. Make sure it’s current for your site so that you don’t accidentally block the Googlebot crawler.
- [Google says] Use robots.txt to prevent crawling of search results pages or other auto-generated pages that don’t add much value for users coming from search engines.
- [Google says] Test your site to make sure that it appears correctly in different browsers.
- [Google says] Monitor your site’s performance and optimize load times.
- [Google says] Google strongly recommends that all webmasters regularly monitor site performance.
- [Google says] Check for broken links and incorrect HTML.
- No URL should contain excessive parameters or session IDs.
- All URLs exposed to search engines should be static.
- [Google says] If you decide to use dynamic pages (i.e., the URL contains a “?” character), be aware that not every search engine spider crawls dynamic pages as well as static pages. It helps to keep the parameters short and the number of the few.