Is your website effective?

Would you believe that there are more websites hosted than there are websites found and crawled by search engines. This is down to a plethora of reasons that will take a while to explain. Lets begin by breaking things down into easy to understand chunks.

First things first, The Project!

If you need a website you should get one designed, then built, then launch and monitor it. An ongoing campaign to monitor and adapt things to stay ahead of the game is probably the most time consuming part but certainly the most important.

Design

Websites that ultimately are not effective are ones that have not been designed properly. So to make an website effective then the design should be easy to read and understand, the navigation should be clear and access all areas of the website, unless there are restricted areas for registered users but even they should be able to see where to go from the home page. The content should be clean and easy to read, sometimes the design requires a side bar or quick-links panel, this is to show clearly to your end user that there is something that may be of interest to them. There could be another challenge to overcome, like wanting your end user to be directed to one of four different areas of your website, maybe you want to attract suppliers and you don’t want your buyers to see what your suppliers need to know… I could go on but you would just get bored and I have a lot to get through! Anyway, that’s why design plays an important roll in making a website effective. And why its probably not best to use your “dad” or “uncle” who may have just completed a six week, one night a week course down at the local college!

Build

Ok this can be where we need to get off on the right foot. There is a thing call “Web Standards” and it’s a term used for technical specifications that apply to the internet. These specifications are given to make things standard and are associated with best practices for designing and building websites. There are a lot of specifications that would just be pointless writing about but put in a nutshell it goes like this – if your website does not validate to these specifications then a few things could go wrong. For example, your website will not render in older web browsers, people with disabilities cannot access your website, google or other search engines will not read all of your website’s content, which is really important because if they can’t see it then they won’t let your end user know, thus your end user won’t find your website! Clear as mud? I hope so!

Launch and monitor

Now then, your website is launched, that’s it – the project has reached it’s goal… wrong! Once launched you need to let the search engines know about it or maybe you have – the project has reached it’s goal… wrong, just because you can now google the website that has a unique domain name ‘www.myuniquebrainsurgeonwebsit.co.uk’ doesn’t mean to say your end user searching ‘brain surgeon’ will find it! After all your end user will more like search ‘brain surgeon’ than ‘myuniquebrainsuregeonwebsite’ right? There are lots of things that need to be done after the launch and fine tuning or monitoring your website is one of them. This in itself is a. time consuming and b. the most important. It takes a while to see proper results from a project that is done correctly but will most certainly be what makes your website effective.