Category Archives: Best Practices

Print Friendly Feature Necessary?

Is the “Print Friendly” feature seen on web pages throughout the web necessary?

Up to a week ago, I thought not.

The Print Friendly feature obtained popularity in the late 90’s, early 2000’s. At that time, most pages were so content & navigation heavy that it didn’t make sense for companies to allow website visitors to print the pages “as is.” So, through programming, sites would dynamically generate a new page, specifically designer to print better. The problem was the duplication of development efforts to perform such a simple task. Additionally, many of these print version provided poor results, with lines of text being cut off along the right edge (just enough to drive you insane). Continue reading

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Filed under Best Practices, Web Design

Start SEO Post Launch? I don’t think so…

I’ve heard this ideology before, but was just reminded again while viewing a presentation by a well respected web professional. It’s the idea that, when building a website, SEO is started at the time of launch and beyond into maintenance mode.

Ah, no…

Search engine optimization must be considered during the initial planning stages of a site (or even during the initial planning stages of a redesign). SEO factors into many aspect of a site’s creation, from the naming of the domain, files & folders, navigation labels to the coding, design and and layout of the pages/templates. SEO is a piece of the overall puzzle, a peer and beneficiary of usability, accessibility, information architecture, etc.

Search Engine Optimization as part of the Web Design Workflow

The standard web design workflow is presented below (Thanks to Kelly Goto for writing the book on this topic). I’ve embellished and added to the workflow with SEO tasks that should take place in conjunction to the web design tasks.

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Filed under Best Practices, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Web Design

Web Analytics: Why Conversions are More Important Than Pages or Visits

Remember back in the day when you could proudly show your boss or client how many page views or visitors your site was getting? And the boss would pat you on the back, possibly giving you a bonus for a job well done?

Guess what, the bubble bursted, many years ago. Like many things in life, it all about the bottom line, the almighty dollar. Businesses don’t thrive on lookie-loos. Would Macy’s stay in business if people only window shopped, or if they came into the store, just browsed the counters and racks, then left?

I run into people all the time with a “hit counter” mentality. So many site & business owners proclaim “Our website receives thousands of hits.” Yet, whether they currently know it or not, their online business is failing. It’s failing because they are unaware of what is really happening on their sites; what their site visitors are actually doing.

I have a client who, in the past, would exude a mood based on the number of inquiries that were coming from the website. Some days, when several inquiries came in, life would be good. On others when, no inquiries were received, a fire alarm was raised, questioning whether the web-based form was working. When I looked into the situation further, I discovered that we were losing 95% of inquiries as part of the form submission process. Through tweaks to the form, we’ve made positive progress. However, without this type of business knowledge, how can you possibly know the level of success you are obtaining?

To remain relevant, whether you have a business to support, or just a personal blog, you must have access to the intelligence to understand what is happening on your website, what people are doing, are interested in. The only way to do this is via a web analytics program. Continue reading

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