Sunday, 20 January 2013

The anatomy of a website — a quick guide for non-web-designers

Updated October 2016

Is your website performing as well as it should be?

If you feel your website is not getting enough hits, the first thing you should do is look at the site itself. If it hasn't been professionally written by an experienced SEO copywriter it could be missing a few important parts. Keep reading and I'll show you what to look for.

Are you considering an off-the-peg website?

If your website needs are simple you may be thinking of using a web-ready template. Sites like Wordpress and 1&1 are making web design more accessible to non-designers, but you still need some website knowledge to give your site a competitive edge and put it on the search engines' radar.

Make sure your site has a favicon

A favicon is a small symbol that appears in the URL bar, next to your website's URL. The favicon for Blogger is the Blogger logo. You can see it below.

The favicon has become a mark of a professional and credible website. Experts advise that each site should have its own personalised version.

A favicon is something your web designer can provide. If you are using Wordpress, or a similar web-ready template, you can create your own favicon online for free and apply it to your site using a plug-in.

Make sure your site has page titles

The page title appears at the very top of the browser window, above the URL box and is highlighted in yellow below.

The page title is one of the most important areas of your website for search engine optimisation and should be something significant. If you have a one-word page title, like 'Home' above your home page, your page titles haven't been written or added correctly.

For best results, each page of your website should have a different page title and each page title should be no more than 65 characters long, including spaces. 

Make sure your site has meta descriptions

Your meta descriptions shouldn't actually appear on your website. They are the two black lines of text that appear under the blue heading in a Google search. They are highlighted in yellow below.

Meta descriptions are keyword searchable, so make sure yours include some of your key words and phrases.

If you don't enter your meta descriptions specifically, the search engine will find and use some copy from the page of your website. However, this may not necessarily be the copy you want to use to introduce your site to potential customers. 

For best results use specific meta descriptions and have a different description for each page of your site. Each meta description should be no longer than 155 characters, including spaces.

Make sure your images have relevant filenames

The names of the image files used on your site can be used for search engine optimisation.

For best results give each image on your website a relevant filename. Keep the filenames short but, if you have to use more than one word, separate the words with hyphens. E.g. decoupage-boxes.jpg

Make sure your images have alt tags

Alt is the web design abbreviation for 'Alternative Text'. Alt tags should be applied to the images on your website. They can be useful for blind Internet users as they explain what the images are. They are also a good way to improve your search engine optimisation.

For best results use a different, relevant alt tag for each image. Each alt tag should be no longer than 125 characters and words should be separated with hyphens.

This quick guide is an introduction to the basic elements of your website. There are lots of other things you can do outside your website to boost your traffic and business.

If, having read this article, you feel your website could benefit from the skills of a professional SEO copywriter, why not contact me. I have plenty of website copywriting experience that could help you to improve the performance of your site and I will even evaluate your existing site for free.

Commission me to write or edit your website and you will also receive my free PDF guide to increasing your website traffic. 

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