Thirteen Things Every Website NeedsBy
It’s my first Thursday Thirteen and I figured I would return to my roots on this one. Let’s give our sites a mini-audit using this checklist of 13 things every website needs!
- Title – Do you see that blue bar at the top of your screen? What does it say? At a minimum, it should have the title of your site plus a few key words or phrases that will help your users find you in their bookmarks. 50-80 characters is optimum.
- Description – You need an “elevator speech” for your site – a concise, descriptive summary of your site – up to 250 characters including spaces. You need this in your meta tags, but also keep it handy for when you register your site with directories and/or social marketing sites. It is also what appears under your site title (see #1) when being listed in the search engines.
- Keywords – Not just any old words, but approximately 1024 solid characters of descriptive words used in your site. Don’t list keywords you think might be popular but don’t appear in or apply to your site.
- Navigation – Is the navigation on your site intuitive? Is it laid out in a logical manner? Keep it simple and specific. You don’t want to lose your readers because they have to click through 8 layers of navigation to get to the info they need.
- White Space – Make your site easy on your readers’ eyes by giving all the elements room to breathe. Ample white space around images and margins will give these elements more impact. See this article at A List Apart for more explanation.
- Content - But not just any old copy. Your main page needs a minimum of 250 meaningful, content rich words. Remember, your visitors are in a hurry – give them the content they need in small, easy to read chunks, set off by subheads, bulleted lists and short paragraphs.
- Fresh Information – When was the last time you updated your site? Create a news section or at a minimum, change out the content or images on your home page regularly.
- Spell Check – Don’t tell me you forgot this one! Take the time to tend to the details like spell and grammar check – it will save you future embarrassment.
- Images – A picture is worth a thousand words and a well-placed picture or graphical element will save your web site from eternal loneliness. There are plenty of places to get images for free or at a small cost. And don’t forget to tag those images, too!!!
- Quality Links – Provide your readers with quality outbound links and seek out quality inbound links. Your PageRank will thank you.
- Call to Action – What is the purpose of your site? To sell a product? A service? To get more readers? Make it easy for your readers to figure out what your purpose is and to act on it. And don’t forget to put your ads above the fold.
- Copyright – Your content is yours and while the average, rule following individual can understand the Creative Commons License, others can’t. Protect your information.
- Contact – How can anyone do business with you if they can’t contact you?
There you have it! I’m sure there is more to the list – feel free to share!