Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Day 4 - Pages on your website, naming conventions and some tips on structuring your files and folders.

Think about online newspapers. They get a lot of traffic. Why? Because pages just gets added to the website. Every new story and every update or related story needs a new page on their websites. Sites with lots of pages rank better in Google search system than sites with a few pages. It is better to have, lets say 30 short pages on your site than having a 5 pages site with long scrolling pages. Keep in mind that a short page should contain minimum of 200 visible words to maximizse relevancy with Google's search engine. If you don't have enough info for your particular site, it is fine. Don't go fill extra pages with useless info just for the sake of having pages. Rather keep your 5 short pages as is and optimise them as best as you cant, using the tips from this blog. Another important reason to have shorter pages on your site is that short pages index and download faster. Alhough more and more internet users seem to convert to broadband connections, you have to remember that a vast amount of users are still using slower internet connections. People don't want to sit around and wait for a page to load. They will rather move on to the next website.

While we are on the bandwidth topic: Keep webpages simple. Cluttering with graphics, sound, video and overboard scripts is a no-no. Also remember to strip out the extra code from pages created by HTML applications such as Dreamweaver and Frontpage. Try not to use inline stylesheets. Rather link code to external pages for exmaple [script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript" src="myjavascript.js"][/script]. Try and keep these within the [head] section of each page. The same goes for stylesheets: [link rel="stylesheet" href="myStyle.css"].

Keep your files in the root folder of your server as far as practically possible or keep all your pages in the same folder, trying not to "deeplink" more than one level.

Remember that your main page carries the most weight. This is the one that will rank the highest within your website. Avoid having outgoing links on this page. By outgoing links I mean links that will take users to other people's websites related to your themes. You want to keep internet users on your site for as long as possible. Use the your "links" page for these.

Avoid orphan pages on your site at all costs. These are pages that have links on them, but no links to them. Firstly, you will be lucky if someone stumbles upon this page and secondly, with only outgoing link on pages such as these, short, forgetable visits are guaranteed.

Choosing titles for your searchable pages are very important and adds to the value and importance of keywords used. Have a look at the top of your browser window when searching the web. Those descriptive phrases all originate from the [head] tag. Think about websites in general and what they have in common. Look at their sitemaps. Does the following website sections look familiar?

Welcome / Homepage / Index
Main contens page / Navigation
Frequently asked questions
About us / Contact / Address
Links / Link to us / Advertise with us
Testimonials / Site reviews / Feedback / Forum / Letters / Polls / Chat
Copyright / Disclaimers / Privacy Policy
Ordering / Pricing / Quotes / Catalogue

This is a basic recipe that most websites follow and it is still recomended. It might change over time, but the basic flavour is still applicable. This is what most internet users are used to and will be used to for some time to come. Apply this structure to your site with your own unique variations.

Choosing unique titles for your pages are very important. They should link up with the main theme throughout the site and also have relevance to keywords on single pages.

Some examples (using a DVD shop again):
Homepage - Improper title: Home.
Homepage - Proper Title: The cheapest DVD movies to rent
contact page - Improper title: Contact.
Contact page - Proper title: Contact us for our DVD rental catalogue and pricing

Other tips on creating noticable titles for your pages:

Give each page a unique title. Try and include primary keyword phrases in every title of every page
Begin your title with primary keyword phrase followed by secondary keyword phrase where possible and try not to repeat your keywords in the title.

The next section will focus on getting more visitors to your site by exchanging links.

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