Don’t Try This At Home, Kiddies!

Website Development

A few days ago, a new follower of mine on Twitter send me a private direct message, asking me to take a look at his new website.  Figuring that he might be spamming me, but allowing for the possibility that he was really asking me for my opinion, I messaged him privately asking if he REALLY wanted my opinion.  He replied that he did.  And inasmuch as web development, marketing, and SEO are significant portions of out business, I agreed to take a look.

Although future correspondence suggested that he really wanted me to buy something from his site, I did look at the workmanship of his site and made some, what I thought, valuable suggestions.


His site was illustrative of several common errors in web development that will have an important negative effect on the quality, and effectiveness of the site.  I have changed his colors, and eliminated all traces of the name of his site from these illustrations.  I have no intent to embarrass the owner of the site, but thought the site a good example of several rookie errors in development.  Here are two images of his site, using the same css file.  Modern sites use css (cascading style sheets) to allow efficient manipulation of the site’s appearance and behavior.  One image is the rendering of the site in a recent version of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (above).  The one below is a rendering of the site using the current version of Mozilla’s Firefox browser.

The difference between the two is striking, and would have been obvious to any developer who bothered to check the appearance of the websitefirefoxblog1 by viewing them through the commonly used browsers of today.  Obviously, this simple (and commonly accepted)  exercise was omitted in developing his site.  This was a serious design flaw, but not the most serious.  Current market stats suggest that IE has 66% of the market, with Firefox and Safari with another 30%.  While it is arguable that IE has twice the market share of the Mozilla browsers, what marketer in his right mind would ignore  nearly 1/3 of a potential market?

The title of the home page (which was a casualty of my image editing) was ‘Figurines’.  That was the only description on the site, despite the fact that nowhere on the site were figurines advertised for sale.  Thus the site owner was squandering his most precious opportunity to have his site properly indexed in the leading search engines.

The home page was more than 50% javascript – and that javascript code was concentrated at the beginning of the file.  Modern websites use javascript sparingly, relying more heavily on advanced css techniques.  What javascript remains should be annexed to a separate file which is referenced early in the html file.  Search engines attribute the greatest importance to the beginning of a page.  Lower portions of a pages are relegated less importance in the indexing process.  So, if the early part of a page is choked with javascript, most of the SEO love that Google could bestow on that page is wasted.

Finally, there is virtually NO CONTENT or MENU on the page.  Now remember this is his HOME PAGE!  Google and the other important search engines assign their highest criteria to the content of a page.  This page is loaded with images of stuff he wants to sell, but almost no text.  Bearing in mind that text is one of the few things that search engines see well, it is no surprise that this site is not ranking well with Google, or any other search engine.

There were other issues with the site, as well.  But to go into them here would make this article too long.  Suffice it to say that the issues uncoovered with this site in the brief review presented here suggest that the odds are long against this being a successful site.  Given the expectations of revenue to be derived from a site meant for business, it is always a good investment to make sure that the site has professional appearance, and professional quality performance.

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2 Responses to “Don’t Try This At Home, Kiddies!”

  1. Thanks for posting, I very much enjoyed reading your latest post. I think you should post more frequently, you obviously have natural ability for blogging!

  2. Hi, interest post. I’ll write you later about few questions!

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