As a business owner looking to expand your online presence, you might have typically experienced the whole-hearted dedication with which web designers and developers focus on getting the website design aspect right. But are you confident that the site has been well coded and that any coding issue doesn’t impact the SEO or user accessibility chances of your website?
Why is it critical to get the programming right?
As a web surfer yourself, you might have come across a number of poorly rendered websites that look good but suffer from one coding problem or another. Since you will not be able to see the poor coding, but just its harmful impact, you will simply close the site and move on. This is precisely what happens to badly programmed websites; the business owners lose prospective clients, are ignored by Google algorithms and can also land you in legal trouble.
When it comes to industry standards in W3C compliance, programming and markups, you do not have to be a developer to sense a potential issue. The below 3 reasons will be good indicators to alert you of a problem with coding of the website that you can then bring up with the web developer and get it corrected.
1. SEO – This is a key reason why your website needs to be well coded. Try comparing two websites – one with good markup and one with poorer markup. Google will readily rank the website with good markups better than the other one. Elements like character encoding, RSS validity or valid metadata denote a W3C compliant website that will in turn be favored by Google.
GWL tip#1 – Try using a validator program such as one on http://validator.w3.org/ that checks the markup validity of HTML or XHTML pages
2. User accessibility – Imagine closing out your website to a certain section of people because of accessibility issues. You are not only excluding possible revenue generating audience but also face a probable legal infringement lawsuit. Having a well coded site means that it will work on older browsers or older machines. It also means that people with disabilities can still access the website with ease.
GWL tip#2 – Try out the W3C knowledge resource http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/people-use-web/principles to see how you can implement this particular factor within your website
3. Usability of backend – With so much content generation and social media sharing these days, it is no surprise that a good content management system helps maintain the freshness of the site with periodic content updates. Having a CMS integration also helps engage better with customers and in sales conversion.
GWL tip#3 – In case your company has in-house team of developers, let their creativity flow out with a little help from http://modx.com/
You can even go one step further and proactively ask your developers if these responsibilities are being performed by them. This way you do not have to wait for the problem to crop up and then get it rectified. As they say – prevention is better than cure!