Sequel to our guidelines for designing accessible website and web applications, we are sharing usability guidelines for web designers and developers.
Before we actually dig into details, let establish a common understating of what usability is. Usability is mostly defined as ‘ease of use’, but this is over-simplification of the art and science of Usability. In a broader sense, usability is “effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction with which a specified set of users can achieve a specified set of tasks in a particular environment.” – ISO 9241 Standard
Usability is ultimately concerned with the following factors:
For any site, Search Engine ranking is an important aspect to get traffic. As a blogger, I can understand the worth of getting listed in first 10 results against a Google search.
There exists many strategies to improve website Search Engine Ranking (Create and join groups, join social sites like Facebook and Twitter, join forums, etc… ) but some are more appropriate to the design niche than others and Link Building is one of them.
What is Link Building?
Link Building is the process of creating inbound links to get more traffic; to improve your site’s ranking in Search Engines and to be popular. It is one of the best ways to make your site well-known. Link Building can be achieved by reciprocal links, being listed in design galleries, sponsoring a contest, etc.
Followings are very good strategies for getting inbound links.
A Free Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Toolkit from Microsoft to help improve the volume and quality of traffic to your web site from search engines.
The IIS Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Toolkit helps Web developers, hosting providers, and Web server administrators to improve their Web site’s relevance in search results by recommending how to make the site content more search engine-friendly.
GoingUp! is a combination of Free Web Analytics & SEO Tools. GoingUp! integrates popular analytics & SEO tools in one easy-to-use interface to see how your website is performing from all points-of-view. With an AJAX-rich interface, you can check your website’s performance and rank.
Going-Up’s modern, Web 2.0 Dashboard allows you to manage multiple sites and see at-a-glance stats of your entire network of sites.
For optimizing a website in means of SEO, you may have to deal with many manual tasks like submiting to search engines, checking the keyword density of pages, searching for any missing alt tags & more.
Web CEO, one of the most popular softwares in this area, lets you manage the SEO-side of unlimited number of websites with a very informative interface.
Web CEO comes with a lots of featured free edition & much more featured paid editions.
I’ve been using Web CEO for a long time and one of the best features of it is the advices after analyzing pages. Rather than just telling the problems, Web CEO informs you about how to solve them in a detailed way.
Some Web CEO features:
- Submit websites to search engines
- Analyze a website’s position in search engines for any keyword
- Keyword Mining from competitor’s pages
- Advice for General Search Engine Compliance
- Analyzing Link Popularity (Number of Links to Your Website)
- Analyzing Backward Links vs. Competition
Google Page rank is based on back links. Back links are Links pointing to your website from another website. The more back links you have the higher your PR will be.
1. Join forums, forums are a great way to achieve links to your website. In most forums you are allowed to have a signature and in your signature you can put a link to your website. But another important note to look on is making sure the forum is somewhat related to your website. You will still get credit if it’s not, but if it’s related to your website than you will be accomplishing two tasks at once.
You will be advertising for your website (bringing in targeted traffic) You will also be building your websites presence.
Your websites presence is very important to your survival. The more people see, or hear about your website the more credibility you will have and this increases your chances of having these visitors come back and possibly become leads.
2. Submit to search engine directories. Search engine directories are a good way to get a free link to your website. They also increase your chances at being listed higher on popular search engines like Google, and overture.
Most search engine directories allow you to submit to their website for free. This will allow you to increase your web presence by being listed on another search engine, and it will also be a free link.
Remember the more links you have the higher your PR will be
3. Using ezine ads (or newsletters). Creating an ezine will probably be the most beneficial step you can take to increasing your web presence. When you create an ezine you will be able to keep visitors coming back to your website for more by using signatures and giving special deals.
Ezine’s will also allow you to increase your back links. By creating an ezine you can submit your information about your ezine to an ezine directory. This directory will than link to your website(thus giving you a free link).
4. Creating and publishing articles. Articles are an easy source of generating new traffic. You can include your signature in your article. This will bring in more traffic from article submission directories.
Your signature usually consists of 4 to 8 lines. Usually the first line would be the title of the website that you are trying to advertise. The last line would be the link to the website and the lines in between these would be a sales pitch to draw your viewers into your website.
5. Links from related websites. Gaining links from related websites can be one of the most frustrating tasks you can attempt.
They are very easy to find, but can be somewhat difficult to obtain links from.
To find related websites, all you have to do is go to a search engine… say Google… and type in your subject. Maybe your website is based on ford mustangs.
You go to Google and type in ford mustangs, than you look around for pages that are somewhat related to your website. After you have done this (which should be very easy) you have to contact them in some way to get your link posted on their website. This can be the most difficult task because a lot of webmasters ignore e-mail’s from people requesting links because they don’t see the importance of it at the time. Some other reasons could be that they are rarely online, or they delete spam mail and sometimes delete their important emails in the process.
Important note: When looking for link partners don’t just link with websites that have a page rank of 4 or higher. Link with anyone and everyone you get a chance to. If you link to someone that has a page rank of zero, this will not hurt your page rank. It will only increase it because you are getting a link back to your website. Google doesn’t look at your back links page ranks to determine what yours is going to be. It simply looks at how many back links you have.
So if Google one day decided to link to a website that was just created and this website has a page rank of 0 and has a domain that goes something like this: mywebsite.geocities.com it’s page rank wouldn’t increase even though Google’s page rank is 10, it’s rank would still be zero because it would only have that one back link.
Sarfraz Shoukat – Website Designer Driven by Creativity
Building websites to increase sales, and build web presence
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What was once considered as impossible is now a very real probability. Yes, your website can be indexed in Google’s database within a week’s time after it goes live! How are you supposed to do this?
Google said that you should not bother to submit your website to them. They will find your website, and once they do, they’ll index your web pages. The reason behind this is quite simple. Google uses links to hop from one website to another. If they arrive at a page that is unfamiliar to their database, they will index it… and thus is the method by which your very own website can be a part of their database.
The problem is, there are literally billions of web pages out there. Even with the mechanical precision by which it operates, it will take weeks, if not months, before Google can stumble upon your website for proper indexing. The trick is in expediting this process. And how are you supposed to do that?
Let’s put it this way. If only one website is linking to yours, Google has to crawl through that site before it could discover yours. 1 in 1,000,000,000 is not a favorable ratio. But what if you have 1,000 websites linking to yours? Alas! Your website would have better chances of getting indexed fast!
An effective web design is one in which your users are able to find information quickly and in a logical fashion.
Do they visit the content you want them to visit? Are they looking in the right places of your web page? Are you able to keep your user’s attention, or do they just leave quickly?
It’s not just about the content either. If your design loads slowly – or if moving from one section to another takes a long time – it affects the user’s experience.
These things can be the make-or-break factors between a user clicking on a link to find more information, or the back button to find it elsewhere.
Some things to consider:
- Are important information being seen by the user?
- Are the navigation and action items intuitive?
- Is the user being directed to sections in a logical manner?
- Does the web page load quickly enough to not turn away the user?
If you’re interested in analyzing and optimizing your page layout – here’s some extremely useful tools that you can use to help.
ClickHeat is an open source visual tool for showing “hot” and “cold” zones of a web page. It allows you to see which spots users click on most, and which spots are being ignored.
Download: Clickheat on SourceForge.net.
2. Crazy Egg
Crazy Egg offers a myriad of analytical tools to help you visualize what visitors are doing.
Features include: Confetti - allowing you to see what people are clicking on based on certain factors such as their operating system and where they came from, Overlay – providing you with tons of data about particular links, and Report sharing – enabling you to share the data with team members and clients.
The free version only allows 4 pages to be tracked – so use your top landing pages to get the most data.