Website Insurance – Web Standards Make sure the Business Worth of Your site

6 Dec

You’ve think of a new idea for your website. This new idea involves newer and more effective technology for the web that is becoming hot and your company can take benefit of this and ride that wave. Put forth your web developer or internal development team and ask the question:

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We have to add this to our website. How soon could it be done, and how much does it cost?

At some point soon after, you receive a solution you had been not expecting that’s some version of the following:

If you would like that new technology you’ll have to rebuild your site or make some major upgrades to support the brand new technology.

What just happened? Possibly the primary reason you are in this fix is your website was built in such a manner that the “new thing” does not “fit”. Much like using a custom built car that can’t use out of the box parts, so are you doomed to forever “rebuild” every time new things comes along.

Which should rarely ever happen in case your website was built using what is called “Web Standards”.

How you and many others experienced this fix may be the subject of the book but there’s little comfort in understanding the details. The bottom line is that there’s a standard that is becoming the focus of recent web technology development and if your site does not adhere to those standards, it’s easy to realize that your website is a dinosaur and can soon become extinct without a costly rebuild.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

The company consumer of web design services is not currently well served. The majority of small businesses’ websites are built by amateurs with no knowledge of the scope and consequences of the items they’re doing. A few courses at the community college is all it takes to place your shingle and become a “web developer”. It is no wonder when asking them, “What may be the W3C?”, can get you a blank stare. I have personally asked this question a meetings with “web developers” and found that many from the room couldn’t answer that questions.

The W3C was formed in 1997, so you would think by now it would not only be “standard” but additionally ubiquitous. Sadly, it has been a very slow process because of the ignorance from the consumer and insufficient standardized training of web developers. Fortunately, the realization from the need for these standards is becoming old in the last couple of years because of the rapid pace and demands of technology. How do we ensure your website is built correctly?

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Initial step: Validate.

Go to validator.w3.org (link available later in article) after which paste or type your website URL (address) and click on validate. You’ll probably discover you’ve more errors than you ever imagined. Your first step is to buy those error fixed or maybe you have to rebuild, make this validation step a central part of your development requirements.

Next step: Look into the Code

This can be hard part because if you aren’t familiar with HTML it’ll all look like gibberish to you. Your first problem is: How do you look at the code? If you have Internet Explorer, click “View” around the menu and then “Source”. If you have FireFox then also click “View” around the menu and select “Page Source”. In both cases a new window is going to be opened and will retain the HTML source code of this page. HTML is made up of tags which are mostly pairs of labels which have the “greater than” and “less than” symbols with text in between. You will be searching for the next types of code and structure with an associated negative or positive point value for keeping score:

Negative Values

No “DOCTYPE” around the first type of the document. Minus 15.
Do you see a number of “style” tags? If it is very short (a couple of lines) a minus 2 if longer a minus 10
Do you see one or more “table” tags? A couple of is ok, Minus 2 for each after two.
Do you see the term “style” included in any tag? Minus two for every.
Do the thing is a number of “font” tags? Minus 2 for each.
Do the thing is one or more “img” tags? Images that directly relate to the content and also have “alt” descriptions that match that content are great, but all others really are a minus 2 for each

Positive Values

Do the thing is “DOCTYPE” on the first type of the document. Plus 10
Do the thing is one or more “link” tags? Plus 5.
Do you see one or more “div” tags With no word “style” included in that tag? Plus 2 for every.
Do the thing is h1, h2, h3 tags? Plus 2 for every.

You should have a score of at least plus 20. If less than 20, you are in danger. if a negative number you’re in serious trouble. Your site was built incorrectly and you’ll have problems moving forward. What type of problems or issues will a poorly built website lead to? There is no short answer unfortunately, since it depends upon how poorly your site was coded and structured. Without a doubt is you will lose out on the next benefits of a properly built web standards compliant website:

Web Standard Benefits

Cost Benefits

Content simple to use to manage and edit because the code is straightforward and free of garbage tags
Updating the website design won’t involve the content since that’s in a separate document
Updating the website content won’t involve the look, since that’s inside a separate document
SEO is cheaper for equivalent results

Management Benefits

You can delegate responsibilities between your content management tasks and the design tasks
Content changes and updates don’t affect the website style or require style changes
Design changes and updates do not affect the website content

Visitor Benefits

Pages load faster
Design is consistent across all browsers
Ease of content updates encourages more return visits
Ease of design updates encourages more design updates and more interest from visitors

How can you make sure that your website is built correctly?

The reason there is a lot of websites which are poorly built is because you need a specific amount of technical knowledge to ensure to control your emotions correctly. Here are some tips that will help:

Your ace within the hole may be the W3C validator at http://validator.w3.org. It will become the perfect friend and is the only non-technical method for you to monitor your website.
Separation of style and content. For those who have a static website this really is simpler to monitor, having a dynamic website link WordPress, Joomla or Drupal this is often harder. Use the “point system” in the above list to help you evaluate the site.
Specify W3C compliance on paper, within our agreements. As more consumers of web services demand compliance it is more prevalent. YOU, as a consumer, have more energy that you realize to enhance the caliber of web development.

Hopefully, you now have more information to ensure you get an excellent website and may make use of web standards.

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