Best practices of Web Publishing – Things to check before pressing ‘Publish’
Picture this: You have a new product and you are excited to announce it to the public. First things first, you decided to create a dedicated web page for this product on your website. A few tweaks here and there, and you feel like your new product web page is good to go. Picture? Checked. Product description? Checked. Contact information? Checked. Now it is time to press ‘Publish’! Or is it?
Publishing a web page is as simple as one click. Literally. But publishing an optimized and a well-functioning web page takes a thorough look and rounds of validation. In order to avoid a moment of failure where you have shared your website’s link to the public or to your clients, only to realize later that there are many non-functioning or even missing elements on your web page, we are going to share some helpful tips on best practices of web publishing with you so you can successfully launch your web page.
One of the first things to check is branding. And the main key to branding is consistency. It is important for you to find your tone and remain consistent in your message and presentation. Ununified brand voice could deter your potential clients, as they will question your brand’s legitimacy. There are few important branding features that you should pay attention to before pressing publish: the logo, color schemes and font type.
Logo placement on your website does have an impact on web navigation and web recall. Based on the survey done by Nielsen Norman Group, users are more likely to remember a brand’s name when the logo is on the top left of the web page. Since the large number of populations read from left to right, placing a logo on the left side of the page ensured that the first thing a user sees is your brand name. Another significant place to put your logo would be the footer since this is where your company’s detail would be, such as contact details & the sitemap and user will usually scrolled down the web page to get this information.
Believe it or not, colors could play a vital role in your website conversions. Research have shown that around 62 – 90 percent of buying decisions were made purely based on colors. Depending on your products or service, it is important to choose the right color scheme for your website and to stick to these colors throughout your web page. Decide on the number of colors you would like to add in your color scheme, then find your primary colors, followed by your secondary colors. How to not over-do it? Follow the 60-30-10 rule! The logic behind the 60-30-10 rule is to choose a primary color that covers 60% of your web page like the background or large text block; a secondary color to cover the other 30% of the web page like the sidebars, menu or the headlines; and the remaining 10% should be use for your accent color and use it in an area that will encourage visitor to take a specific action like the call to action button. With this best practice of web publishing in place, you should be able to keep the colors of your web page more organized, and the color balance will further help the visitors to read more comfortably.
One of the key best practices of web publishing: the most important feature of a font is its readability. It is important for you to make sure the font that you choose is clean and readable. Deciding on the font contrast is also as important. For example, you would want an important text or point to stand out more, so you can choose to bold the text or if it were a hyperlink, you would want to underline it. Once you have decided on the font type, the alignments, as well as the spacing, stick through it! Be consistent and use the same format throughout your website (let it become one of the things to check before pressing ‘Publish’).
Delivering a high quality content is vital if you want to be on top of your competition. Study has shown that 76% of customers expect businesses to know their needs and expectations. Therefore, it is important for companies to share the right type of content and information that would cater into their prospects’ interests as well as expectations.
1. Think “SEO”
There are around 400 million active websites on the web and a fraction of that (which is not small at all) could be your competitors. So why does search engine optimization (SEO) matters? By looking at the numbers, it is clear that the competition is excessively high out there so it is important for you to position your website well in the search engine. To get good ranking on the search engine, it is important for your content to provide information that can be used not just to educate the human reader, but also the search engine bots. Make sure your content truly represents your product or service. Some of the SEO best practices of web publishing are:
- Title tags and Meta description: These are the headlines and snippet that appear in search results. This is very important in terms of SEO perspectives because this is the main piece of information that gives the user an insight on what a web page is about and whether it is relevant to their query. To ensure that your text is fully shown on the snippet, be sure to respect the character limit; maximum 60 characters for Title tag and not more than 160 characters for Meta description.
- Alt text for images: Alt text is a text that is use to describe an image on a web page. Three main reasons why an alt text is still important up till today is because it helps to describe the image when it fails to load, it provides accessibility to non-visual readers and of course, it feeds the search engine bots with the information about the image because it cannot read the image itself. Your alt text should not just represent the image, but make sure it also describes the context of the content of your web page. Remember to not go above 125 characters!
- Internal links: In a simple word, an internal link is a link that brings a user to another web page within the same website. The use on internal links is very useful in terms of SEO because it allows users to navigate different web pages on the website, which help to establish a site structure or the hierarchy of your website. The optimal format of an internal link is to use descriptive keywords in the anchor text that describes the topic of the source page that you are targeting. For example:
- External links: This is the opposite of an internal link, where a link is use on a web page to redirect user from a website to another website (of a different domain). The misconceptions about adding external links to your web page is that you are giving free credits to the contributors and sending people away from your website. This is simply untrue. Linking to an external website’s high quality content brings authenticity to your content. While it does not contribute much on search engine ranking, adding an outbound link is important in helping users to find the right source of information as well as giving credits to the sources of your content.
For all the elements mentioned above, be sure to include the right keywords that truly represents the content of your web page, and make sure to place your keywords properly. Apart from title tags, alt text and Meta description, it is important for you to include your keywords and their synonyms on the headers, sub-headers, and throughout the body of your content. This will further optimize your web page so the search engine will show your website and its pages in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for related search queries or keywords. When your web pages are highly searchable, it will result in increased traffic on your website, and in return, will improve your rank in the SERPs.
Image optimization is among the best practices of web publishing as well. It is a process where an image is saved in the smallest file size without having any impact on the image quality. Why is image optimization so important? According to a research by HTTP Archive, almost 75% of a web page’s weight comprised of images. This means, if an image is not well compressed or not in the right format, it could cause a negative impact of the loading speeds and poor user experience for visitors on your web page. The three main components of image optimization are:
- Image dimensions: Image dimension or size simply refers to the image width and height in pixels or the file size in kilobyte (kb) or megabyte (mb). By identifying the right image dimension, you can ensure that the image perfectly fits the content block without it being crop out. Getting the right image dimension is the main part in ensuring that your image is responsive across multiple devices. Some content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress have features that will automatically change the image size depending on the user’s screen size. Or, you can still do it manually by reducing the size of your image to fit the maximum width of your content block. For instance, if the maximum content block’s width on your side is 1500 px, you might want to resize your image’s width to 1500 px as well.
- Image file format: The most common file formats for website are JPG, PNG & GIF. Each of this format has its own purpose and advantages over the other. JPG would be the best option to use on a web page if you would like to store colorful images at the smallest size due to its lossy compressed format. For a simpler image that requires precision, it is highly recommended to use PNG format and a GIF format would be ideal for simple animated images.
- Image compression: The objective of image compression is to minimize an image size without highly affecting the quality of the image and, at the same time, will improve the loading speed of a webpage. A smaller image file size uses less bandwidth, which is highly appreciated by networks and browsers. This will also enable the search engine bots to crawl and index your images faster and this will help to improve your web page ranking on SERPs. There are multiple websites that offer user-friendly free image compression services such as TinyPNG and Image Compressor.
3. Proofread your content
First impression is very important because it lasts beyond that moment. Which is why it is important for the content of your website to have as minimal error as possible as it will show a high level of work quality and credibility (another best practice of web publishing). Typos or poorly laid out content is a sign of a poor website and this will have a serious effect on your business. Apart from that, proofreading will likely help you to better improve your content, as you are able to include any missing keywords and sentences that are appropriate or important for your business and you will be able to identify and fix any broken links. By presenting a visually appealing website, it could help to increase user engagement and boost your conversions.