Website structure, pages, navigation and links

Document Architecture

Having a good handle on html, cascading style sheets and some scripting is going to be an advantage. If you build your web pages using authoring software such as Macromedia's Dreamweaver, it's likely you will end up with pretty good html formatted documents that are clean and free of junk coding. But some inferior applications available can leave your pages with as much as 50% more code than you really need.

The two main objectives when creating a web page are optimised load time (the speed of which the page loads in the browser) and well positioned text and navigation elements.

Load Time

Bringing down the load time can be achieved in several ways. First and most obvious is to make image files sizes as small as possible without loosing quality. There are a number of tools available for this (see resources). A good rule of thumb is no more than 40k total in images for each page, although after a couple of loads the images will be cached in the users temporary internet files.

Be sure to add alt tags to your images with descriptive target keyphrases related to whats on the page if you can. This will add more weight to your page and alt tags on image links will encourage robots to follow the links to other pages.

Another thing you can do is clear any unnecessary coding from your pages. Minimise the amount of html you need and drop javascript functions into external files.

Text and Navigation

Navigation should be simple and contrary to popular belief its ok to place navigation on any part of your page; left or right, top or bottom make no difference. But you should try to include simple text links as well as button images or Flash or dynamic menus.

If possible, it's wise to include links to the root index page and other important sections of your site on every page. You want to give robots every chance of following links to spider every part of your website.

Use H1 heading tags if possible, else you could try using H2 or perhaps apply css to reduce the size if H1/H2 headings appear too ugly. Bold or Strong tags used as sub headings are also effective and are known to have a positive effect on text links if used correctly.

The idea really is to keep pages simple. Don't get over ambitious with coding, and make all your links easy to follow for visitors and robots alike.

 




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:: Content :: How much do you need? Keyword Density? Which HTML tags do the SE's really love.
:: Document Architecture :: How should you structure your pages, navigation and links?
:: Site Architecture :: What's the right way to structure your site so it can be easily crawled ...