Monday, 25 August 2008

Basics of Web Site Optimisation - Rule 10

This post is mainly aimed at small to medium businesses that are just starting out and are keen to get something going, or have just gone live. I can't tell you how many times I have taught people over the past few years just a handful of strategically important things. So...here goes again, this time in a way that I can now simply refer to. As for my credibility - I would rather not divulge that here, read my Web Site Optimisation Rules and you decide. They are, after all, common sense, and common knowledge....like most things I blog about!

My number 10 rule: Create a web site/shortcut icon

This is one of the simplest and most overlooked goodies in a web site's "bag of tricks"!

Ever wonder why some web sites have a little icon in the address bar? For instance the little white-on-orange background "B" in the address bar right now? It is because they have created a "favicon.ico" in the root of their web directory. Not only is it displayed by the browser in the address bar when your visitor visits, but if the visitor bookmarks it, it is displayed in the bookmark view as well - which makes your site stand out from all the others without favicon.ico's! (and vice-versa, makes your site stand out stand out negatively, if all the others do)

The favicon.ico's that I have created were all based on the old specification of 16x16 pixels in the icon format. These days it is possible to use bigger images, with different formats, but I am still preferring the older specification as it is a very small overhead for your visitor and whatever old browser they may be using 5 years from now. Read more on wikipedia's Favicon entry!

Reasoning:
1. This is more a marketing and branding tool/optimisation than a search engine optimisation. It is extremely subtle in the world of too many messages and by using it, you have an opportunity to reinforce your company/site's brand in the visitor's mind - a very good thing. In the world of marketing, brand awareness is key - no one is going to buy "you" if they don't even "know you" - so first seek to build awareness, then start your "trust campaign".
2. It looks professional and is becoming expected these days
3. And a reminder waiting for each bookmarker is a great place to be

And that is my Rule 10. I will be uploading the others as time allows!

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