Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Basics of Web Site Optimisation - Rule 11

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 11 rule: Do not use JavaScript for navigation effects, especially not dynamic menus

JavaScript is a small very powerful programming language for programming web sites in order to give them more functionality than is available in straight static HTML. It is a fantastic language from many perspectives that I will not go into on this entry. People use it to do form validations, image manipulation, dynamic menus and other miscellaneous bits that need to respond to whatever the visitor is doing, or where the visitor comes from in order for the visitor to have an interactive experience with the web site.

Read more about JavaScript at wikipedia.

I follow the mantra "Use as little JavaScript as possible, whilst still making the web site look good, and work well." I use CSS as much as possible to make it look good, and as little JavaScript as possible to provide a little tasteful motion, and to do some form validation in order to partially constrict the flood of the requests that could otherwise be submitted via the contact forms.

Reasoning:
1. Search engines can not follow dynamic Java Script menus, thus large parts of your site will go unindexed.
2. Your site will appear smaller and less important to the search engines when they rank you against your competitors.
3. Your site will appear badly organised and less usable to the search engines when they rank you against your competitors.
4. Different versions of browsers treat JavaScript differently, meaning even more testing and "fiddling" in order to get your JavaScript to work correctly and consistently across all your targetted browsers.

And that is my Rule 11. I will be uploading the others as time allows!

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