Website Design - It's those little details that count
Somebody once said "Don't sweat the small stuff." Sadly, many people listened. In any business, the top performers in the industry are those that do indeed "sweat the small stuff". Those little details make all the difference in the world. Let me give you some examples.
Conventions, meaning things you do the same way every time because that's what people, or in our case, site visitors expect dictate that the company logo is always linked to the homepage. Don't underline text if it's not a link. Navigation should be at the top of the page or down the left side, sometimes both, but don't put it on the right, that's just plain strange (I know we tried.... Once!).
SEO (Search Engine Optimization), the constant task of trying to convince Google THIS PAGE! should be number 1 for something. There are 200 different things (think little details) Google looks at while deciding if your worthy of that first page ranking. Some are obvious, some not so much. For instance, Alt Tags for images. Google for the most part doesn't know what that image is of, but if you put some data in the Alt Tag suddenly there is text it can associate with the image. Takes a few seconds, but oh so many people are too lazy/or simply don't know why they should spend that time to do it right.
Google has publicly said we want you to use micro data on your website. Meaning identify location data such as city and states by tagging it properly. For example, our Phoenix address should be coded like this...(some code removed so it displays rather than renders)
"streetaddress" 2415 E. Camelback Road, Suite 700
This identifies to Google what everything is. Hard to do? No certainly not. So why don't all other Web designers do it?
Our latest CMS (Content Management System) rollout includes these functions automatically and even puts the data in a metatag as well. It makes it extremely easy to conform to Google's wishes. And until they aren't the Big Gorilla of search, we'll keep doing everything we can to keep them happy. Because when Google's happy, everyone's happy... unless your a competitor of one of our clients and your frustrated they rank higher than you do... ;-)
Update: One of the easiest little tricks we do saves our client's every year. Rather than hard code in the Copyright date at the bottom of the page, we have the Web server insert the current year. Again, nothing earth shattering, but one of those little details that make our clients lives easier and makes them look good... or at least current!