Please be harsh... how do I improve my website...

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lucy
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Please be harsh... how do I improve my website...

#1 Post by lucy » Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:00 am

Let's see... I'm left with all the access to website and started messing with it by changing the home page... Artistically it is good looking but someone told me the coding is horrible and crawlers (whatever that is) will most likely not be able to access my site (though, I can access it right now)... I used Adobe Photoshop 7 and Adobe Image Ready for this one... also I added Google Analytics but uh... the numbers are quite dismal... so I now ask web knowledgeable people here before I start messing with the rest of the pages...

http://www.solterraph.com

- What is it that makes my site bad?...
- Any recommendations so I can make it "Not so Bad?"
- Any suggestions to increase traffic?...

If this thread violated any forum rules please feel free to delete this thread...
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Re: Please be harsh... how do I improve my website...

#2 Post by ScottySeng » Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:49 am

The design of your website is done quite well.

Crawlers are the people whom are still running IE6 or IE7 (They don't support quite a few modern web standards at the moment).
The website depends on tables to hold the whole front page together.
In modern website design, we have done away with using tables for nothing more than actual data, not site formatting.
The positioning should be handled by CSS rather than using invisible tables. (Adobe software seems to export webpages using tables as framework).
Also, for whatever reason it's using javascript with the tables (Not sure why Adobe does this).
After a deeper look and enabling javascript, I can see the four buttons are used as hover button for to change the banner.
The problem is that I had to enable javascript to view the information on SolTerra (Yeah, there are people who do not have or disable Java as well).

SolTerra is a main company that has four companies under it's ownership right? (I want to make sure that's why the four companies have different website themes)
You might also put the names of the four companies on the SolTerra home page. Right now you have the descriptions of what the companies do, but not the actual names of them (If Java is disabled).

Basic rule of web design is that you should be able to see all or most of the information without needing a plug-in like Java or Flash.

All in all, the site design is nicely designed, but needs a bit of tweaking for functionality.

I hope I wasn't too rude or critical of your site. I'm still a budding web designer.

Edit:
Javascript I meant. Thanks Susan for pointing that out.
Last edited by ScottySeng on Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Please be harsh... how do I improve my website...

#3 Post by SusanTheCat » Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:23 am

I didn't notice any Java on the site. I did notice a lot JavaScript and Flash.

I think the crawlers the person was referring too are the Web Crawlers that search engines send out to find sites. Web crawlers do not look at pictures or flash elements. They only look at words. If you look at the code of your site, there aren't many words for it to figure out what your site is about. This means that it won't rank your page very high in search results.

A trick I use is to look at the page with a text only browser such as Lynx. I have attached a screen shot of what a web crawler "sees" when it looks at the page.
lynx.png
lynx.png (7.64 KiB) Viewed 1187 times
You can fix this by adding ALT information to the images.

A pet peeve of mine is that the links on the main page open a whole new page. But that falls under pet peeve.

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Re: Please be harsh... how do I improve my website...

#4 Post by PyTom » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:01 pm

Susan is right. Another way to look at it is that if you can't copy and paste the text, Google and other search engines can't index it. So from Google's POV, your page is a whole lot of nothing.
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Re: Please be harsh... how do I improve my website...

#5 Post by ScottySeng » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:28 pm

@Susan, I learned a bit more from your post. Thanks for being informative (It's cool you're a web application designer by the way). I never knew crawler could also mean that (My professor told us it's slang for people whom are slow to update their browsers to the latest stuff)

I think you can also add in keywords/author in between the head tags as well for the search engines:

Code: Select all

<head>
    <meta name="author" content="your company" />
    <meta name="keywords" content="keyword1 keyword2 keyword3 keyword4" />
</head>

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Re: Please be harsh... how do I improve my website...

#6 Post by PyTom » Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:17 pm

I don't think any search engines still use the author or keywords tags. They might have, back in the '90s - but nowadays, those tags are so abused that the only sane thing to do is to ignore them.

In fact, including those tags is probably bad, nowadays. That's because page size and load speed is one of the things that Google does care about, and anything that slows page loading down is going to hurt you.

Admin note: The original topic of this thread was a bit off-topic for the LSF. But I think it's useful to have a conversation about making websites, since websites are an important part of game promotion. So I'm expanding the topic to include website-making in general, rather than having it just be about Mugen's project.
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Re: Please be harsh... how do I improve my website...

#7 Post by ScottySeng » Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:54 pm

@ PyTom:
Thanks for your input. My professor just told our class to use them so we would know who the author was and what the site was about.

The robot tag is one that is not recommended to use since it's always ignored like the keywords tag by search engines.

Code: Select all

<head>
     <meta name="robots" content="index,follow" />
</head>
I read about being penalized for abusing tags as well (Especially the keyword tag) by search engines.

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Re: Please be harsh... how do I improve my website...

#8 Post by lucy » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:36 am

Thank you everyone... especially you Susan... I didn't know about text only browsers and how little readable text was in my main-page... I edited it now... there should be text visible now in text only browsers...

But um... I have another web related question... specifically this wonderful banner thingy I saw on this website...

http://www.lorenlegarda.com.ph

Her banner had this nice numbered buttons at the buttom and each individual banner is linked to another page or if you click on it it goes to another page. Someone told me it's a freeware or commercial third party product you add to your webpage but he forgot the name and of course I wanted to have one too... Does someone know the name of this product and where can I get this or something similar to this?...

"POOF" (Disappears)

Seriously... I didn't know web page designing can be so much fun once you grasped the basics... I can even do imagemaps in dreamweaver... :mrgreen: I can't wait to mess with the rest of the pages...
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Re: Please be harsh... how do I improve my website...

#9 Post by ScottySeng » Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:43 pm

@lucy

I think banners like those are done using jQuery. We have yet to learn about it in my Web Design class, but I hear that what it's used for.
I may be wrong though. Susan probably can come up with a better answer than mine.

It is pretty fun designing websites once you get the basics down. I can sometimes spend a day just designing a site for fun.
I would recommend learning CSS2.1 and the available features of CSS3. :)

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Re: Please be harsh... how do I improve my website...

#10 Post by Another » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:39 pm

Indeed, according to the source code, they're using a free script downloadable from http://jquery.malsup.com/cycle/.

But honestly, I prefer the way you manage this in your website. The trouble with the numbered buttons is that the reader has no idea of what will be displayed if he clicks on 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5.

By the way, I should mention "Firebug", an add-on for Firefox, which can be very useful for those who are learning HTML and CSS. Once Firebug is installed, right-click on an element of the page and select "Inspect element with Firebug". You'll be able to see where it appears in the HTML code, you'll get all its CSS properties and much more...

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Re: Please be harsh... how do I improve my website...

#11 Post by leon » Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:04 pm

About meta tags...
1. Keyword meta tags - not important
They are entirely ingnored by Google and other major search engines. Keyword meta tags are still used by various small search engines and other bots, such as news and RSS agregators, which may use them for categorization. They are also often used with social bookmarking and other sharing services, where keyword mata tags are used to auto-fill the "tags" field in a submission form. Personally, I use them, but the meaning of keyword meta tags for ranking, is pretty much neglectable.

2. The description meta tag - important
Similary to keyword meta tags, this meta tag is not used by the major search engines for ranking purposes. However (!), Google uses this tag as description on the search result pages. This makes it the second most important meta-tag. If Google isn't using your description mata tag, it either means your meta tags are corrupt (and not readable by Google) or Google doesn't trust your site.

3. The title tag - VERY important
Not really a true *meta* tag, the title is one of the most important on-site ranking factors. This is the title that appears on your browser bar (or on tabs in Chrome); not to be mistaken with H1 title (another one of the important on-site ranking factors).

4. Robot tag
Instead of using the robot tag, a proper way to block search engine spiders (doesn't work with spam bots :) ) from accessing a certain page, is to include a rule in robots.txt file. This is recommended, if you have some of the content on your site duplicated, like the archives.

The ideal way to check how Google sees you website, is to enable Google Webmaster Tools. This allows you to check if google is reporting any errors when reading your site, see a list of words that Google think your site is about and *a lot* of other useful data.
Next to a tool to measure the traffic, like Google Analitycs, Google Webmaster Tools are essential for search engine optimization.
lucy wrote:- Any suggestions to increase traffic?...
Depending on how much you are willing to spend and how fast you want the results, I think these are the main methods:
1. Banner advertising on related sites: fastest, very expensive (or so I heard... I have never used these, so I'm not sure how to...)
2. Facebook ads, Google AdWords: fast, expensive (pricing can vary a lot)
3. SEO: slow, cheap

Facebook ads can often be cheap, if you are targeting a demographics with little competition. Something worth testing...

The price for Google AdWords depends greatly on Google's Quality Score. SEO is one of the main factors that effects this score - good SEO can make an AdWords campaign much cheaper.

SEO is very different from other methods, because it doesn't require constant payments - once you are ranking in Google, the clicks are free. Unlike other methods, SEO can be done completely for free (except domain and hosting), provided you have the time and knowledge.

Most of the SEO is done off-site. All the things like the meta tags and any other on-site optimization are only a small part of SEO. Google doesn't trusts us webmasters, especially if you have a new site. Any backlink from another site, works as a vote of confidence and the more established/trustworthy the site is, the more "link juice" you get.

The anchor text (the visible part of a link in HTML) is the biggest indicator of relevance. You should use the keyword, you are trying to rank for.

One of the easiest ways to get a lot of link juice is to post a blog post or an article on an authoritative site. Always make sure you are publishing around 300 words of original quality material, related to the page, you are linking to. Always include the anchor text if possible!

- EzineArticles, Squidoo and Hubpages will bring you the most link juice. They all have very good moderation and it will take extra effort to publish something.
- Blogger, Weebly, Wordpress.com, Tumblr, Posterous and several other free blogging platforms, take a little less effort to publish and will still bring some link juice.
- Links from a Facebook fan page or Twitter are easy to get, but they are not very strong links, if you just registered. They can become very strong backlinks, if you work on these platforms - posting interesting, related stuff very often and getting followers.
- Forum posts and comments on blogs, will get you somewhat mediocre level of link juice. Use Google for "your_keyword" blog or "your_keyword" forum to find them.
- Bookmarking sites will get you very little link juice. They are also the easiest to get.
- Various directories will generally bring you very little link juice or traffic. There are some exceptions like DMOZ and Yahoo Directory ($300/year) which can be worthy.

All of these links on the sites above will not only help you with the ranking in the search engines, but also bring some direct traffic, often very targeted one. With a successful SEO campaign, the majority of the traffic will come from Google; this is why I haven't included "backlinking" as separate method. Backlinking without an anchor text or without well targeted, researched keywords, is an option, but focusing on SEO is much more effective.

Its important to have a variety of different types of backlinks, because your promotion looks natural to Google, you are not relying on specific sites (for example: if you have all the backlinks from EzineArticles and they shut down, your site will drop in Google rankings overnight) and it allows you to test what works best for your niche (a link for the term "blue widgets" may have more power on Wordpress.com than on Blogger, if "blue widgets" is more often a subject of blog posts on Wordpress.com).

If you are willing to invest some time and effort, one very successful method for getting a lot of backlinks for SEO as well as traffic is called "link bait". While it may sound evil, a link bait is a piece of content, that people will want to link to, like a cool video (which should be hosted on your site), some free stuff or an interesting article.

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Re: Please be harsh... how do I improve my website...

#12 Post by PyTom » Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:21 pm

The thing about SEO is that it has to come naturally. People need to link to your site because they want to go there, not because you want links to you. You can do things like pay people to link to you - but if Google catches you, they'll pull your site from their index, and you won't show up on Google at all.

There's a reason why we get so many spammers here at LSF. We're a reasonably credible site - so linking to a relevant site from here will tend to give that site credibility. (We get that credibility by only allowing non-spammy links.)
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