Important reasons for using web standards

For web programmers who are already using web standards, this list may come in helpful when you want good arguments and feel free to add any extra benefits you can think of. If you’re new to the idea of web standards and are unsure on whether you should spend the time to study all about them or not, here are some of the most important reasons for doing so.

Get better search engine rankings
Well-written content delivered through clean, well-structured, and semantic markup is delicious food for search engine spiders and will help our rankings. This will lead to increased traffic, which is what most website owners want.

Maximize website visitors
You don’t know which browser visitors will use to access your site. The only thing you can be logically sure of is that they are using something that can parse HTML. By using web standards properly you make sure that you have completed your job in making your website work with the largest possible number of browsing devices.

Faster page loading
Clean and well-structured HTML that separates structure and content from presentation will be smaller and faster for visitors to download.

Accessibility
Web standards do not guarantee that all features of our website will be accessible to people with disabilities, but it is a very good start. Make sure your html documents are valid, well-structured, and semantic, and you’re well on the way towards having an accessible website.

Make our HTML easier to maintain
When we need to update our website then we will like to browse through a clean and well-structured document. Using CSS to organize layout also makes it much easier to make overall website design changes.

Look professional
Our colleagues, competitors, friends and potential employers will be able to look at our work and know that the person likes to keep up with changes in technology and make sure that his knowledge and skills are always current. It will make us look like a real web professional.

Making our clients feel good
Use web standards combined with best practices for accessibility and give your clients a chance to talk about how they cater to all people, and how they find it important that everybody can use their services or find information about their products. You will also avoid the bad publicity that can be caused by shutting out visitors like disabled people, Mac users, and mobile phone users.

Future-proof content
If we separate content from presentation and use current web standards, we have done the best we can to ensure that our website content can still be read even after fifty years or hundred years.

Good business sense
Any business owner will like to have more visitors, a faster website, improved search engine rankings, potential good publicity and it does make sense to do so.

Accurate way to do things
Web standards provide the way to build the web from the beginning and now that we can surely do something the right way and have a really important reason to feel good about ourselves.

3 Must Do Things When Revamping or Shifting Website

If we are moving/revamping our website for any reason like new look & feel, changing hosts, technology updation, seeking branding benefits, to make our URL more memorable etc. then there are some things that we should definitely do to make our change go more smoothly for our self and for our regular readers.

The top 3 things are:

Implement Universal 301 Redirects
It’s a way to configure your website or web server, in order to indicate that some of your pages have been moved, permanently, to another location. We should not just redirect all of our old pages to our new index/home page at the time of creating 301 redirects. That will turn our readers off and we’ll lose some business as our visitors won’t go searching for the corresponding page they found in the search engine. Rather, we should do a 301 redirect on each page to the corresponding page on the new domain. If we have created new pages in our website, those don’t need redirects. If we are deleting old pages and not using them on your new domain then we should redirect those pages to a page on our new domain that has similar information.

Create Custom 404 Page
When someone enters a URL or follows a link to a page that does not exist they will get a custom 404 error page. So, if we are deleting pages from the old domain or website and not using them on the new website then we should make sure to create a custom 404 page for those pages. On 404 pages, we should place a link to our home page and offer some suggestions on pages that our visitors might want to look at which have similar information to the one they were looking for. Make it easy for the site visitors to find the information they want. We might even put a site search feature on our 404 page if we have a large enough site that visitors can get lost easily.

Contact Your Top Referrers
We should also send an e-mail to our top referrers to let them know that we have changed domain names or file names in website. We should do this because those referrers can change their links to our new link addresses.

CSS3: Ready to hit

CSS3 offers a variety of new ways to create an impact with your designs, with quite a few important changes. The development of CSS3 is going to be split up into ‘modules’. The old requirement was simply too large and complex to be updated as one, so it has been broken down into smaller pieces – with new ones also added. Some of these modules include:

1. The Box Model
2. Lists Module
3. Hyperlink Presentation
4. Speech Module
5. Backgrounds and Borders
6. Text Effects
7. Multi-Column Layout

Several of the modules have now been finished, including SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), Media Queries and Namespaces. The others are still being worked upon. It is very difficult to give a projected date when web browsers will adopt the new features of CSS3 – some new builds of Safari have already started to. New features will be implemented gradually in different browsers, and it could still be a year or two before every module is widely adopted. It will obviously be completely backwards compatible, so it won’t be necessary to change existing designs to ensure they work – web browsers will always continue to support CSS2. The main impact will be the ability to use new selectors and properties which are available. These will allow you to both achieve new design features (animation or gradients for instance), and get present design features in a much easier way (e.g. using columns).

Ajax reduces load time

Earlier web applications submit user completed forms to a web server and the web server responds by sending a web page back. This makes applications run more slowly and awkwardly than their native counterparts. Ajax is a term that refers to the use of a group of technologies together. Ajax applications can send requests to the web server to retrieve only the data that is needed; usually using SOAP or some other XML-based web services dialect. JavaScript processes the web server response at client side.

The final result is a quick interface, as the amount of data exchanged between the web browser and web server is greatly condensed. Web server processing time is also saved, since much of it is done on the client. Ajax is more a natural progression from an existing set of techniques as opposed to being something completely brand new. Yet within that progression, things are markedly different than in previous years in a couple of key areas.

Ajax provides a device to juggle up xml with xhtml. It drastically abridges the job fetching things from the server. It also defeats some speed glitches that conventional Web development has fallen prey too. In most instances an Ajax based site will load quicker than a comparable traditional Web site. Ajax significantly reduces initial load times. Ajax has some problems that it needs to overcome as it continues to mature.

But it is a promising field to be involved within and as the years roll on, it probably will greatly affect the way we think about building Web pages and Web applications. It also has to be apparent that Ajax is not a technology as such but to a certain extent is a technique that merges well with other technologies and techniques. For example: XHTML XML, DHTML and CSS. Actually, Ajax really is DHTML with the xmlhttprequest object thrown in. It is wonderful to believe how one object can modify the whole scenario of web technologies.

Effective web design tips

A most important rule that every web designer should follow is to create a fast loading website. You might have a great design but very few people are going to see it if it takes a long time to load. While designing a website always think about how long it will take to load. Try out our tips to build a great looking website that also loads fast.

Minimize the use of images – The key to a fast loading web site is to minimize the use of images. Images do enhance a page but don’t make 80% of your web site only images. Instead break it down as much as possible to simple HTML. Notice the popular sites like Yahoo, Google, Ebay, Amazon etc., they have very few images because the load time is more important. Very often simple designs are the best.

Optimize images for web pages – Once you have decided on the images that you need on your site, make sure that it is optimized for the web. They should be in the gif or jpeg format. You can also minimize the size of the image by choosing the number of colors you need, from the color palette. The less the colors you choose, the less the size of the image. You can also use online tools like Gif Wizard to optimize your images or to get a recommendation on how to cut down the size of an image.

Use Tables creatively – You can get some great looking designs by using tables creatively. Tables load very fast because it is just HTML code. Tables can be used in the homepage, menus or anywhere you like. Check out our homepage and our menus to see how we have used tables in our site.

Avoid using animated gifs – Don’t use animated gifs unless it is necessary. Animated gifs take a long time to load and can also be very irritating. But since they catch your attention you could use small animated gifs to draw a visitor’s attention to a particular section of your site.

Design simple icons – Instead of using big, bulky images use simple and small icons that add a little color and draw the attention of a visitor. We have used small icons in our homepage highlight the main sections of our site.

Try out background images instead of big images whenever possible – Use background images whenever possible. This is usually a very useful tip for headers and footers. Instead of using an image of width 580 which is a uniform design you can use just a part of that as a background fill. This reduces the size of the web page as the image is small. The code will look like this :
<tr background=”images/backgroud.gif” width=”100%”>

Use CSS Styles – Have fun with CSS styles to get some cool text effects. Again, a CSS Style is simple HTML code so it loads very fast. You can create cool rollovers using CSS Styles. You can rollover the text on the links on left side menu to see how I have used CSS Styles to get a simple but nice text effect.

Use Flash carefully – There seems to be a lot of hype about Flash but I recommend that you minimize the use of Flash on a site. Don’t make entire sites using Flash. It may look great but it takes hours to load and can really put off visitors. If you do want to use Flash use it within an HTML site and make sure it loads fast.

Design by just using HTML – As much as possible try to design your site using HTML. You can create great designs by just using HTML code. Use tables, CSS Styles and simple fonts to design your site. Minimize the use of animated gifs, Flash, bulky images etc.

Keep checking your page load time – Last but not least, before you decide on the final design of your website; check its load time on NetMechanic. This site gives you a free analysis of your web site which is extremely useful. We kept using it to improve our site till we got a report that said good loading time!

I learnt these tips while building websites and applications. I’ve enjoyed sharing them with you and hope that you found them useful.