Sunday, 11 December 2011

What Exactly IS A Website?

You'd think most people would know the answer to that question but I'm consistently amazed by the number of industry professionals who apparently don't have a clue - and that's what they're selling! Some people taking computer classes may even need to have this explained. Allow me to elucidate...

Here we have two definitions of "website" from credible sources, both of which imply that websites ought to have, you know, information on them. Like "who you are" and "what you do."

A site (location) on the World Wide Web. Each Web site contains a home page, which is the first document users see when they enter the site.

- webopedia.com


Virtual location on WWW, containing several subject or company related webpages and data files accessible through a browser.

- businessdictionary.com


In a triumph of style over substance, many designers are forgetting this and crowing over how pretty their websites are, having completely forgotten the purpose thereof.

What it was...


I was sitting at my PC writing an article for my blog when I noticed that my email inbox had new mail. I clicked on the Gmail tab and went to have a look. Someone had sent me a direct message to tell me,

@wendycockcroft I dont think i've even seen a better Web Designer than ***Design hit up ***.com prove me wrong lol

This was from one of their employees, I think.

My first response was "Good for you, love." The next was to check it out.

Wot, no content?


Make no mistake, it IS cool. And it's got a slideshow. It fills the page. It's got no meaningful content. After reading through it several times I have come to the conclusion that they want you to know that they do web design and offer hosting. They have only three designers. And that's it. Nothing else, apart from some testimonials and their portfolio.

Just for fun I entered the URL into Woorank.com. They have more than 90 pages indexed. WHERE ARE THEY? They have no blog. It could be the portfolio, but no, I clicked on one of the images and it linked directly to a live website. A nice, Flash website of the kind I don't build. It is nice, though, no doubt about it. Very slick. On Woorank, they have a lower score than I do because I've got more content on my pages. And meta tags for description and content.

Their page rank is higher than mine because they've done more websites than I have (there ARE three of them!), and their Alexa rank is accordingly higher. Since I aim mostly at the local British market, that's not really surprising. They're American, and as the Yanks say, "Go figure."

The trouble is...


Many of the designers writing on the blogs I like to read have been championing sites like this because they're visually striking. Great! Print it out and hang it up on the wall, but don't go to a website like that looking for information because you have to contact them via their email form to get any. I'm serious: that's the only way of getting hold of Anonymous Web Design, Inc. Who do they think they are? Google?

Needless to say, they're doing the Bog All Content thing on the websites they design for other people.

Is there a lesson to learn?


Well, yes.

For them


Get some flippin' content on, people! And use those meta tags even if they don't contribute much to the search engine results. On Google, they tell you something about the website. As a viewer, I was frustrated by the lack of information. There aren't even any links to information.

For me


I want to know how they've got their slogan at the top of the search results without quotes around them. Mine have me third from the bottom. With quotes on. They've got some fantastic off-site SEO and it really, truly shows. It also wouldn't hurt to break out of the boxes I use for layout from time to time and use more of the page.

Conclusion


Just imagine the fun we could have if we collaborated. A girl can dream.

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