Websites and Dog Years

They say that every year of a human life is equivalent to 7 years in a dog’s life. This is the way I think about websites, as well. Every human year is equivalent to 10 years in a website’s life. So, if your website is 5 years old, it’s the equivalent of being 50 years old or shall we say, middle aged. So is it time for your business to get a new website? The technology of web design and programming is moving fast, much faster than the technology for print communications. If your website was created more than 5 years ago, it may have been built using the nested tables technique, a very popular method that was a real breakthrough in web design 10 years ago. But now, nested tables are not as good as newer techniques, such as Cascading Style Sheets, (CSS).

It’s All About the Search Engines
CSS is a web programming method that separates the html code for design (color, font, styling, etc) from the actual text content of your communications. This allows the html for your text content to appear closer to the top of the page, which makes it easier for the search engines to find it. Since Google is more and more trying to place listings based on the content matching a user’s search request, it is very important that your site’s content be readable by the search engines.

CSS has other benefits as well, such as helping to maintain consistency in the styling throughout the site, and pages load faster with CSS.

Recently Google announced that they will start giving websites a “quality score”. Those websites with a higher quality score will place higher in the search results than sites with a lower score. The Google Adwords system has a quality score that rates website quality to a specific keyword request. I suspect the algorithm they use for that quality score will be the foundation for this new score to be used in the general search results algorithm. This should create even more incentive for businesses and organizations to get their websites updated and upgraded.

I’ve recently had several clients ask me about whether their website needs a redesign. I have a couple of diagnostic tools I use to measure a website’s marketing effectiveness, check for html validation, and whether it has important Search Engine friendly structure and coding. These evaluations are helpful in making a decision about whether it’s time for a fresh coat of paint or a complete rebuild. Or back to my dog analogy, whether your dog needs a bath, or it’s time to get a new dog.