SEO (not included)

SEO Cartoon

Just how much SEO optimisation should be assumed as part of a website delivery? Well, no assumptions should really be made at all, but in our world where everyone seems to be a web expert, SEO has tendency to creep in, unannounced. Usually as the panic sets in for client, as they realise they are about to have a website they are not familiar with.  They is actually no reason for concern – part of website development is a clean handover at the end of the project, of completed working website.

SEO is a huge area, that has specialists, and companies built on providing services.  At a fundamental, SEO can easily be implemented at code level, applied in the course of development.  But this is only half the story.   A prevalent  attitude of clients is that somehow, increased visibility on the web comes from simply waiting for it to happen. It’s a proactive process, that needs either money (to pay to push your website up the ranks), frequent social networking activity, and building up your web presence by connecting with other similar websites (for mutual back-links and ads). These SEO activities are not an assumed part of a website development remit, unless specified as such.

Once the website is created and deployed, it must included (indexed) in the major search engines.There are several ways of doing this but the easiest way is to get other websites to link to you. The search engines find new websites by following links from sites that are already in their index. If you can get a a few “inbound links” then you site will be indexed automatically. This takes work, and there are shortcuts, but not free.

Though I do not expect my clients to be expert, I do not expect them to act like experts in something they are not. Firstly, they are in grave risk of saying silly things, based on loose knowledge.  Secondly, they can make catastrophic decisions, based on a momentary illusion that they know what they are talking about.  The most you can do, as a freelance website developer, is to ensure your code is of good standard, because coding standards negate a lot of potential SEO coding issues (as well as Web Accessibility coding standards).  The rest must be included in the website contract, if only to make it clear what the client is NOT getting.

Test Documents Sale!

If like me, and you work on a lot of test projects, templates are essential!

So garnered from over 15 years in the QA contract business, I am offering collection of test documentation covering test strategies, test plans, test scripts, test reports, lifecycle diagrams, test standards checks (coding, accessibility, mobile readiness, usability, SEO).

Also included are examples of usability reviews/reports and lifecycle diagrams (Agile/SCRUM methodology)

There are over 200 documents covering media, publishing and mobile projects.  To make them useful, I have left content largely intact, for your customisations.  A quick route to kick-starting your test project in organised and logical manner.

Please email, and I will send you an example document, and payment link (Bundle Cost: $99).

Specify which test document type you are interested in, and I will send you a relevant example.

Useful website audit tool

These tools never replace thorough checks, but this one (SortSite by Powermapper) does a very good job of a quick passthrough of a site checking for:-

  • Accessibility – check against W3C WCAG1, WCAG2 and Section 508 guidelines
  • Compatibility – check for browser specific code, script and image formats
  • Compliance – check for compliance with EU and US law
  • Broken Links – check for broken links and other errors
  • Search Engine Optimization – check Google, Yahoo and Bing webmaster guidelines
  • Web Standards – validate HTML, XHTML and CSS
  • Usability – check against guidelines
  • Continue reading

Usability Testing

Identify website strengths and weaknesses, and understand how your users experience your website.

There are many benefits of usability testing, including evaluating the usability of a system, during and after design. For example a site redesign, usability test approach can provide redesign options that are both pragmatic and budget-conscious fashion.  The end result of any usability testing is an improved product and a better understanding of the users that you are designing for.

Continue reading

Simple SEO Principles

perfectly-optimized-page1Found this on the site one of my favourite usability champions, usabilitygirl. Describing simple principles, such as SEO optimisation can tie you in knots. I know it annoys developers to have testers telling them how to code, but basic such as form titles, ALT tags, and coding standards in general also have affect of SEO. For me the principle is simple – you want your site to be found with a particular keyword – then use that keyword both in code and content. And dont forget that search engines prioritise, so if your desired keyword is not even in your metadata, then its not a great start!

Usable SEO « your usability blog