The overall performance of your website is dependent on several key factors. These elements are important for search engines, site visitors, and the impact on overall conversion from the website. To ensure site quality, here are several checks Milestone performs before making any site live.
- Site Content – Site content should be written for both the customer and search engines. It should include unique selling propositions (USP) of the property, as well as keywords that customers are using to search online. The content should be optimized for search engines and should include key on page optimization factors such as h1, h2, anchor tags, etc.
- Flash and Java Scripts – Flash files need to be optimized by using SWF object. Flash is not read by search engines; however, it can be used in moderation and should be optimized by using SWF object. A web developer tool by Firefox does a great job in testing these parameters. Java Scripts should be kept in a separate folder and should be externally referenced.
- Download Time – Check the download time of the website. Search engines have a very hard time crawling sites that have very high-download times. It is ideal if your site can be downloaded in less than 20 seconds on a 56k modem. Fagan-finder is a good tool for checking the download time.
- Avoid Frames and Tables – Search engines do not like frames and tables, and give more score to websites done in Stylesheet. Minimize use of frames and tables and use CSS to control font size, font color, style of the site.
- Conversion Factors – Check if the hotel information (i.e. the phone number, fax number, address, and reservation menu) is easily visible above the fold. Check if the RFP form, email offers, and reservation links are working and that the site has the correct phone number in place. Check if the packages and specials do offer unique value to the customer and if these can be booked online.
- Validation – It is crucial to check if your site passes though a few validation checkpoints such as CSS validation, cross browser validation, etc. The website should be working properly on all major Internet browsers such as Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari, etc.
- Broken links and duplicate meta-tags – Check if the site has any broken links and duplicate meta-tags. Each page should have its own unique meta-tags.
- Copyright information and Brand Compliance – Make sure you have proper copyright information for all the images used on your website. The site should also follow all of the brand compliance guidelines such as proper logo, links, trademarks, and privacy policies. Lastly, ensure that the domain name for your site does not violate any brand guidelines. For search engine purposes, it is always better to secure a domain name which includes the city’s name in it.
- Site Architecture – Every page on the site should only be one or two clicks away. The site’s architecture has a lot to do with the crawl-ability of your site, and deep buried pages under several categories and subcategories will not do well on search engines.
This is a short checklist of crucial elements to the overall performance of your site, and should be reviewed before making any site live.
Contributed by: Benu Aggarwal, Milestone Inc