Or, “Never put salt on your Wheaties.”
Once, when we were kids, my brother emptied the sugar bowl and filled it with salt. When I sat down to eat my regular breakfast of sugar with Wheaties, I ignorantly piled on spoon after spoon of the crystallized white stuff. You can probably imagine my reaction, about two seconds after putting the first bite in my mouth. What looked so good certainly tasted very bad! I’ve since forgiven my big brother, but I haven’t forgotten the taste.
Looks can be deceiving. Salt and sugar look enough alike to fool a teenager. The same is true for websites. What looks good at first glance may actually be very bad.
Broadband + 4G = a false Sense of security
It’s easy to assume that a good-looking website is also a good-performing website. We’re driven by visuals, and most of us know nothing about the code that makes a website.
What makes a good website?
That’s a good question. The answer depends on the goals of the website’s owner. If the goal is to have a kooky, quirky website with an experimental design, then having a kooky, and quirky website means success. That’s not the most common goal for having a website, though. Most often, those needing a website have goals related to the goals of their organization: to sell products, to explain how they might benefit their customers, or to simply spread their message to the public.
When getting stuck in traffic is good
Whether it’s selling products or ideas, one of the primary goals for most websites is for people – more people, obviously – to come and see. Unless you have a giant advertising budget like McDonald’s or Ford or the never-ending stream of new prescription drugs, it’s up to you to figure out how to bring the masses in. That’s where good code comes in.
Search engines are very complex. There’s a lot we don’t know about how each one works, but there’s plenty we do know. One of the key factors in internet search success is each website’s code to content ratio. To simplify the process, let’s do a little quick math. Imagine two competing websites, each with the same 1,000 words of content on their home page. Imagine that they look exactly alike as well. Now imagine that Website A was written by a competent web professional, and Website B was written by an amateur. Which will rank higher in an internet search? The one with the better code-to-content ratio.