Web Usability Technical Elements, Part 1

We are not going to get too technical today, since many readers might not be so knowledgeable about web programming. But I’ll offer some guidelines that you can keep in mind when working with your website developers.

As a universal principle: Make sure everything works as planned in all the major web browsers.

First, determine your servers’ capabilities. Do you have any bandwidth limits? Bandwidth is another term for website traffic, operational as well as ”coming from” or ”going to” activities. What is the cost for extra bandwidth every month? How much web space do you have with your hosting package? Are these enough for your website function and load fast? What operating system do your servers use – Linux, Unix, Windows – and is it the best option for your site? Are there any pre-installed scripts and content management systems that you can try? Are there any limits on using certain types of scripts and tools (CGI, rsync, SSH access, wild cards)? Do you have access to the server logs, and stats to analyze your website traffic sources, visitor types, and other useful data?

Keep your website’s major files in the root directory of your server. This is really good for both WU (website usability) and SEO. Place the codes in separate files for security reasons, and also for SEO purposes. If you use Java scripts, make sure they are not placed in the same file of the page; just add a code snippet, which will call the script from another file for execution. When it comes to SEO, this technique of placing everything separately will not only let your website function faster, but will also give you a bit of a search engine ranking advantage.

Website security is a critical issue, and you need to use secure web servers. You should password-protect your major back-end files and directories. Also, back up your website files and databases periodically. Do multiple backups. Control your site’s traffic and try to note anything suspicious. Keep your own computer free from Trojans and viruses. Don’t allow people whom you don’t fully trust to access your computer. Be in constant touch with your server’s support people and warm them right away if you notice any danger to your website.

Do not assume that all users will have the same browser features, or will have set the same defaults. Some users select larger fonts, and some users may turn off backgrounds, or use fewer colors. You should find out what settings most of your visitors are using. You can do this by analyzing your website traffic. You can also specify on your site what browser, resolution, font size, etc. with which the site is best viewed .

Lots of Internet statistics can be checked here: http://www.thecounter.com/stats/

You also need to use a set of webmaster tools by Google, which can be found at http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/. These are free tools to diagnose your site and better optimize it for Google, set parameters, and generate statistics. They can be very helpful in making your website technically friendly.

Shavkat Karimov
Internet Marketing Manager
mobileStorm, Inc.
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