Creating a new website is an exciting time! Whether you’re a billion dollar corporation or a guy in his basement building a website about building models out of toothpicks (Have you seen this?!), there are a few things to consider.

1. Sitewide Links – Choose Carefully!

Don't be Static!
Don’t Be Static!

I’ve seen this so many times. By definition, you want your sitewide links to perform a function, for the majority of your readers, regardless of where they enter the website. From a search engine perspective, these are the big dogs – the ones which will directly lend value to the pages of your website you, and your viewers, care the most about. BE CHOOSEY! When you add a link to your footer – ask yourself – is it really important that all of my site’s viewers can access this directly from any page – or is it cool to just link to it from an internal FAQs page? Keep in mind, for every link you have on a page, each other link becomes less valuable when passing it’s authority on. Less links makes it easier to rank sub pages higher, plain and simple. Your sitewide links are some of the most valuable resources you have – don’t drop them in lightly. And, once they’re in they’re in there – TEST! After 3 months, have only 5 people clicked the link in your navigation? Time to remove! On the flipside, is there an internal page you KNOW people are checking out a lot, which could only benefit from being more accessible? Make it a footer link. They don’t have to be static – and you shouldn’t be either.

2. Every Page is a Homepage

I find that lots of inexperienced webmasters look at a website like a house: with only a few defined entrances and exits. STOP THE INSANITY! On the web, each page of your website is potentially the welcome mat to a potential first time visitor. Be sure each page communicates its goal independently, while still maintaining your site’s feel , branding and benefits. Don’t assume your visitor knows you or your site already.

3. Can Your CMS Handle This?

I hate to break it to you, but even if your onsite SEO skills are top notch – you may find that your content management system just isn’t capable of handling the things you’d like it to do. Be sure to outline your SEO expectations immediately and find out BEFORE you commit to a contract. Some common things I’ve seen
– Meta Head Tags – Are these even accessible? All of the important ones?
– Rel Next, Previous, Canonical & Pagination in General – Most CMS systems have a hard time with pagination – usually resulting in lots of duplicate content. Be sure to ask!
– 301 redirects – Can the system import them and can they be added in bulk? Huge questions for SEO AND time management
– .csv data uploads – For larger sites, this is a MUST. Just try entering meta descriptions manually into the CMS for 1000 pages…and call me in a month.

4. Be Careful with Javascript!!

Love/Hate RelationshipGoogle has a love/hate relationship with Javascript, so as a webmaster, you must too. On one hand, Google loves a website that provides a great, optimized experience for the end user. On the other hand, Google can’t easily find links hidden in javascript, making it extra hard to get your webpages indexed. As a rule, if you’re going to use javascript on your websites, have it work in conjunction with an html link path through your website. Is javascript being used to populate your top menu navigation? Be sure to have crawlable html links populated in your code underneath or Google won’t make it past the homepage.

5. Incorporate Schema.org where applicable

There’s no better time to incorporate new schema.org markup then when you’re building a website from the ground up. This relatively new system provides greater visibility of your site’s content on search engine results page and can generally make you stand out better in the crowd of related sites. Ever wonder how IMDB gets their movie ratings to show up in the meta description in the search results? Schema.org is your answer. Ever wonder how your biggest eCommerce competitor can get the search results to display their site’s prices? Schema.org boss. Check out what they have to offer and have the markup built into your templates from day one.

As always, if you have any questions or comments about this post, feel free to reach out at +MattRiggleman. Thanks!