Internet Marketing 101: Web Programming Principles

InternetMarketing101When I began my career as a Web developer, I decided to create a document that simply statement my top programming principles that I would apply to every website I ever develop. This document was first created in 1995 and has served me well without too many changes. If you are a frequent reader of our “Internet Marketing 101” series, you’ll note that we frequently say to develop unique, compelling content for search engines and regular users alike to avoid any issues (ranking penalties) with future search engine algorithm updates. My Web Development Principles document is not much different, as it was written to encompass a core philosophy of programming without factoring-in the current technology. The following are some (not all) of the core Web developing principles we follow at Callidus Marketing (not in any particular order).

  1. Keep it Simple. In my opinion, Web developers get sucked into all the bells and whistles of things like JQuery, which are VERY cool, but not necessary on the site. Keep these questions in mind when deciding to add elements to a site: does it add value to the site, does it enhance the content of the site, and does it help explain your website’s message?
  1. Site Speed. In the era of slower Internet connections, every site loaded slowly. Now, in the era of broadband Internet, there is an expectation by the site user and the search engines (Google uses site speed as one of its ranking factors) that a site should come-up quickly. Before, I would advise site owners to avoid Flash and other high resolution, large file size graphics, and that’s still somewhat true. However, site speed, in my mind, involves sites like WordPress. If a site uses WordPress as a Content Management System (CMS), it can quickly become unwieldy to load, even for a pretty fast Internet connection (forget mobile connections). WordPress uses a lot of code to produce what you see on the screen, which is a violation of the “Keep it Simple” principle above. While WordPress does have its advantages, be careful with too many widgets and large, multimedia themes that takes an hour to render!
  1. Three Clicks to Gold. This is the principle of properly designed navigation. The idea is that you would like a user to traverse anywhere on your site to anywhere else on your site in three clicks or less.
  1. Use Space Efficiently. This can be a tough one, because everybody has an opinion on open space on the screen: some people find it clean and efficient, while others want to have every inch of the screen used in some fashion. Callidus Marketing believes that having white space on a page is a good thing, which allows for the content to be cleanly displayed. At the same time, that doesn’t mean you want a sentence or two on a page followed by a bunch of white space. If a page starts to look too crowded, ask yourself if what you’re putting in the space has value to you or your audience; this can be a good litmus test to help keep sites uncluttered.
  1. Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should. If there is one principle that we at Callidus Marketing adhere to when developing a site, it’s this one. Sure, it’s tempting to have graphics flying everywhere on the screen, large videos playing, etc. Yes, it would make a big impact, but what kind of user experience is it going to lead to? I’ll tell you: users not even waiting for your site to load before leaving or leaving quickly after it finally does load, because everything is so hard to follow. There’s always a better, more efficient way to do things in programming; even though the technology changes, that fact never does. It’s easier to setup a WordPress site and load some quick content in it, but is that always the best option? Maybe you need a custom-developed site to get your message across.
Website Design

Website Design

These are just some of the core Web development principles we live by here at Callidus Marketing. If you have any questions about these principles and all the other principles we use, feel free to contact us anytime!

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