How many times have you gone to a site and realized that something was missing? Maybe the site was just too slow, maybe you bookmarked it and realized it didn’t have a fancy icon like everyone else, maybe it just didn’t seem to be complete…
The list can go on and on but the point is always the same. No matter how small your site is it is important that you mind the details. For example I’ve been to so many “professional” bloggers and other sites as I’ve strived to improve my own craft but nothing will turn me away from a blogger fast than no favicon.
So what are the most important details for a small site to get?
1.) Use a favicon
The favicon is the little icon that appears in the tab bar of your browser or next to the bookmark of your site. It is easy to make and even easier to implement it yet so many bloggers and others just miss it. For those of you in this boat and who want to add a favicon here is a good article to get you started.
2.) Don’t forget caching
If a website takes 20 seconds to load then I will probably not stay there. Webpagetest.org is a great little tool to determine how fast or slow your own site is as well as provide you with tips to improve. In addition, if you’re on WordPress check out W3 Total Cache and WP Optimize. You might be amazed at how much faster your site can load.
3.) Watch your code
While CMS applications are notorious for sloppy code that doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it. Clean up your code with minimization and other techniques or at least make sure it isn’t using techniques that went out of favor with AOL keywords.
4.) Mind your design
Don’t ever launch any site without getting an opinion on the design. While you’re personal blog doesn’t have to be as fancy looking as the page of a fortune 500 company if your site is worthy of webpagesthatsuck.com you’re not going to attract any repeat readers.
5.) Make it easy
Make you site easy to navigate. If anything on your site is more than two clicks away you are probably doing something wrong. In addition, the page labels and other links on your site should make sense. A user shouldn’t have to guess what the link in the 3rd level of your menu means to decide if it’s something they want to read. Taking a few minutes to plan out your menus and site architecture can make your site a far more attractive option to those who might be inclined to return.
In the end where not every site comprises a full-time job for its owner, every site can at least mind enough of the details to indicate its owner knows what he or she is doing. It is the details that can make or break your repeat readers so don’t let them down.