12 Tips and New Standards for Optimizing Your Website

By on June 8, 2011
seo

The latest web development standards, SEO ranking factors and social integrations can be a bit much to keep up with. In 2011, innovative applications for website optimization, user interaction and social media are springing up left and right.

I’ve kept watch and tried out many new web development techniques. I’ve also held an active interest in engaging with readers directly on site and through social networks as much as possible.

In this article, I share the optimization techniques and resources that have been most beneficial to me as a web developer and blogger.

Site Header Tips

1. Optimize your title. By default, WordPress and other CMS’s append your website name to the end of title tags on posts and pages. Using your choice of SEO optimization plugin, such as All In One SEO or WordPress SEO, you can configure post titles to contain just the title of your post.

This technique has proven to be beneficial for ranking well for key terms within post titles. It works because you will eventually receive backlinks with better anchor text and more relevancy on social network shares.

2. Set a default image URL for Facebook & LinkedIn sharing. In the past, images accompanying my articles when displayed on social sharing services like Digg, Facebook, bitly, and others always seemed to be the wrong one or missing entirely! The problem annoyed me to the point that I had to seek out a solution.

I was ecstatic to finally work out a simple way to define the proper post image every time. Plug this code into your site header to define the image URL.

<link rel="image_src" type="image/jpeg" href="post-thumbnail.jpg" />

3. Set an author link attribute. (New) Google, Bing and Yahoo recently announced a joint initiative hosted at Schema.org. This HTML tagging platform will work as a framework for defining the structure of a website and individual bits of data. This initiative to create a more open web filled with rich data is just getting started.

Google is getting started right away with a new way to connect authors with their content across multiple websites. Simply define rel=”author” when linking the author’s name in post display as shown here.

<a rel="author" href="http://markfulton.com">Mark Fulton</a>

Site Speed Tips

4. Track page speed with updated Google Analytics code. (New) Last month Google introduced a revolutionary new feature as part of the upgraded Google Analytics, tracking website load times.

With a little adjustment to your tracking code you can begin receiving reports on site speed analytics. Get this rolling and watch as the next few tips greatly reduce page load times.

_gaq.push(['_trackPageLoadTime']);

5. Minify JavaScript and CSS files. WordPress Minify is a must-have plugin for any site using JavaScript files and detailed CSS.

Automagically have all these files compressed and combined. This will reduce the number of HTTP requests, significantly speeding up page speed performance.

6. Compress images and serve them across multiple sub-domains. Another highly recommend solution for improving website speed is the WP Smush.it plugin which compresses images as you upload them.

I still recommend saving all images for the web using PhotoShop before uploading. Then let Smush.it work a little extra magic to reduce the file size further without noticeably compromising quality.

Additionally, hosting some images on different sub-domains allows them to be loaded simultaneously instead of one at a time.

7. Place non-critical JavaScript calls in the footer. By placing your JavaScript calls just before your closing tag you make sure all critical content and design layout is rendered before JavaScript enhanced elements. This is as important for user experience as page loading time.

Ironically, the new Google +1 button code suggests placing the script tag in your header. Put it in the footer instead!

Increase Conversions

8. Split test your business and lead generation copy. We’re hearing more and more about split-testing or A/B tests in recent years as easier tools are made available. The smallest of changes in copy, color or positioning of call to action elements can sometimes yield big returns.

Here are some economical choices for getting started with split testing your website content.

9. Reduce bounce rate by engaging readers. There are a lot of great methods for engaging website visitors, encouraging them to stick around longer and click-through to further pages on your site.

I’ve written some common sense suggestions for reducing bounce rate in the past. Simple things like improving your navigation or adding images to content can help.

I have been pleased with increased engagement here at DotSauce Magazine using the following applications.

  • Wibiya Toolbar (red toolbar at bottom of window) – An incredibly useful toolbar with lots of applications.
  • Punchtab Rewards (“Rewards” icon at bottom left of window) – Encourage return visits and sharing content with Punchtab’s innovative new social rewards layer.
  • HelloBar – Run a promotion in the header of your site to get immediate attention. Simple app with lots of thought put into it.

I have 5 beta invites to HelloBar for those interested. Please leave a comment and let me know you’d like one.

Extend Your Reach

10. Go mobile. I use the WPTouch plugin which automatically generates a mobile optimized version of DotSauce Magazine. Have you looked at your Google Analytics browser reports to see if many visitors are using mobile devices? It’s likely more than you think.

Greatly improve their user experience and conserve server resources by implementing a mobile optimized display.

11. Get social. Love them or hate them, social networks are driving traffic and allowing your following to engage and endorse your content. Discover the best widgets and sharing buttons for your website and include them in prime positions such as at the top of your sidebar or directly after post content.

I recommend you highlight the big 4; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and email.

12. Become a curator of the latest news and resources. This suggestion goes hand-in-hand with getting social. The most influential people on social networks are found generously sharing editorials, news and resources. It’s a great way to build a following and get recommended.

Every day I share a selection of domaining, online business and web development resources on Twitter, the DotSauce Facebook page, LinkedIn, social bookmarking and social news websites. I’ve been doing this for years and have found the practice to be very rewarding.

I’m now using Keepstream to publish a monthly roundup of the best links here on DotSauce. You can also find over 90 industry leading publications at the new DotSauce News site.

Next Up: Optimizing Publisher Experience

I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips and techniques for optimizing websites for both search engines and readers. I’m considering a related post that will feature methods of optimizing your experience as a publisher on the backend of a website. This year, I’ve discovered some very interesting tools and resources that make professional blogging that much easier. Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading my tips. Please leave a comment if you have any questions or suggestions about this article, I would love to hear your thoughts.

About Mark Fulton

Mark is the Founder of DotSauce Magazine and a full time web developer, domain investor, SEO and online marketing professional residing in North Carolina, USA.
  • Anonymous

    You surely have covered every aspect of SEO in every direction possible. This was another good post to read, thank Mark for sharing it.

  • http://freebloggingjobs.com/ Pulz

    Thanks for your advise, but i still dont know about conversion….

  • Odionrichardson

    i must say that of all the various search results given to me by google DOTSAUCE.COM happens to be the best resources ever especially when it concerns the niche of business and finance and i must say that i have gained a whole lot from this and certainly i am going to start working with all of your nice ideas and i must say a very big thanks to you.

    THANK YOU…

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    Excellent website. Lots of useful information here. I am sending it to a few friends ans also sharing in delicious. And obviously, thanks for your effort!

  • Zetajobes

    Thanks for your excellent post. It’s very helpful for me.

  • http://www.pinoytechnologies.com Jack Usman

    All of them are great tips. I like it Thanks for sharing.

  • http://iphoneapplereview.com Jack

    i dont get it about link rel ? just put at header ?
    what benefit i get it
    please explantion ….
    thx before

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    i will try that.

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    Good tips. I must say that sometimes there are some errors when you try to minify multi .js files. Do you know why?

  • http://www.signdicate.nl Bedrijfskleding

    Hmmm seems like I have my work cut out for me. I’m glad though this list is different than the tons of other lists I came across. Thanks.

  • http://iphoneapplereview.com jack

    how about i put a flash banner or script, how to Optimize the banner with flash, example , adbanner from affliate link , adsense or etc ? 

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    thanks this information

  • Kelly

    Excellent post.. so informative.. i got to learn many things from it that i must apply on my site.

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    Great article. I find monitoring the exact traffic that arrives will enable you to determine the best content to contribute on your website. This can deliver quality traffic.

    Facebook and Twitter never worked that well. I suppose you need many followers. However, Google indexes tweets on page #1. You can tweet a new article to gain that traffic. Thanks.      

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    It was the great tips Mark. Found very informative.Thx

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    Thanks for the SEO Tips. It going to useful me a lot.

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    Thanks for sharing these tips… I really liked HelloBar and punchTab and I think I am gonna use them on my blog

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    These tips are worth keeping most especially this 2012. Let’s still be on the outlook for the latest trends in optimizing websites. For sure Social Media will be there and evolving.

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    Great tips and well depicted.Thanks for being one of the best at providing thoughtful advice for those investing time and money into domains.

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    Going social is going to have an immense effect on our SEO. With Google coming up with Google+, I am sure there will be a positive outcome for SEO efforts..

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    Great tips, I am just getting started with my site and I will try these out.  Thanks

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    I use the WPTouch plugin and it works great.  It is amazing how many hits I get from the mobile version

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    Great tips here. I think that you can never know toto much about improving your site. The more you read and practice these kinds of things, the better your site becomes.

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    I like using Google Alerts to get the latest news about my subject.  I then mention the news in my blogs and point to the original source.  It is a quick way to get a post in.

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    Very informative!

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    LinkedIn works well for my local customers.  It is a great way to get backlinks for local businesses

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    Good read, thanks for sharing some of the tools your into. Will try them out. Now-a-days SEO wouldn’t be complete without integrating your company into social media.

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