Useful Tips for Websites and SEO


Quick SEO Primer for You DIYers

HTML Tags


The three most important tags on any page for SEO, are the <title> , <meta name="description"> and the <h1> tag. The <title> tag is what appears at the top of the browser or tab as the site's name. If missing, the default will be the pages URL, or its web address The <title> tag will also be the name of the bookmark if you saved the page. The one for this page is "<title>NYRoutes.com: Low Cost Affordable Web Design in the Albany NY Capital District: Useful Tips for Sites and SEO</title>" Page building programs use defaults like "Home Page" or "Page 1", which are absolutely common & useless as any sort of marker. The title tag of the home, or default page, usually index.something of course is the most important. For a small business, it should be what you do and where you are before even your name, like "<title>518-555-1234: Computer Repair and Sales in Albany NY: The Computer Engineer</title>". Your phone number is a good touch, because that will insure that some one perusing the set of Google or Bing search returns will see your phone right off the bat. So your site will have done its work w/o the potential customer ever visiting it.

The second most important one is the <meta name="description"> tag. It is what is known as a meta tag, which means it is invisible in the browser, but visible in the page's source code and of course to our friendly search engine spiders. If you want to see a page's source code, you and right click on the page, or go to the View menu, and click page source. In Firefox, Alt-Shift-U will bring up the source code, while Ctrl-U works in Chrome and Opera. Or you can add "view-source:" to the front of any URL, <a href="view-source:http://www.nyroutes.com/useful_stuff.php" target="_blank">like this one's source code.</a> It should be short and sweet, both this and the title tag should be around 150 characters long. This one's is "<meta name="description" content="This page is full of good tips for SEO & web design in general" />"

The third most important tag is the <H1> tag. It is the most important tag in the <body>, or the section of the HTML file that you see as a webpage. This is what is known as a header or banner tag. The one here is "<h1>Useful Tips for Sites and SEO</h1>". There are also h2....h6 versions, each being a little smaller and less bold than the previous. It is a block element which means it forces a line break like a <div> or <p> tag. Normally it has quite a vertical margin, like 50px, so in my CSS, or styles, I reduce it to say 12px so the tag doesn't overwhelm the page.

The most important thing is that all three tags must work together


Your Domain Name

You can get these from anyone. A dot com is still the most preferable, but there are so many new TLDs, or top level domains, that if you can't find the .com you want, you can get a .us, .cc, .net version instead. A domain name is rented out for around $11/year for .coms, and you can pay in advance for twenty years if you want to be safe. Letting your domain name lapse can be trouble. These scavengers will most likely pick it up after a few months and will ransom it back to you for ~ $100. So it is important to keep on top of that. Most domain name resellers have auto renew set as a default, which makes it convenient for them since they most likely will get the sale the next year too. So if you really don't need a domain name, or URL, anymore, make sure you set its auto renew setting to FALSE, 0, NO! IF not, set the autorenew to YES, so you don't risk losing your domain. But do it on a yearly basis if you aren't sure how long you may need it.


Your Server Host Plan

Getting a domain name is step one. You have to have a place to host your website on. That means you have to get a host plan. Usually most people use the plan that their domain name providers set up for them, but you don't have to. If you use a different plan, you have to direct the domain's nameserver setting to the nameservers your host people use, like Blue Host uses NS1.BLUEHOST.COM & NS2.BLUEHOST.COM

Get a CPanel type of account, like BlueHost & JustHost. These usually run on LAMPs servers, the most common since all the software is open source and mostly free. LAMPS stands for Linux (operating system) Apache (web server) MySQL (database) PHP (scripting language) Server. You are better off with a LAMPS setup than an equivalent Windows setup. Modern ones are not expensive and most give you unlimited bandwidth, storage, databases and most importantly domain names, So you can host multiple websites from just one plan. Obviously if you try to max out your plan by running large, popular and intricate sites, it will run slow. But if you have a bunch of small sites, it makes it inexpensive when you divide the $80/year over 20 sites. The most important feature is that you can create a real Email box based on any domain name you have attached to the account. like I created j@nyroutes.com. It is not hard and there are many ways to access these sort of domain emails. They also add a cachet of legitimacy and can serve as promotion when used for business pertaining to your site. It is certainly better than using some mickey mouse freebie Gmail or Yahoo account any Tom Dick or Harry can create,. Which would be better to use for business: presidentoftheUSA@gmail.com or president@whitehouse.us.gov? You can also do a forward, which means I can copy j@nyroutes.com to any other account I use. You can even create a forward if no real box existed.


More DIY Help

There is no shortage of nerd geek techie sites on the web for the DIY or pro to learn more about websites and related topics. So I won't bore you with lots of nerd talk. But a good site to check out for beginners is W3 Schools. The site is run by Scandinavians but the English there is perfect US vernacular. They have a little about every aspect along with "Try It" pages. Those pages are where you can manipulate the code in the LHS pane and see the results in the RHS pane.