I ask myself that question about once a month. My website looks fine to me, but what are other people seeing? And what are the Search Engines seeing? Here's a checklist of ten ways to keep your website at peak performance.
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What's Wrong With My Website?

I ask myself that question about once a month. My website looks fine to me, but what are other people seeing? And what are the Search Engines seeing? Here's a checklist of ten ways to keep your website at peak performance:

1. Browser Compatibility

The first thing is to look at your website through other people's browsers. I do this regularly and I've sometimes been shocked at what I saw!

Anybrowser

2. Broken Links

About 5% of all links on the Internet are broken. A site that contains broken links gives a bad impression to visitors and is a frequent cause of lost sales. Also, the major Search Engines and Directories will not list your page if it contains any broken links or missing images. Here are some free link validators:

Link Scan
Net Mechanic
Website Garage Deadlink Check

3. Web Safe Colors

Are the colors on your web site displaying properly on other people's browsers? You may have a beautiful shade of lilac on your index page but it could look very strange on someone else's computer.

There are only 216 colors that you can safely use on the Web. These colors display solid and consistent on any computer monitor or web browser that is able to display at least 8-bit color.

The Web Safe Palette contains six groups of colors with 36 colors per group. These 216 web safe colors can have any combination of the following RGB (Red Green Blue) values: 0, 51, 102, 153, 204, 255 (each RGB value must be divisible by 51). Here's a good palette of web safe colors:

Web-Source Safe Colors

4. ALT Tags

ALT Tags allow you to give an alternative to people who have the 'view images' function turned off in their browser. Let's say the navigation system on your website is a series of buttons that link to other pages on your site. If you don't have ALT Tags, people who have the 'view images' function turned off will be unable to navigate through your site - in place of your button they will just see an empty space.

But an ALT Tag allows you to tell those people what that button does. For example, if the button is a link to your 'Site Map' you could insert the following ALT Tag:

<IMG SRC=sitemap.gif BORDER=0 ALT="Click here to view Site Map">

ALT Tags also allow you to raise your keyword density. For every image that is not hyperlinked you could insert your main keywords. For example:

<IMG SRC=bullet.gif BORDER=0 ALT="airfares cheap discount flights">

5. Meta Tags

Meta Tags are so important they deserve a whole article on their own. The most important Meta Tags are the Title Tag, the Keywords Tag and the Description Tag. The Title Tag should be no more than 64 characters (longer than that and it will be cut off in some Search Engines).

The Keyword Tag should contain about 5 to 10 keywords that appear on your page. Never include words that do not appear on that page - in some Search Engines your website will be penalized for this. Do not repeat the same keyword - this is called 'keyword stuffing' and is also frowned upon by the Search Engines. Separate your keywords with spaces (not commas). This allows the Search Engines to combine your keywords into phrases, for people who do "phrase searching".

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