Search engines are major source of free traffic. , for a better and consistence organic ranking the site must plan well and planning to be done right from the beginning. If done properly then it became easy to develop further when traffic and size of the site increases. Usually these points are ignored at the early stage as more focus is given towards look and feel , design, structure etc. A little effort on these issues gives a lot of advantage in future development of the website.
Create one Sitemap page
Telling about the structure of your site helps engines to understand the flow of content in the site. Adding a sitemap does not help in higher ranking but it tells engines on how to navigate and index pages based on importance given by site design. Adding a sitemap at a latter stage to the site sometime develops high imbalance for engines to understand the new structure which is different then their prior assumption. There are examples where sites complain about drop in traffic after adding sitemap.
At the root of the site keep one robots.txt file. All major search engine robots follow guidelines given by this file. We can add the areas we here to tell the robots not to index those pages. Note that the robots.txt file is a public document so we should not keep any thing here which gives clue or helps hackers to enter into undisclosed areas.
No name at title tag: Who you are is not important – what you are doing is important to users( you are not Microsoft ).
No one is expected to search by using your company name or business name on the net to locate you unless you are a big and popular company like Microsoft or google. So by keeping your company name at the title tag you are wasting precious space which you could have used for some key word. If you are a travel agent then keep your area of business or service you provide in the title area. Best example will be Booking for travel and hotels in Florida area for business. So here you are targeting a particular area with a service offer and you are likely to get good visibility as some one tries to search for your service.
Even though it is rarely visited by visitors but by keeping one Disclaimer page we can avoid many future problems.
It is better to speak clearly what we are going to do with the data submitted by the users. If we are collecting email address for a newsletter subscription then we must clearly specify how we are going to use that data. This is a must and it gives confidence to the visitors about our intention.
Manageable hyper links, content & navigational menu
It is very difficult to imagine all the requirements that may arise in five years down the line. But if we can develop a system of keeping our future requirements then we will be comfortable once the site grows. We need to have a system of managing hyper links from a common place were we can add remove easily for all the pages in site. The copyright information we need to change at the beginning of every year, so if our site has five hundred pages then editing all the five hundred pages became difficult so a common footer file is to be maintained and that is to be used by all the pages of the site.
Contact us page
It is not a good idea to expose your email address by mailto link. Spammers will use it more than your customers. Keep one contact us form and details submitted by the visitor you can post to any email address. Display your postal address with phone and fax number there.
Keep copyright information at the end of all the pages and having a common footer file helps in maintaining this. The year part of the copyright message is to be changed every year.
Avoid Blank pages
( under construction page )
Usually new websites plans many things and there will be a tendency to keep the under construction page which is to be filled in future. A blank page without any unique content serves no purpose and better to avoid. If required we can keep them ready but care to be taken for not exposing the URL or link of the page to engines for indexing. After adding content or by completing the page we can link it from other live pages of the site.
These are some of the points to take care while starting a new website. As the site grows with large number of pages we can manage it well with little effort.