Website Optimization Measures, Part V
Post from November 3, 2008 (↻ December 5, 2021), filed under Web Development.
This and many other posts are also available as a pretty, well-behaved ebook: On Web Development. And speaking of which, here’s a short treatise just about managing the quality of websites: The Little Book of Website Quality Control (updated).
Almost half a year since my last article it’s about time to present version 5 of random website optimization measures, hopefully of use for your site as well. Short and crispy, to use a random German saying.
Migrating to HTML 5. Well, we can use HTML 5, and what’s better than going ahead and doing so. Shortly after “launch” of example.ms I decided to revise UITest.com and the World’s Highest Website to use HTML 5 too, to then continuously use it for some other projects, including the all new Code Responsibly. And while I understand from direct feedback as well as through sites like W3C Sites that knowledge of the new HTML is not too common yet, it’s still good for every developer to play with. Of course, HTML 5 pages should be valid, too.
Refactoring and removing
abbrelements. It took me some time to go for that change, however considering relatively and unnecessarily big maintenance issues, a slight performance impact, as well as plans to make
@titlerequired in HTML 5 (which got dropped after people, including me, raised concerns) I decided to abandon the habit to use
abbrfor every abbreviation. I did so for all my sites.
Switching to Google Analytics. Having been a happy Mint user for two and a half years I reached the point where I wanted one, ideally free analytics solution for all projects that at the same time allowed for more insight into the data. I decided to add Google Analytics (GA) code to all my projects . I miss some things I had with Mint, above all real-time data, but I certainly don’t regret the change. After all I used GA on other sites ever since Google acquired Urchin, and so I knew what I would get.
Another topic, and one that I’ll write about in more detail soon, however try to do A/B or multivariate tests of your site and its elements. I guess it’s fine to say that Website Optimizer allows exactly that, but there are probably other good tools, too.
Adding Google Analytics privacy notes. Some of you may have already heard about that, but apparently there’s some sort of requirement in Germany to have a privacy note “in some way” saying that you’re using GA and what GA’s doing. Neither am I a lawyer nor am I living in Germany anymore, but I figured it might not hurt to add that note to my sites’ pages—even in the legal notice of this part of my website. “Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly,” the Dalai Lama is quoted, but I’m not too familiar with all the rules here so I’m just playing it safe.
Revising and improving headings use in posts. That’s a boring one: You know this semantics quiz where it’s about using headings and paragraphs or lists and either headings or stronger emphasis or whatever, which would perfectly apply to this post, too? Well, I checked most if not all posts and articles for “semantics potential” and adjusted in some cases. A trivial thing; apparently I had too much time on my hands.
Proofreading and editing all posts and comments. History kind of repeats itself here, because I once again decided to review (or started reviewing, to be precise) all contents of this weblog. I’m aware that some people have reservations about this, but that doesn’t mean that the measure is not good for quality. In fact, I could improve some posts, deleted at least two rather stupid ones, and I touched comments that I felt were spammy or nonsensical. No worries, please see this measure as one that helps making better and more useful archives, well, websites.
Testing font alternatives. Not boring, just short: I tested additional fonts and found that sans serif fonts work better for this site’s headlines (interestingly, resulting in
corbel, optima, arial, sans-serif), and I tweaked the main font to support that change (
cambria, palatino, georgia, serif).
This is a part of an open article series. Check out some of the other posts!
I’m Jens Oliver Meiert, and I’m an engineering manager and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to the W3C and the WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. Other than that, I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.
If you have questions or suggestions about what I write, please leave a comment (if available) or a message.
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Perhaps my most comprehensive book: The Web Development Glossary (2020). With explanations and definitions for literally thousands of terms from Web Development and related fields, building on Wikipedia as well as the MDN Web Docs. Available at Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play Books, and Leanpub.