Updating Alford Firewood
This week it was Alford Firewood’s turn to receive a quick refresh. Initially the customer requested a couple of updates but on inspection I found a few technical issues that were worth addressing at the same time along with the underdeveloped visual design.
The first issue was critical as the site didn’t use a secure certificate. Securing your website became a must in 2017/18 as search engines and browsers began to expect all communications between the visitor and server to be encrypted. Luckily MGC Websites Ltd provides a secure certificate as part of our hosting service and the site needed only minor changes to make it compliant.
The next issues prevented the site being fully ‘mobile friendly’ which inconveniences users and harms the website’s search engine performance. Errors like these are easily missed if your web designer isn’t using tools to monitor the health of a website (as measured against continually moving targets).
Firstly the Find Us page map had a fixed size that was wider than many current device’s screens. Using modern web development methods it was easy to make the map automatically fill the available space without breaching it and causing the web page to scroll horizontally.
The second issue was that the home page contained click-able objects that were too close together to be reliably used on touch screen devices. This took a little more investigating as superficially everything looked okay. On checking the code though I found an empty (and so invisible) link next to a valid link which was the cause of the error.
The invalid and superfluous link was the result of the previous web designer using drag and drop software that created very verbose code which invariably becomes more corrupt and invalid every time a page is edited. It is not unusual for me to remove three quarters or more of the HTML code when updating websites from sites built by such tools. As well as making the page faster to load and more likely to render correctly across a wide range of browsers, this clean code is significantly easier to edit and maintain which prevents problems and saves the customer money on an on-going basis.
As with previous posts I simply put and extra hour or two into improving the cosmetics of the site paying attention to fonts, colours, text size and use of white space. Some brighter photo’s taken by ourselves adding to the fresher appearance.
I recommend to all my customers that spending as little as an hour or two on a sites cosmetics each year will help keep it up to date and fresh as fashions and requirements change.