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Importance of Clean Markup in Website Development

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Website development is an ever-evolving phenomenon. As the trends change in the web world, the website design world also undergoes a kind of transformation so as to be in pace with the latest web trends. As the web expands, the technologies incorporated also grow with time. While HTML has been around for a long time, it has acquired quite a few sidekicks along the way. Clean PSD to HTML conversion plays an important role in website development and development.

HTML5 is ready to be adopted worldwide and at the same time, Firefox, Safari, Opera and Chrome already enjoying nearly full HTML 5 support. In this article, we will discuss about the web standard basics and importance of clean mark up in website development.

What do you mean by Clean Mark Up:

Clean markup technology is standard compliant which bespoke the tags and structures of the language according to the purpose. It should not be cluttered. A cleaner markup means extremely light pages and it also means an increase in content-to-markup ratio. Search engines want more content and less code on your web pages. With less code on your page, your main content moves closer to the top and consequently, gets easily crawled.

Clutter free HTML means the less use of tags, and fulfills the task with very little mark up. Similarly, clutter free CSS means reusing classes and avoid repeating itself. Standards compliant refers to validating all your web pages with the standards given by W3C Consortium. This validator checks the mark up validity of Web documents in HTML, XHTML, SMIL, MathML, etc. Even if validated, all web pages should be tested in as many different browsers as possible to ensure that the limitations of the validator are compensated for and that the page works correctly.

In total, what you should get in the mark up is: W3C Validation, cross browser compatibility, Pixel-perfect conversion, clean mark up structure and complete accessibility support.

Clean mark up matters for SEO Purpose:

With the availability of 100s of tools needed for web development in the market, every kid at the corner has started making his own website. But to what extent these pages do well from SEO perspective, loading time and usability factor! This is the reason why corporates spend thousands of dollars and get their website designed by the best of professionals with proper and clean mark up. Most tools used for generate automatic coding are just so horrible. These are just unable to produce a clean mark up. These even generate a code where it is not required. In short, these don’t understand some of the nice technicalities of the coding. Whereas, if you perform the task of coding manually, the mark up would be cleaner, and avoid you from inserting hundreds of unnecessary as well as deprecated tags.

Crawlers read 150-200 words on a web page and you need to make sure that everything important should have been included. For instance, make proper use of the <h1>, <h2>, <p>, <ul> tags so that the search engine crawlers know what these tags contain. Pages with unnecessary coding become difficult to get crawled by the search engine crawlers.

Scope of Extensibility, Accessibility, and Translation to be Covered!

These days people don’t only surf on their desktops, but they use different media to surf Internet. Like they access Internet via laptops, palmtops, smartphones, iphones and so on. So, accessibility is a very important factor. While mobile browsing is increasing, clean markup is extensible with XHTML which helps to facilitate ease of search on your mobile. Your site is likely to be translated into a half-dozen languages as readers from around the world find your content. These are the three parameters which is actually based on how well your website is designed. In this, Clean markup and standards-compliance will go a long way to ensure your sites work in each of these scenarios.

Some Do’s and Dont’s:

There are some Do’s and Dont’s in creating clean mark ups. Remember, a clean mark up will help your website in the long run. It will save your time and money in maintaining the website and covering the future issues of extensibility and accessibility with your website design.

Do’s:

  1. Make proper use of the <h1>, <h2>, <p>, <ul> tags so that the crawlers can easily make out what these contain and hence this facilitates crawling.
  2. Do Validate your HTML, XHTML, CSS with proper tools. Try to correct as many errors as possible.
  3. You need to check WYSIWYG generated code twice because sometimes they produce bloated markup with loads of unnecessary codes.
  4. Name your CSS classes and IDs using meaningful terms.
  5. We can avoid inheriting css to a certain extent. which will allow us to use the same classes for two or three similar sections in our Markup.
  6. Make use of alt tags and titles in your Markup, as there are some browsers who do not read the alt tag but they read the title tags. Both these tags have a lot of significance for SEO point of view.
  7. Certain sections of code can be done in such a way that the same code can be used in different sections of varying widths.
  8. The title, that we write, if it’s more than one word then the first letter of both the words should be in Capital. Google gives preference to them.

Dont’s:

  1. Add any kind of unnecessary and extraneous tags as it will make it difficult for the crawlers to crawl the web page.
  2. Use automated tool to generate codes. The automated coding may not be bug free and may affect the functionality of the website. Automated codes do not promise to be SEO friendly.

Conclusion: Use valid, semantic, lean, and accessible markup and it will significantly boost your rankings. A clean mark up is the key to SEO success as well. Do manual coding and avoid the use of any kind of automated software for PSD to XHTML conversion because though, it may reduce the turnaround time of any project but ultimately, it would hamper the growth of your online presence.

Varun Bhagat is a technology geek and works in PixelCrayons as a Sr. Technology Consultant. He possesses in-depth knowledge of different web development technology and helps our clients to choose the best technology as per their needs.

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