On Site Optimizing: Don’t Forget The Reader!

March 14th, 2007 | Posted in Building Blog Traffic | Comments Off on On Site Optimizing: Don’t Forget The Reader!

When people build websites these days, they spend a lot of time thinking
about SEO (Search Engine Optimization). They try to make sure that the
page has good clean html, that all of the links work and their images
all have alt="" tags. Particular attention is paid to the text content
of the page, trying to achieve a balance between keyword rich text for
the spiders and something human readers won’t look at and go "HUH?!?".
Yet there is one thing that I’ve seen on more and more sites lately that
makes it clear to me the person who designed the page never gave one
single thought to one very important factor.

They didn’t stop, look at their page with a critical eye and ask
themselves one very important question: "Is this page easy to read?"
Anytime somebody writes a page that has a light colored background and a
light colored text, they’re not thinking how blasted hard that can be to
read. Or perhaps they’re TRYING to cause eyestrain.

Do everyone a favor, if you have to have that white or off-white
background color (or image), then please, for the love of God make the
text color something that has enough contrast so that a body can read it
without straining.

Color combinations like dark colors on dark backgrounds, any light color
on any light color. This kind of low contrast color combinations can be
very hard to read, especially if you’re also using a small font. My
suggestion is to use at least a 10 or 12 point font and make sure that
the text color has a decent contrast to the background.

By the way, don’t forget the link colors! You’ll need to make sure that
the colors for active, visited, link and hover attributes leave the
links in a color that you can read against your background.

This aspect of web design may not have much effect on search engines,
but you need to remember that return visitors are important to any site.
Also, If a search engine decides that your text color is too close to
something that would be invisible or nearly invisible on your background
color, then your page could well take a penalty that causes it to drop
in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).

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