Website Cleanup Continues
In todays Behind the Scenes, the JetsonHacks website starts blossoming into its new form. It is apparent that there are various bits and pieces of the website that need attention. In some sense, it’s like buying a new house. No one tells you that you are buying not only the house, but also an entire big box hardware store. One piece at a time.
Need to fix something, no problem. Just gonna run down to the hardware store for the #6 screw that I don’t have at hand. Times 1000. Because the part you need is never at hand. To be fair, Amazon makes this a little easier. That #6 screw which you need 20 of the life time of house ownership? Here’s a package of 1000. You’ll need a shed to keep them in …
It’s not clear why houses don’t just come with a pickup truck. You’re going to need one just to bring all the stuff that you never thought you would ever need home. Not that you ever thought you would need a pickup truck in suburbia.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
And so it is with websites. There’s somewhere north of 500 pages on this website. It’s enough that it’s something difficult to handle manually. But it’s not large enough to justify a major investment in automation and tools. Tweeners, as we say.
There are somewhat ‘best practices’ for websites. These mostly have to do with how search engine crawl and categorize the content. There’s an expectation of some semblance of organization. This is covered in a thick coating of techno babbling on how to make pages rank on engines like Google.
Page rank is important because determines the placement of any given page in search results. A web page that ranks in the top three for a search query is money. How many people even know that there is a second page of Google search results?
In addition to the results, the search engine also weighs in on the “authority” of the website. How long has it been around, how highly does it rank on other searches, that sort of thing. Is it a business, a blogger, and so on.
There are unsaid expectations. One of those is an “About” page, which describes the entity behind the articles. An extension is that the website gets a scoring bonus if it describes people, staff, employees, and/or executive team.
The JetsonHacks website didn’t have much of that. Mostly because I’m shy. Or I didn’t much care for the attention that you get from the inter-webs. Anyway, as a compromise I have found enough people are curious enough about me that I would put up a “About Jim” page, and cleanup the JetsonHacks “About” and “Contact Us” pages.
There’s a lot of cleaning to do. Looking through the different tools, there were a dozen 404s (pages not found). These had to do with an issue with linking Github Gists. After cleaning those up, there were some obvious bungles in the way that I linked some articles and summaries. All this will be ongoing, it looks like there are several months worth of work there. None of it effects page rank in a big way, but every little bit helps.
After shifting over to a new service provider, there are several tweaks to work through. One of these is caching content. The desktop experience was pretty decent (around 92 on some arbitrary scale in Google PageSpeed Insights), but the mobile experience was abysmal. Low 30s.
It took a while to setup and tune, but the website now runs caches in the USA and Europe for more better speeds. The desktop performance is now 99, mobile is 92. Big speed ups.
One of the major goals for the site redesign is a better mobile experience. That’s not a very high bar, as the mobile website seemed unusable before this. The new page layout and faster speeds will go a long way towards the goal.
Last week the script for the next JetsonHacks video was written and the supporting video recorded. There’s still editing to do, but expect the video out this week.
It’s about time for the JetsonHacks Newsletter too.