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December 4, 2009

Why build your website to Web Standards?

Building a website is more than just getting a few pictures to show up and making sure your links work. The underlying framework that gives your visitors a consistent and fulfilling experience is more important now than ever. Today, visitors to your site are coming to it using many different browsers and hardware devices. To capture their interest - and earn their business - you have to be prepared.

At Giant Peach we only build sites using web standards compliant code (this means XHTML and style sheets CSS). There are several reasons for this, including: readability, accessibility, and speed. But why should you care if your website is built to web standards?

How do YOU benefit from Web Standards?

  • Easier to maintain (less code, modular code)
  • Cheaper hosting costs (less code)
  • Better search engine ranking
  • Content can be restyled easily without changing code
  • Provides users with customisation ability
  • Provides print versions without replicating content
  • Improves accessibility

How do your VISITORS benefit from Web Standards?

  • Files will download faster (less code, no overall tables, valid code)
  • Content is accessible to wider range of users (normal users, blind users, vision impaired users etc)
  • Content is accessible to wider range of devices (screen readers, browsers, text based browsers, hand helds, search robots, printers etc)
  • Allows users to customise site appearance (style switchers)
  • Provides print friendly versions for all pages

Two of the main benefits above in particular, will mean lower future costs. The first is that your site is much easier to update because the content and style (look and feel) are separated. The second is even better. It is possible to completely redesign the look and feel of your site without touching the content.

The real question isn't 'Why build your website to web standards?' What should be asked is 'Why wouldn't you build your site to web standards?'