Web development is a hard playing field to operate in. The competition is great and keeping ahead of your competitors is difficult. Assuming potential customers rate your work and compare your goods against the competition means there is no place for complacency. This tip will help ensure level’s of quality are high and more importantly transparent and measurable to your audience!
Tip #1: Avoid the dreaded 404
A 404 is generally understood to be the page one would receive if you try to access a URL that does not exist. The 404 is also referred to as the ‘Not Found’ error message. Technically speaking it is a HTTP standard response code indicating that the client was able to communicate with the server; but, the request could not be found. Thus, it not only represents a page is missing, but, could also mean an asset – such as an image – is missing.
It is not necessarily a bad thing to hit a 404. In certain circumstances it is desired e.g. a page has been removed intentionally, such as a product on a on-line shop site that is not longer available. However, is the case of assets triggering for in-line content a 404 is bad! It is bad for a few reasons. The first being it has a negative effect on the page load speed. This is because for each missing asset encountered there is a time penalty incurred. Time in the world of search engine optimisation (SEO) is like goal dust. The faster the page loads the better the user-experience. In other words, there is a direct correlation between page load speed and user experience and SEO scoring.
From a technical point-of-view it is simply poor coding and lazy craftsmanship to leave an unintentional 404 within a site. A reputable software house should have tried and tested quality assurance (QA) processes in-place to spot this type of error. My point is, if the developers are missing the simple things, then what does this tell you about the entire process behind web development outfit.
Checking for 404 errors on existing sites is quite simple. In fact, if you are in the process of choosing a web designer or web agency then check their current portfolio of work. To do this open Chrome, open the developer tools (console tab) and navigate to the site you wish to check. If there are any 404 errors you will see something like:
Hope that helps. Look out for more tips coming soon.