One of the roles of a webmaster is to engage in website optimization, which may aim at improving the website’s performance and/or the user’s experience. Website optimization includes making sure that the site is found in appropriate searches, loads quickly, is easy to navigate, has no dead links, and is attractively laid out. In addition, any operational parts of the website, including multimedia viewers, shopping carts, and downloads, work smoothly and that any add-ons, such as themes or plug-ins, are kept up-to-date.
One portion of website optimization is web design. Web designers set up the page layout, and the way this is done can greatly affect the look and feel of the site the speed with which pages load. Webmasters have learned that using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) instead of HTML table-based layouts gives site visitors a consistent experience as well as shortening page-loading times. CSS use also makes it easier to adapt sites for different monitors, as well as mobile phones and other handheld devices. Even tasks such ordering the page tabs can make the site significantly better for the user.
Another area of website optimization is search engine optimization (SEO). SEO optimization techniques are divided into white hat methods — those that are legitimate, aboveboard, and approved, versus black hat methods — those that violate the terms of service of search engines, try to make sites appear to be better than they actually are, and attempt to deceive search engine bots and users. Both because black hat methods violate terms of service, and because sites that are found to violate those terms will be removed from search results, website optimization done with white hat methods is likely to provide a quality site that last. Legitimate SEO methods include submission to directories and search engines; paying attention to keyword density, prominence, and proximity; thoughtful use of tags; and appropriate links.
Content is a third area in which website optimization can play a role. Good content that is updated regularly can draw people to a site and increase traffic. Choosing the topics for content to match the site’s focus and making sure that images used in the content are saved in a web-friendly format are two steps towards optimizing content. Linking content in useful ways and archiving it with logical categories also contribute.
Advertising is a fourth area for website optimization. Website ads that will truly appeal to the site visitor require some work and thoughtful choices on the part of the webmaster. Advertising the site through social networking can also contribute to increasing traffic and site revenue.