It is important to understand that not everyone uses the same web browser. Whilst there are a large number of Internet Explorer users, there are also a high percentage of people using alternative web browsers such as Firefox, Chrome, Safari and others. It is therefore extremely important that your website displays correctly across all web browsers. If your website does not display properly on every browser you are missing out on a major opportunity and all of your website promotion efforts will be a waste of time.
The market share of the main web browsers, as of July 2012, is as follows:
- Internet Explorer – 53.93%*
- Firefox – 20.16%*
- Chrome – 18.88%*
- Safari – 4.93%*
- Opera – 1.59%*
- Others – 0.51%*
* Source NetMarketShare
As you can see, if your website is only displaying correctly on Internet Explorer, you are missing out on a massive 46% of potential visitors that are unable to view your site correctly.
So, how do you ensure that your website is universally compatible across all of the major web browsers?
1. Test your website
If you wish to ensure that you are able to maximise all of your website promotion efforts, you will need to test your site across the different web browsers.Â In the past this had to be done manually, but now, there are free services that can do this for you such as Browsershots. To use these free services, you simply enter the URL of your website and the software will then return a set of screen shots, showing what your website looks like in each individual web browser.
2. Design your website using HTML
All web browsers can read HTML, plus it is also a well developed and established programming language, that will allow, even ten year old computers, to load your HTML pages pretty quickly.Â Although websites that are designed using basic HTML may not be as elaborate as those created using more advanced languages, you are more or less guaranteed that they will load and display properly.
3. Do not use fancy fonts in your web design
Your site should look good even if standard fonts are used. Therefore try and avoid using some of the more fancier font styles, as some web browsers may have difficulty recognising these. There is a good choice of known web safe fonts and ideally your website should be designed using one of these.
4. Limit your use of images
With the advent of faster broadband connections web page loading speeds have become less of a problem. However, it is still important that you limit the file sizes of your images, otherwise you may find that your web pages load very slowly. Fast loading pages are not just important from a user perspective, they are also important from a ranking perspective, as it is known that Google will penalise websites with slow loading web pages.
When it comes to Effective Search Engine Optimisation, content matters more than images. This is because when people are searching for information, they do not really care whether or not a site looks pretty. Granted, there are exceptions to this rule, but as long as your site looks neat, uncluttered and professional, don’t worry. Overloading a web page with images may slow down the loading time and can cause problems with the page displaying correctly in certain browsers.
So, to summarise, although Internet Explorer has just over 50% market share, it is not the only game in town. To ensure that your website is seen correctly by all your potential customers it is essential that you invest the time in checking out how your site displays in all the major web browsers.
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