What’s really written in your Website?

Or, ‘Why you really need to trust your Webdesigner’

Do you know what’s written on your website? Well, of course you do. You wrote most of it and no doubt your webdesigner pestered you for copy for many weeks. But if you’ve ever tried to open a MS word file in another program, you’ll know that there is a lot more ‘stuff’ in files than just the text and pictures. And in websites, there are are many places where you can put ‘hidden’ images and text.

Some of this hidden text is completely legitimate. For instance, many webdesigners put in ‘comments’ which say what a certain bit of code is doing, where it starts and ends, and other information. This is vital for making it easy to find things, for the webdesigner him or herself, or someone subsequently who works on the site.

That said, it’s not unheard of for webdesigners to vent their feelings in code comments, though this is thankfully a rare occurrence. Since anyone can read the code which renders a website, it is worth knowing what is written in your website.

So, how would you look at what is really written on your site? It’s simple: look at the source code.

  • In Firefox, go to View>Page Source.
  • In Safari: View>View Source.
  • In Internet Explorer: View>Source.

You get the idea.

That list of text is literally what the web page is. That is also what the search engine sees.

Comments will usually have <!– before them, or /*  Otherwise, you can usually recognise the comments, as they will say things like ‘sidebar starts here’. Search engines disregard these comments, as they aren’t ‘content’, so they shouldn’t affect seo.

However, we’ve also come across situations where webdesigners have put things into websites in other ways – in invisible divs for instance, which could affect seo. I encountered a website recently that invisibly and incongruously advises: Tip of the Day: Don’t Run With Scissors!

In another site I found an image in the media folder of a man sitting at a desk with a gun – thankfully the image was not used in the site.

These cases are pretty silly really and are unlikely to have any detrimental effect on the sites in question. But it does flag up a more serious issue: you really need to trust your webdesigner, because they have control of your online presence.

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