Octwelve – A Web Designer's Blog by Luc Melgar

The Benefits of Web Standards

April 2nd, 2008 · 9 Comments

Today, I want to share with you some of the great things about having a standards compliant website and why you too should start using it.

Search engine friendly, increased traffic

This is one very important reason to practice web standards. Search engines such as Google are blind user. It doesn’t care about the design. It cannot tell if it’s a heading just because you set the page heading to font size of 20px to make it larger.

In a standards compliant website, the design is separated from content. The HTML holds the contents while visual presentation is controlled by CSS. The HTML uses a semantic code. A semantically structured website uses the right tag to describe the contents within it. So if something is a heading, instead of using font size=20px, wrap it with heading tags such as H1, H2, H3 and so on. e.g., <h2>The Benefits of Web Standards</h2>

By describing your contents properly, the more Google will understand what your site is all about and improve your ranking which will lead to an increased traffic.


Less bandwidth, loads faster

By removing the visual presentation markup from HTML and moving it to CSS, means that your HTML page size is smaller and thus it loads faster. We should keep in mind that there are still lots of dial-up users out there. And we can’t just ignore them. Slow loading sites are so boring and annoying. The tendency is your visitors will leave your website and you lose a business.

Reduce cost of maintenance

CSS makes it so much easier for us web designers and clients to maintain a site. By using semantic markup, we can change the entire site just by altering one css file instead of editing every single page. Say, you want to move the left navigation to the right of the page. If you have 50 pages table-based website, you have to edit them one by one!! But with CSS, you can just edit the positioning values and you’re done!

Editing on the client side is also very very easy that you might not need a content management system anymore. It’s very unlikely that you will screw up the design. If you’re a client and you want to edit or update your site, you don’t have to make decisions if content should be this color or this size or whatever. You just have to describe what the content is, if it’s a heading, a paragraph, a list or whatever. Once you described this, CSS takes care of giving the style to that piece of content. This is definitely a money-saver for the client.

Works in all browsers

Because of its backward compatibility, css based layout will work properly on all browsers, even the older ones. Although it doesn’t mean that it will look exactly the same on different browser, you’ll still be able to navigate around it. It also works with other browsing devices such mobile phones and PDAs. Having this will maximize your potential visitors.


While standard compliant web does not guarantee accessibility, it is a very good start. It makes accessibility an easier goal to achieve. Accessibility means being able to serve web content to a larger audience including disabled people.

Web standard is something that brings only a host of benefits!

These standards will surely work best with various web hosting companies‘ packages.

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9 responses so far

  • Katy says:
    Apr 2, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Thanks for the article Luc, a lot of people ask me why they shoud care about standards when their website “works”, in the future I’ll point them here!

    I believe that at its core the web should be accessible for everyone, and as you say, standards are the foundation for achieving that.

  • Ramona Iftode says:
    Apr 3, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    While I never cared about the standards and validation, I found myself interested in a cleaner code from a simple reason: I would re-create my designs from time to time. At least this was when I had more time for my sites and not so many clients. When I used the “old” style just html filled with design tags it was a pain. I started using CSS for some of the font attributes, the body .. then I started learning to work with the divs and all the others.

    The code is indeed cleaner and easier to spider and I can manage my designs faster. Not to mention some good SEO results for my clients, and that means moneY :)

  • Luc says:
    Apr 3, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    You’re welcome Katy. :)

    Ramona, thanks for your comment. And it’s more money for us too, we can finish the project faster and move on to the next one ^_^

  • Jonathan Concepcion says:
    Apr 6, 2008 at 11:14 am

    Hey Nice article! I agree with this “We should keep in mind that there are still lots of dial-up users out there.” and we should not ignore the IE6 below user. In html “comment” is that good for seo or not or even in loading page?

  • Carlos says:
    Apr 7, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    You are an excellent teacher -that was very well said!

  • Silvia says:
    Apr 18, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Hi Luc,

    Well i would love to learn to create with Web Standards and not ontly html..well in my classes they dont teach it. what can i do?? can you give me some helpful websites with easy way to learn so i dont need to go always back and edit all my pages of my website?Thanks :)

  • Luc says:
    Apr 20, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    Hi Silvia,
    Try here http://www.alistapart.com/ This might help you too.

    Good luck! :)

  • csspanda says:
    Apr 23, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    hi Luc, we have featured you site in csspanda.com

  • Luc says:
    Apr 24, 2008 at 5:42 am

    Thanks! :)

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