While the topic may sound too technical and consequently of little interest to most business owners, it is something you need to know nonetheless if you view your website as a sales and marketing tool. Even though its something that exists at the backend and is not visible to your site visitors, the code used to design your website pages has substantial impact on how they perform.
So what is css and why is it so important?
CSS stands for cascading style sheets. While it is not new - it was first developed in 1997 - it is now being used to design full layouts. In its humble beginnings and for a long time afterwards, css was primarily used to define how html elements display on a page. Today however, complete layouts are being done in css. The reasons are several.
1. Layouts done in css are easy to change: Asking for a font change or size change or even a color change after a layout has been done is unlikely to drive a hole in your pocket if the layouts are full-css. And your web developer is less likely to crib as well as it saves him a lot of time making the changes than it would if the layout used tables!
2. Fast load times: CSS layouts are lighter and cut a lot of extra code. The code is leaner, neater making it faster to load pages. Faster pages mean your visitors will not click away without a look at your site. So there you have them!
3. Standards compliant: W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) lays down certain standards as benchmarks for good design. CSS layout is one of them. A standards compliant design doesn't just make good design sense but also good business sense.
4. CSS layouts are more accessible: If you have heard a screen reader read out the content from a tabled layout with nested tables, you would know how important this is. While it may be imperative for your site to be more accessible from a purely business perspective, you might be mandated to have a fully accessible site by your local Governments. Governments insist on web accessibility to ensure that websites can be used by the widest possible audience.
5. Mobile friendly: Ever noticed how some sites completely break up while others can still be easily browsed on your mobile? When you have your website created completely in css, you can put to rest your fears that your site will appear all awry on mobile screens. Considering the sharp increase in mobile web browsing, that's a big plus for any website.
6. CSS makes good SEO sense: The fact that search engine like sites that are accessible and have leaner code and thus load faster, makes the css websites more search engine friendly. The more search engine friendly your website is, the more the likelihood of its ranking higher in search engine result pages (SERPs). Higher ranks can translate into higher traffic and better conversions.
So if there are so many pluses of a css layout for a website, then how is it that non-css websites are still being made? The answer is quite simple. CSS layouts require a greater effort and better skills to implement and most designers and developers would like to take the easier way out. Insist therefore for a css layout. Its worth it.
Author: Preeti Markan / Posted: 02-06-2012