Things every webpage needs

In keeping with my love of making utility pages visible on the website itself, I’m making a personal ‘page assessment checklist’ I can use to upgrade old pages or double check new ones.

What should I put on it?

My list so far:

Header

  • Doctype
  • viewport
  • Utf8
  • meta tags for social media
  • google fonts replaced with local fonts

HTML

  • Headers in correct order
  • class, not header, used for Go Back link

Courtesy

  • Background image, if any, credited
  • Credit linked to artist, if living
  • Background image has aria label
  • All images have alt text
  • Last updated script used
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I would suggest adding a lang attribute to your <html> element. This is actually a requirement for accessibility, and tools like WAVE will raise an error if it’s not present.

I would suggest crediting dead artists, too, if only so that people can look up that artist, see what else they’ve created, and broaden their horizons a little.

I would also suggest that meta tags are not necessary for social media. You are not obligated to integrate with social platforms, and any platform that can’t use standard meta tags like <title>, <meta name="description">, <link rel="canonical"> and <link rel="preview"> is defective.

That last one isn’t something I made up. As I wrote last year, it was in the 2011 Atom Activity Streams v1.0 spec.

I would prefer not to provide social markup at all, but the minimum social markup recommended by Jens Oliver Meiert isn’t too onerous.

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I would also include the year the page was written or the date it was last updated. I think it’s helpful for browsers trying to work out if a website has been abandoned. Of course, maybe you want to keep a certain mystique…

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The <title> is required for every HTML page, no exceptions.

As is the alt for images - an image without it actually constitutes bad HTML, so HTML validators will rightly flag altless images as faulty code. It’s more than a courtesy, it’s the law!

I agree with @starbreaker that social media metatags are not obligatory - I didn’t even know they were a thing and if all it’s about is those little preview screenshots, I’m happy to not include them.

a favicon! i often forget that. i guess “need” is a strong word but they’re fun hahaha.