W3C compatibility for your website - does it matter?
Here is the deal - there is plenty of online tools designed to diagnose your website. There may be different purposes, but mostly this is about checking your website coding consistency, different rankings, compliance to different standards. But one of the most popular website validation tools is W3C validator - it validates the requested page for the compliance to the official Web Design and Applications Coding standards. And many of third-party tools use its results as one of "checkpoints".
For example if you check your website with several SEO-validators - many of them will state W3C validator results to you. I.e. "validated" = good for SEO, errors = bad for SEO. But the practice tells us another thing - Search Engines are not W3C validators, and many websites which are not W3C compliant have high rankings, while a website W3C compliance isn't a reason to have high search engines rankings at all.
So talking about W3C compliancy importance for Search Engines, it's easy to have some laugh looking at the following screenshot (taken on Sept. 16 2012):
click it for full size view...
Another thing where W3C compliance seems to be important is a website compatibility with hundreds of different user browsers and their versions. But once again, from our practice making the website code W3C compliant doesn't mean it will look as supposed in all major user browsers. The trickiest, traditionally, are Internet Explorers. And in order your website to look good "everywhere" your web designer must test it "everywhere", in W3C validator and in all browsers and their versions. This is the only way to ensure that all is OK, and your site visitors will see your website the same way you see it.
Next thing - social networks. They all provide codes to place on your website to get different buttons - Like, Tweet, Comment, Plus etc. And what a "disappointment" - many of those "codes" will give you errors conforming to W3C standards. While within your own coding you have full power to adjust it, doing the same with third-party coding may be not quite possible, otherwise the Like or G+ buttons, for example, will not work. So what it leaves - yes, different tricks, as usually :) and a bit of headache for your web designer. Of course, if you think this is important.
And so what's the verdict? Does W3C compatibility matter? Answer - it definitely matters for website owner mental health, but there is no any proof it matters for anything else :) So if your web design company has created a website for you which is not W3C compliant you can ask them to take care of this. But this is definitely not a reason to be unhappy. From other point of view you should not consider W3C compliancy of your website as some miracle which can make it super popular or profitable.
16 Sep 2012