1. In the excitement to take your website live, there are a number of things you may have forgotten. Read through the list below and make sure you have completed these final touches before you launch your website.
2. A favicon to mark the window where your website has been opened on the user’s screen. This code is saved when the user bookmarks your page so that it can be easily referred to at a later point. Make sure you have included the correct coding in your header so that the user’s browser picks it up every time.
3. Titles and Meta data are two of the most important components for successful SEO. Meta data is a very brief description of the contents of the page and it should change for every web page of your website. This description is what is displayed on search engine results and therefore, a relevant and attention grabbing Meta description is crucial.
4. Browser friendliness in your website design is important because your efforts are not worth it if your website works on one browser and not on the other. Extreme details such as pixel density don’t have to be looked into, but all the features of the website should work without any problems. Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera are just a few browsers you should check compatibility with.
5. Even if you have read and proofread your content 2-3 times, read it again and get a third person to read it too. It is very likely for a third person to pick up an error that went unnoticed by you. Minimize the text, keep it simple and specific. Write short paragraphs, include clear headings and use bullet points for clarity.
6. Click on each and every link to confirm that it works. Adding “http://” to the external links is something that webmasters often forget. Link your logo to the homepage of your website. Also, consider the placement of your links: although they should stand out, it shouldn’t be too obvious to visitors.
7. Conduct a thorough functionality check. Test your contact/inquiry form, log-in areas, search functions, and shopping baskets. Get third parties, including your target market, to test your website. Observe how these users are going through your website. By doing so, you might pick up on a drawback that you did not find when using it yourself.
9. While you should be aiming for a 100% valid website, you could also work with a website that does not validate. However, identify the reasons for this and fix the necessary errors. Some common mistakes are forgetting to include “alt” and closing tags, confusing the “&” and “&” codes.
10. For blogs on the website, ensure that there is an RSS feed for users to subscribe to. Keep in mind that this RSS feed should be easy to locate by users.
11. Include an analytics tool to measure the performance and success rate of your website. Observe statistics of records such as browser statistics, monthly page views and unique daily hits.
12. In your root directory, add a sitemap.xml file so that search engines can index your website easily. This file will direct crawlers to all pages of your site.
13. Pay careful attention to defensive design elements, especially the 404 page which is often overlooked. This error occurs when a user is looking for a page that does not exist. Make sure your links all direct to existing pages and redirect your 404 page to your home page so that users can click on a related page rather than being faced with an error. Another defensive design element to look into is the feedback that is provided to users if they enter invalid data in your forms.
15. Have a working back up strategy in case your website happens to run off the database.
16. Create a print-specific style sheet of your web pages in case users want to print the main information. In this case the navigation and other design elements have to be eliminated.