Are you ready to launch your website on the web? Before you publish your site online you may want to make sure that you test out your links, proofread all copy and that your site is loading quickly. It’s easy to forget the small detail when caught up in the excitement of launching your website. So, make sure you create a check list of everything you need to do before going live.
This article will go through some of the final touches you can make before going live. Whether it is uploading a favicon or re-reading your copy — first impressions matter when launching a new site.
In today’s age of high-speed internet, surfers expect pages to load instantly. Most will go somewhere else if your page takes too long to fully load. Visit your site and make sure that all of your pages and images are loading quickly. The speed of your site generally depends on your host and the server your site is hosted on.
If your site is loading too slow you can check out this article on how to speed up your site (link coming soon)
Check your website in all browsers
This is totally the job of your web developer, but your website is also YOUR responsibility. Also for you do-it-yourself people out there, this is something you’ll definitely have to check on. The thing is, a website might look one way in one browser, and another way in a different browser. You want it to look the same, and work for all users. Here is a list of browsers to check your website in. You should at a minimum check it in:
- Internet Explorer 6.0 (very buggy)
- Internet Explorer 7.0 (very buggy)
- Internet Explorer 8.0
- Safari (yes, even if you don’t have a Mac you can download it)
- Google Chrome
There are certainly more browsers you can check it in, but if you hit these 6 then you’re probably OK.
Not sure if your site is optimised for all browsers? Check out our article on how to make your site look great, wherever you view it. (coming soon)
Google’s new algorithm update Penguin may penalize sites that overoptimize their on-page text. For example, if you own a car dealership and want to get ranked in Google for “Used Jeep” you don’t want to repeat that phrase over and over again on the on-page text. In addition, if you decide to build links to your site (which you should) you will want to avoid overoptimization when it comes to your anchor text as well. Make sure to mix up your anchor text in order to make your link building appear as natural as possible.
Easy On The Eyes
Is your website easy on the eyes and readable? One of my pet peeves is text that is barely legible; for example navy text on a black background. Jarring color combinations can also put-off some of your surfers. One of the most popular color schemes is black text on a white background; it’s classic and what most surfers are used to since it mimics the colors in books. Use a font that is standard and easy to read; arial is generally the most popular.
There are also many online tools that can help you to choose a color scheme that complements your brand. The Elvan Color Scheme Generator is a great way to keep your branding consistent but coordinated.
Test Your Links
This may seem like common sense but you would be surprised how many websites have links that are 404 and not working. Click and test all of the links on your site in order to ensure that all of the pages are loading and working properly. Are all of your images loading? Is everything linked properly?
Using something like the W3C Link Checker, will make this process a a whole lot easier.
Proofread Everything Twice
Surfers are more likely to trust sites that utilize proper grammar and spelling. Grammar mistakes can make your site appear unprofessional and amateurish. Make sure to proofread all your text and make sure that there aren’t any spelling mistakes or grammar mistakes. It may be a good idea to have a friend proofread your site in order to get a second opinion.
Installing tracking software for your visitors is a crucial part of online marketing. Tracking daily hits, pageviews and your unique visitors is something that should be done from day 1 to track your progress. One of the best industry tools (Google Analytics) means you can gain access to more information about visitors. It’s easy to install and usually means adding a short bit of code to your header.
Using a favicon is a great way to brand your pages from within your bookmarks and browser toolbar. It is often forgotten by many people but is key in keeping your brand consistent. A lot of browsers can just recognise the file-name favicon.ico in your root folder — It is always best to make sure you add it to your index file too. You can use this code below in your index file:
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Being W3C Compliant isn’t just a sign of quality, it’s also a measure of a sites dominance online. You should aim to be 100% valid as this will make a big statement about the quality of your site. It’s not something to lose sleep over if you you’re unable reach full compliance. Leaders such as Google aren’t perfect and entail a few errors and warnings from the W3C Validator. One of the most common of these is forgetting to add closing tags to your code.
Thank you to Corrado Mella for contributing this point.
What other checks will you do?
If you’re thinking about launching your website, or have already launched your own what would you add to the list?