You are thrilled the day your website design company delivered the final website. Now you can expect great revenues and brand reputation with this official online presence. But do you think having a graphically pleasing website is enough to impress your visitors and get you more business? Unfortunately, that is not the case because so many things go into determining the success of your website.
[Tweet “A great website is one that doesn’t just look pleasing but practically works to make money for you. #websitedesign”]
Here is a simple checklist for anyone not sure if it is the right time to launch their website.
1. Web Copy
It is important to double-check and carefully review your entire website content with a fine-tooth comb – page by page – word by word. Make sure that everything is in place, looks smooth, and works properly too. Keep the following points in mind when reviewing your website content:
• Ensure that headers, paragraphs, lists, and formatting are correct and aligned properly.
• Check your ‘about us’ page and ensure that information is latest and contact details are accurate – they should be accurate and consistent throughout the site.
• Double check your micro-copies on Thank you pages, auto-responders and contact pages. Keep it personal, crisp along with invitation to your social network accounts.
• Ensure there is no generic content on the site and everything is exclusive for your brand.
• Make sure the videos – if any- are loading properly and working on all devices.
• Ensure your images are all relevant, original, in the correct places, optimized, and appearing properly on all smart devices.
• Make sure that rights to fonts, images, and other content have been cited/licensed properly.
• Check copyright date, usually in the footer, to ensure it includes the current year.
2. Design Aesthetics & Code
Pay special attention to the design of your website. It needs to be pixel perfect to create an impact. It makes sense to publish a responsive website since a large majority of users accesses pages through mobile devices. Here are some other things to consider:
• HTML and CSS are properly validated.
• Images, CSS, and scripts are properly optimized across web pages.
• Paragraph styles are in perfect sync and working properly (lists, headers, block quotes, etc)
It is quite tempting to have various features on your website, but those features are useless if they are not doing what they are supposed to do. Be sure to test those features before you launch your website. Here is what needs your attention:
• Make certain that Thank-You message after form is displayed properly. *
• Ensure that form data stays on your company’s database and goes to the recipient’s email as well.
• Check that auto-responders are working fine.
• Ensure that external and internal links across web pages are valid and working. Consider getting your external links opening in the new tabs.
• Test Feeds and social media share icons to ensure they are going to the correct pages and in new tab.
• Test and optimize load time of pages on your website. *
• Check if 404-Redirected pages are in place or not.
• Check your canonicalization of the website.
• Check third-party tools, such as ecommerce software, CRM, and marketing platforms are integrated well and working fine.
Having an aesthetically pleasing website is not enough to survive in today’s competitive online world of business. You need to be visible in search engines and get found by your prospects, and that is why you need to pay special attention to search engine optimization during planning stage before the website design and double check after it is developed.
You need to ensure that everything from content hierarchy and site architecture to XML sitemaps and metadata is in perfect shape. Here are some suggestions:
• Have unique meta-descriptions with fewer than 156 characters and keywords.
• Have keywords in every page but keep them under 10 depending on your web copy and focus.
• Place metadata properly for any content in an RSS feed.
• Do not leave any grammatical and spellings mistakes in metadata.
• Add Alt tags to every image.
• Create a dynamic XML sitemap and submit it to search engines as well.
• Ensure 301-redirects are in place and page URLs show site information architecture with appropriate internal links throughout the website pages.
• Ensure the content is valuable and enhances user experience with relevant call to action.
5. Analytics & Tracking
Do not make your website live unless you sure that it will capture web data and analytics properly. You need to know how your website is performing over the internet and analytics will help you make necessary changes to make your site more efficient.
• Ensure you have excluded your personal and other frequent IP addresses from analytics tracking.
• Make sure that you have created goals and funnels properly in your analytics software.
• Ensure that you have synchronized Google analytics and Google AdWords accounts properly.
6. Security and Backups
No matter how impressive your website looks, you will eventually find yourself in trouble if you do not pay attention to improving site security. Information security – be it customer info, product info, or financial info – is of immense importance, so you should launch your website only when you know you have taken enough steps to protect it against malware, loss of data, and other damages. Here is what you need to check.
• Ensure that you have a good backup system in place with copies of the websites stored and backed up regularly.
• Be sure to have a copy of your finished website for backup purposes.
• Maintain a secure database to store passwords and other website credentials.
• Install malware protection tools.
• Consider getting SSL certificate. It’s better to do early than later.
• Consider getting copyscape copy protection badge to steer clear from scrapers.
Never publish your website unless you know it complies with any applicable laws and regulations in your area. There are internet laws for different industries and you need to know them before launching your website. It is a good idea to work with a professional to get legal guidance. Here are a few things you may need to check.
• Ensure that website is compliant with usage rights for borrowed codes, fonts, and images.
• Ensure that your website is PCI compliant if you will be facilitating credit card purchases.
8. Live URLs
You have to check your website carefully to ensure that URLs lead to the correct destinations. URLs demands serious attention because they are important not only from a functionality viewpoint but also from SEO standpoint. Incorrect URLs will leave your visitors frustrated, which affects user experience. Search engines may also penalize you for not having correct URLs.
• Pay attention to how you will redirect users if you change structure of URLs later. Plan ahead.
• Ensure you have a plan to avoid, identify, and fix broken links.
Paying attention to these factors will ensure that you have a pretty website with all-important features that work great and provide your visitors with a great viewing experience. It may take time to test your site for all these things, but that is the only way to ensure that your website performs its main job – securing leads and customers for your business. All the best.