The Website Launch Checklist
Launching a website can be very exciting especially since you have worked really hard and can't wait to share it with the world. But, many people often rush the process of checking their website for errors which can lead to a bad launch due to a number of problems. Websites are complex and there are several things that can be easily overlooked like broken links or spelling mistakes. I believe that you should always double and triple check your website before you launch to make sure that everything is working properly without any errors. Below are a few things that I checked before I launched my website and I thought that I would share them with you.
Titles and Meta Data
The page title of your website is the most important thing for SEO, but it's also important so that your users know what page they are on. Make sure that it changes on every page so that it's related to the content of that page. Another thing that you don't want to forget about is your website description because that is what will get shown in search results for your website right underneath your website title. Just like the page title, make sure that you change the description for each page so that it's related to the content of the page. The last thing that you don't want to forget about is the keywords for your website. Your website keywords aren't as important as the page title or description, but it shouldn't be forgotten about either.
You should always make sure to check all links on your website, this is especially important for internal links because sometimes pages get changed and you forget to update them or pages may get moved or deleted. But, you should also check external links because sometimes those links don't work anymore depending on a variety of factors. The most common places to check for broken links are in the navigation bar and footer, but you should also check social media links and the logo that links back to the home page.
The favicon can be often forgotten because it’s a very small detail during the web development process. A favicon is a tiny icon that shows up beside your page title in a browsers tab bar, but it’s also shown if you decide to bookmark a page. Even though it’s a small detail, don’t forget to add a favicon to your website because it can help your website look more professional.
One of the most important things that you can do before launching your website is to test it on all major web browsers. From personal experience I thought my website looked perfect on all browsers like Google Chrome and Safari, but when I viewed it with Internet Explorer I noticed some issues. I thought my website worked well on all the browsers, but after doing some browser testing I was proven wrong and had to fix those issues that only happened with Internet Explorer. Learning from experience, I strongly recommend that you always test your website on every web browser that you can because you never know what can happen.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization or better known as SEO, is very important if you want to get your website to rank higher in search results so that it's easier for people to find without having to search several pages on Google. You can find many articles online on how to improve your SEO, but most of them will say the same things such as having important headings and keywords throughout your website that will relate to your target audience. Another important thing that will help is how fast your website loads, some search engines like Google take that into consideration. There are many things that can affect SEO, but these are just a few tips that will help. If you want to read an article on how to improve your SEO, then I recommend you read this article on Entrepreneur.com.
Spelling and Grammar
Spelling mistakes can sometimes be easily overlooked and nothing looks more unprofessional than a number of misspelled words. I recommend that you double and triple check your whole website for any spelling mistakes and then proof read all your content again a few more times before you launch. This can take some time, but in the end it will make you seem more professional if all your content is written well and is free of any spelling mistakes. If you still aren't sure that you don't have any mistakes then you could always get another person to proof read all your content for you, another set of eyes have never hurt.
It's very important to measure statistics about your website so that you can see how well it's performing over a period of time. At the time of writing this blog article, the most popular service to track website statistics is Google Analytics. This service is offered for free by Google to track a number of different things from your website traffic to what devices your website is being viewed on. Below is a list that shows the most popular things that people use Google Analytics to track.
- Website Traffic
- Bounce Rate
- Audience Location
- Audience Engagement
There are a lot of benefits to use Google Analytics, but some people forget to include it in their website, so make sure to add it right away before you forget. I use it to see how many people visit my website on a monthly basis and where they are located, but I also take a look at how people interact with my website and what pages they click on. This service gives you a better understanding of where your users are located and how they interact with your website. It also gives you a better idea if something isn't working so that you can fix what's wrong and then see if your users are interacting more with your website rather than leaving.
You should try to aim for your website to be 100% valid, but if it's not then it's not the end of the world. But, it's important to check because if there are any errors in the code, then it will show them so that way you can fix them before they become a bigger problem down the road. If you want to check to see if the code for your website is valid, then I would recommend that you use the popular W3C Validator. That's what I used for my website when I wanted to check if the code was valid, plus as a bonus it's free to use.
Speed & Optimization
Another way that you can improve the load time of your website is by optimizing your images. For most websites, images will be the reason why they load at a slow rate so if you can decrease the file size without lowering the quality, then it will help improve load times. There are a number of ways to do this from using the right file types for certain situations to using Photoshop to optimize your images. I use Photoshop to do this since I get more control, but you can use websites or applications that do the same thing such as TinyPNG or ImageOptim. Overall, if you do some of these things, then you should see an improvement on your website load time.
This isn't everything that you should check before you launch your website, but it is a starting point. There are many articles online that will go more into depth about what to check, but these are just some things that I looked at before I launched my own website. I hope that this website launch checklist was helpful and that you have a successful launch. If you have anymore things that you think that should be checked before you launch a website, then leave them in the comments below.