15 things to check before launch
Author: Tim Robards:
Before you launch your website, it’s ideal to have it live on a staging site. This will allow you to make edits and play around with formats to ensure everything is perfect before you make it public.
1. Add page titles and meta descriptions
Page titles and meta descriptions are used by search engines to understand, organize and essentially rank your content. By putting some effort into your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), you’ll stand a far better chance of having more visitors and attention on your website from the beginning.
2. Add a sitemap
Sitemaps are files that contain the URLs on your website. Search engines use these files to index your pages on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
3. Proofread and proof view everything
There’s nothing more embarrassing than spelling mistakes. So make sure you read over and check everything! Better yet, get someone else to go through your content too.
4. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
But it should be mobile-first, which is a notch more than mobile-friendly. Ensuring that your website is compatible with mobile devices is a fundamental part of the pre-launch process.
5. Have a favicon
A favicon is the icon you see next to a website when it’s open in a browser window or tab. It also appears in other locations such as bookmarks, and search results. If you don’t have one, now is the time to get one!
6. Have a contact page
Not only does a contact page allow visitors to get in touch with you, it adds credibility and improves the trust perception of your website. So make sure you have one.
7. Check website accessibility
A website shouldn’t only look good or contain useful information. The truly great websites are those that are built with accessibility in mind. Accessibility is all about making sure your site is usable for everyone, even those with disabilities. Here are a few things you can check:
- Ensure your menus can be navigated via keyboard
- Use headings properly to organize the structure of your content
- Include accurate alt text for images
- Give your links descriptive names
- Use colour with care
- Design your forms for accessibility
8. Check compatibility across browsers
Cross-browser compatibility is the ability of your website to function across different browsers. While there are hundreds of different browsers out there, you’ll only need to be concerned with the most popular ones: Chrome, Safari, Edge, Firefox & Opera.
9. Check all the links
It’s often easy to assume that all your links are good and overlook this step. But something as simple as not adding https:// to an external link will create a broken link. Another common mistake is to forget to change links from a website staging environment to the live website address.
10. Check the site functionality
Does your website have forms, a shopping cart, or a login area? Make sure you test each and ensure everything works as expected.
11. Have a valid SSL certificate
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates validate your website’s identity and are crucial to have in order to avoid your website being flagged as ‘Not Secure’ by search engines. They’ll also help to increase security and boost trust by displaying the security padlock icon in your browser’s address bar. A ‘secure’ signal for Internet users!
12. Have a proper backup solution
Before launching your website, it’s important to set up and have a backup solution in place. You’ll enjoy the peace of mind knowing you have a plan in case something should ever go wrong.
13. Optimize as much as possible
A website should be optimized to give the best experience possible to your visitors. This refers to factors such as;
- Page Speed:
- Media Compression:
- Navigation Smoothness and Interactivity:
- The order in which elements load:
14. Enable analytics
Web analytics tools (such as Google Analytics) provide you with valuable information about your website’s visitors. Data collected includes traffic, demographics, user behavior, conversion rates (for online sales), bounce rates, and much more!
15. Link to social media
A healthy presence on social media is an important element for any business or project looking to benefit from exposure or engagement. And the best time to start building your social media presence is from day one.