When the work on your website development is accomplished, there comes this exciting moment. Your new website is ready to start its successful journey into the world...or, better to say, the World Wide Web. But, like before any important journey, there are some things you should check. Let’s start!
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1) Create a favicon, your little brand enhancer
Small things can have a great impact. One of such things is a favicon, also known as a bookmark icon or a shortcut icon. It is a small icon that is going to be your website’s “emblem” in browsers. It will be displayed in the browser address bar and near your website’s name in the list of bookmarks users make when they add your site to favourites. A favicon makes your website more recognizable in users’ eyes, thus reinforcing your brand.
2) Add a sitemap: help search engines feel at home
Want search engines to be your frequent guests? Welcome them by providing a good map! Search engines prefer a special map called a sitemap which is an XML file in your root directory. It helps search engines easily index the pages of your website and keep the results up-to-date. In the process of website creation, some pages may be added or removed. So, before the launch of your website, you should make sure your sitemap reflects its real architecture.
3) Provide meta data: offer your “guests” a good treat
It’s polite to offer your guests what they really like. Search engines like meta data: page titles, descriptions and keywords, so be sure to write them. They should include your target keyword phrases that you can select using Google AdWords or other services. It is meta data that is most often displayed in the search results. Be sure it doesn’t just include keywords, but is also attractive, convincing and clear. Because your most important guests which are people, not search engines.
4) Check the links and where they lead your users
Broken links may appear in the process of your website construction, adding and removing certain pages or for other reasons. This can be checked either by visiting all the pages or by using special link checking tools (a better option for large sites). You should also make sure external links open in a new tab or window so users don’t leave you too soon. Your logo should lead to your homepage, that’s a golden rule. Besides, if you have an old website, be sure to redirect its pages to the new one. Don’t lose your old users!
5) Set up a 404 page: provide understandable feedback
If a page doesn’t exist, your users should be informed about it in an understandable way and provided with some other options. Don’t just let them leave but direct them to your homepage or offer other pages that might be interesting for them. Besides, your 404 page can have an interesting and visually appealing design, maybe with a touch of humour. If something cannot be found, a nice 404 page is a way to turn annoyance into a smile.
6) Check your spelling: don’t let people laugh
It can be funny to view screenshots and quotes with some “genius” grammar or spelling mistakes. Of course, if it’s not about your own website. Good spelling is a part of your reputation. So don’t underestimate this aspect and proofread your site thoroughly if you trust your grammar skills enough. A better idea is to find a “grammar nazi” who will do it instead of you. Please mind that mistakes can “hide” in forms, alerts, etc. Let your website be quoted only for great content and never for mistakes!
7) Cross-browser testing: make all browsers love your site
It’s the XXI century, and there are really many browser options for users. What a joy for them! But it’s not a “joy” for your website if hasn’t been checked for cross-browser compatibility. All its content and themes should appear properly in any browser and with any resolution your user may have. It’s all about your audience - every users is priceless. There are manual and automated options for cross-browser testing.
8) Check and optimize your website performance
No time to be slow, every second is important for keeping a potential customer on your website. Besides, a slow website will never rank high in search results. Check how quickly your pages load, and pay attention to this issue if it needs to be fixed. Sometimes optimizing the size of your images and files can be of great help, sometimes it needs the hands of skilled developers. Your website deserves not just to run quickly but to fly!
After you’ve checked all these necessary things, let your website have a wonderful journey!