There are several things that happen chronologically and simultaneously during website development. From planning to execution, website development is a long and tiring process. But once it is completed and everything is in place, you shouldn’t be in a hurry to make the website live. Even after the codes are written, the CMS platform is double checked and all plans have been met, it is important that you check for a few things before a website is made live. In the following paragraphs, we will mention a few important checklists that need to be followed before launching a website.
Design and Insert a Favicon
A favicon helps in establishing the uniqueness of your website even before the site loads completely. It helps in branding the tab or the window where your website is loading. Favicon also helps users to easily identify your site by the small logo that gets saved when bookmarking the site. Before you go live with your website, design your favicon and insert it in the root directory of your site. The favicon file should be saved as favicon.ico in the root directory.
Check Cross Browser Compatibility
Often times a website is tested only in one browser. While using one browser for testing the site is fine, it is important that before you official make the website public, you check that the website is cross browser compatible. Check that the images are pixel perfect and every element is rendering without any problem. The common browsers today include Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari.
Proofread the Content
While the design and the images decide the look of the website, the content continues to be the heart of a website. Whether you have pages of content or you have less of content, your content should be technically and grammatically correct. Even though you might have checked the content while writing it (or have had someone else do the work for you), before launching the website, always proofread the content once again. Silly mistakes are not accepted either to search engines or to the people.
Unless you know how your website is faring, it will not help you improve it. Thankfully, there is a delightful thing called analytics that sends hourly, daily or weekly assessment of how your website is doing. Install a plugin into your CMS and use it extensively to know how your website is doing. Google Analytics is the most popular in the market for obvious reasons. However, there are several others you could try, such as – Clicky, Mint and StatCounter.
Check for SEO
Like it or not, most of the websites that are popular are doing well because of their enviable search engine rankings. Search engine optimization is a tedious and a long-term commitment and you have to work on it regularly. However, at the very outset, you can correctly write the Titles and Meta Tags for the website. Though they are not the deciding factors for SEO rankings, it is always advisable that the Titles and Meta Tags keep changing in every page.
Create A Sitemap
A sitemap helps in SEO as search engines regularly index this page. Before you go live with your website, make sure your website has a sitemap. There are several easy and convenient ways of making a sitemap automatically. You can use XML-Sitemaps to automatically create a sitemap.xml file that can be added to the root directory.
Dealing with 404 Errors
One of the commonly overlooked elements of a website is the importance of 404 error page. A 404 error is shown when a user lands to a page that doesn’t exist. A good 404 error page will redirect the user to an appropriate page. Thus if a person clicks on a dead link, the 404 error should be able to say that the page doesn’t exist and take him to the right place.
Run a Pilot Test Before Final Launch
It is very commonly seen that when we keep looking at a thing for a long time, we tend to overlook the mistakes. This is one of the common problems that happen when designing a website. To overcome this, run a pilot test of your website before you make the final launch. Show it to a few industry experts, a few friends, colleagues etc. and observe how they navigate within the site. You could be surprised to find that there is a considerable difference in the way you browsed and the way someone else did. Before finally launching your website, such a pilot test will help you figure out the problem areas and accordingly work on them.
There are several other things that you can check before making the website live such as checking that the links working properly, you have a 100% valid website, you have inserted RSS feed icon in the address bar as and when required etc.