Launching a new website soon? Maybe it's your first time, or maybe you've launched hundreds of websites before and just want to ensure that you haven't gotten left behind with a new strategy or recommendation.
While the prospects of beginning a new website are daunting, we here at Ingeniosity are always searching for handy ‘blueprints' to help map out and detail each step of the process and this one is great!
We cherry picked what we thought were the more important pieces of this 28-point checklist. We've allocated half of their points as the most pertinent to the role-players behind the scenes (web designer, web developer and the Network administrator). Make sure to check out Searchenginewatch below for the full 28 point checklist which includes the remaining steps for editors, writers, and SEO.
14 Point Checklist for Web Designers, Web Developers, and SEO tacticians when launching a new website
For the Web Designer
- Site speed
Check the size of your page sizes and their load time. You can use Google’s own site speed test to do this. Site speed is a ranking factor, so follow any improvements Google recommends as closely as you can.
- Mobile friendliness
Is your website mobile-friendly. Frankly it’s very difficult not to building a multi-device compatible website in 2016, but just in case, here’s a handy checklist to ensure your website’s mobile-friendliness.
Check to make sure your website’s pages render well in common browsers. Browser share is a moving target so to help prioritize efforts, here’s a site that continually examines it.
Sometimes font codes get dropped into a page inadvertently and make a letter or a word look funny. Check to see that the formatting is consistent, and look for odd blips in the copy.
Test the navigation to breaking point. Make sure every single possible journey through your website leads to wherever its meant to without any broken links or wrong pages.
Makes sure your on-site search works, and it delivers accurate results, and if there are any zero-results that you’re providing navigation to other relevant pages.
For the Web Developer
- Live URLs
Often, sites are built at a URL (uniform resource locator) that isn’t the website’s final destination. When a site goes live, the URLs are transferred from a staging area to production. All the URLs change at this time, and they need to be tested.
On small sites without any tools, you can navigate to each page to make sure they all work. On a site with fewer than 500 URLs, you can use Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool for free to find bad URLs. For larger sites, there is a modest annual fee.
- Sign up to Google Search Console
Google Search Console (previously Webmaster Tools) is an invaluable tool for all webmasters. This is where Google will communicate with you should anything go wrong (crawling errors, manual penalties, increase in 404 pages, malware detected, etc.)
Search Console is also where you can monitor your site’s performance, identify issues, submit content for crawling, remove content you don’t want indexed, view the search queries that brought visitors to your site, monitor backlinks.
You should also sign up to Bing Webmaster Tools.
This is a technique that combines and compresses website code into smaller chunks to speed up your site. You can read more about it at Google. Then, look at the website pre-launch to see if the site is using minify where it can.
- 404 pages
When a 404 (“page not found”) error occurs, make sure you have a custom page to help your visitor find something else of use, even if it wasn’t what they were looking for. Do you have an HTML sitemap there? Does the 404 page include a site search?
For the Network Administrator
A site monitor checks pages regularly to make sure it is available for visitors. Basic monitors check if the page is working.
Important pages within the site should have enhanced monitors that test if a completed form behaves the way it should. Enhanced monitors are more expensive to setup and keep running so the page in question needs to justify the additional expense.
- Backup System
Have you thought about what happens if the server goes down? Make sure the backup system is configured properly, and the recovery process has been tested so you know it works.
- Traffic Loads
Think about what might happen to your site if it gets an influx of heavy traffic. There are load test software tools that allow you to simulate heavy loads. If you are expecting big crowds, this is a must.
- Protected Pages
Does your site have pages that require user credentials to view? If so, do the credentials work? From the opposite angle, also check to see that the pages can’t be viewed without proper credentials. Make several attempts to get to those URLs without proper credentials to make sure the security is working as expected.
- Secure Certificate
If your site is ecommerce, or you’re using encrypted pages to protect visitor privacy on a form or elsewhere, you’ll want to check your certificate on launch day.
To do this, go to the encrypted section of your site. When the lock appears in the address bar, right click on it and read the message your visitors will read. It should have your name on it and state that it’s valid. If the lock doesn’t appear or the name isn’t right, let your provider know.
There is always mounting pressure when updating/unveiling a new website, which is why it is essential to check and balance any loose ends before you release your site out to the public domain. Bookmark this checklist and check out the full 28 point list at here –> searchenginewatch.com
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