Seven Essential Checks Before Your Website Goes Live
You’ve invested months working with a top-notch designer and programmer. You’ve agonized over the appropriate wording for your homepage. You’ve argued colors, fonts, sizes and images with just about every person in your organization. You’ve tested the site, the CMS, and the database. Your site is about to go live. Before it does, there is one final round of checks you MUST perform on your site.
1. Do you have a favicon? Is it representative of your brand?
A favicon appears next to your URL in your browser window, or the bookmarks window of a site. Think Tank Creative uses the iconic “!” from our logo. Twitter uses the lower-case “t”. Facebook an “f”. Your favicon can be a stylized letter from your logo, or a small graphic representative of your product or service.
2. Have you looked at your site on multiple machines and in multiple Internet browsers?
A reputable web development company should test your Web site in a variety of browsers before it goes live, but you should also take a few moments and test the site yourself, or have a few trusted members or customers test your site for you. Have them send you a screen capture of the site so you can identify and potential cross-platform issues. There will be slight variances between browsers; you’ll want to make sure the site doesn’t look completely out of sorts.
3. Did you proofread your site? Did you proofread it again?
Everyday I stumble upon mistakes and errors on Websites (sometimes even on Think Tank’s site!). Really read your site. Some find it helpful to read the site to yourself outloud; as silly as it sounds, you’d be surprised how many mistakes you find that way. Ask a few colleagues to proofread the site as well — not for content, for errors.
4. Did you click every single link in the site?
You’ll want to triple check that all of your links go where they are supposed to go. Make sure they aren’t still linking to a development site, or that a typo is not preventing the links from working. If you have lots of links in your site, assign a few pages to each of the members of your team to divide up the work. And, if most of your links direct users to external sites, you’ll want to make sure you check the links every few weeks to ensure they are still active and correct.
5. Have you contacted yourself through the site?
If you have a phone number listed on the site, pick up the phone and dial it. Numbers can easily be flip-flopped, and the Smith’s will thank you when they aren’t fielding hundreds of calls a day for ABC Association. Make sure links to emails actually pull up an email address. Is the subject line pre-populated? If it’s not, consider having your programmer adjust the code so that it is. It will save your site visitors the time of filling it out, and it will allow the recipient to filter these emails in their inbox. If there is a contact form on the site, fill out the various fields and make sure the form is working — and that the appropriate person receives the form submission.
6. Are your analytics working? Have you looked at the dashboard? Are you scheduled to receive regular analytic reports?
Analytics are extremely important part of your site. You’ll want to make sure everything is in working order when your site launches. Make sure you understand what the dashboard is showing, and ask your Web developer any questions about the venacular. As more and more users visit your site, these analytics will show areas where your site could use improvements.
7. What happens when you print your site?
Let’s face it. Web site are not designed to be printed. But some visitors will print part or all of your site. What happens when the occasional visitor does print your site? Is the printer spitting out 20 pages of text in a 2″ wide column? Or, is the site printing out a single formatted sheet of paper. If it is the former, ask your Web developer to add a print style sheet to your site. This style sheet will not effect the look of your site in a Web environment, but will print the content of the site in an easy-to-read format.
After investing so much time — and money — in your site, you’ll want to make sure everything is in perfect working order out of the gate. Your Web developer should perform all of these checks — and more — on your site, but you’ll want to make sure that you also confirm that everything on the site is in perfect working order.
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