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Essential Checks Before Launching Your Website

Posted by webdesigncut on March 20th, 2010 in Tutorials.
39 Comments »
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After we design a website and the client is satisfied what we think? When we will make it live But wait when launching a website we must remember some essential things, so its better to have a checklist for those important points to follow before bringing a site in front of the world
In this article there are some important reviews of those essentials that can be forgotten often or ignored, but if followed properly it can greatly increase your websites acceptability and reduce unnecessary costs afterwards.

Favicon

A favicon brands the tab or window in the browser of your user.It also helps in bookmarking your website when several websites are opened side by side.Although browsers pick up favicon if you keep it in the root directory named favicon.ico .But don’t forget to include the following code within your head tag
<link rel=”icon” type=”image/x-icon” href=”/favicon.ico” />

For Iphone favicon

<link rel=”apple-touch-icon” href=”/favicon.png” />

Titles and meta data

When it comes to Seo your page title is one of the most important element.You should be. Aware that the title changes along with the content in every pages to relate with it.

Meta name and meta description though have lost much of its importance in major search engines but still they have some effevt on smaller ones so do change the page description and keywords on every page.

Cross Browser Checks
When you complete your design and it looks great, you check it in IE and see if everything is right. You should always check your website across different browsers. It should work at least if not 100% right. The most popular browsers you should consider are Internet explore 6,7,8,Firefox 3, safari 3,Chrome,Opera and the iphone.

Proofread
Read read and read your contents. Even if you have read it read again to see if there is any mistake. Get someone else to read it. You will always find that there is something that can be changed>Break large text into small paragraphs. Add clear headings so that users can scan through your content easily.

Links

Don’t just assume all your links work. Click on them. You may often forget to add “http://” to links to external websites. Make sure your logo links to the home page, a common convention.

Also, think about how your links work. Is it obvious to new users that they are links? They should stand out from the other text on the page. Don’t underline text that isn’t a link because it will confuse users. And what happens to visited links?

Functionality Check
Test everything thoroughly. if you have a contact form, test it whether it works right or not. Get others to test your site to most people you may know not only family and friends. See how your website is used by other users so that you can find out what’s attracting the visitors more or what functionality they are not using. Common things that are must check are contact forms, shopping baskets, search functions, login areas etc.

Graceful Degradation

Your website should work with JavaScript turned off. Users often have JavaScript turned off for security, so you should be prepared for this. You can easily turn off JavaScript in Firefox. Test your forms to make sure they still perform server-side validation checks, and test any cool AJAX stuff you have going on

Validation
Your aim should always be to be 100% validated. Having said that, it isn’t the end if it doesn’t but always see the reasons why it doesn’t and se e if you can fix any nasty errors. Common errors are missing alt tags and using & instead of “&”.You can use the w3c validator to validate your pages which is most common of all the validators.
Rss Link

If your website updates your content frequently then you should have arss feed .So its always good to have a rss link in the form of a icon in your page.

Analytics
Integrating some sort of analytics tool is for important for tracking the visitors and to check your conversion rates. It helps to track daily unique hits, monthly page views and most important of all browser statistics .You can see all these from the very first day of the launch of your website. Among all Google analytics is the best and most used although there are others like Clicky,Kissmetrics,statcounter to name a few.

Sitemap

Adding an xml sitemap to your root directory or wherever you feel confident helps your site get indexed by goggle easily when fresh contents are added to your site. And Google webmaster tools do have significant importance in this, adding your site here does help in getting indexed fast. You can create site map from some free sitemap generator (www.xml-sitemaps.com)
online if you have less than 500 pages .After creating the sitemap you need to upload it to your root or whichever path you want it to be
www.mydomain.com/sitemap.xml.

Defensive design
The most common overlooked part of web design is the 404 error page>But it does form a important part of defensive web design .It comes handy when a user request a page that doesn’t exist on the server. This is caused for some reasons like if the user types your url wrong or they come from a link from another website.You can quiet easily get you visitors on the track by making a 404 page that will help them to direct them to the home page or other pages of their interest

Optimize
Now for the performance of your website you need to check a few things for optimal performance of your website. You can do this by reducing http requests, enabling gzip ,using css sprites wherever needed ,optimizing image sizes, compressing JavaScript and css files, which would eventually help in fast loading of pages
And if you are using wordpress you need to install plugin that would help fast loading of pages.

Backup
If your website runs on a database, you always need to backup your database.Or you may face some problem and might regret of not having one. If you use word press for your site then you can use the word press auto backup plugin and feel comfortable

Print style sheet
If someone wants to have the print of your webpage ,and if he or she just wants the contents and not the navigation.Thats why its agood idea to have print specific stylesheets.

To point to a special CSS style sheet that computers automatically use when users print a page, simply include the following code between your tags.
<link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”print.css” media=”print” />


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    Nice article. The only thing I’d disagree about as being ‘essential’ is the fav icon :)

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    Nice article, agree with all of it except one part :) I’d argue that thje favicon isn’t essential personally.

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