Website is the most vital tool for any company in the world to build its online reputation and market its products or services. It is very important to have a well presented and effective website, an asset to the business, which will pay you higher. The website gives you additional benefits over the traditional modes of advertising and marketing.
In order to benefit from the website, it is crucial that the website is made effective and all the important aspects of website designing are done correctly. For example. The website should be easily navigable, preferably with a 3-click-rule; should have a aesthetic appeal and should provide a clear message to its visitors.
Here are are the elements to check before launching your website that will help you to correct the hidden errors before you make your website live
You must test your site across various browsers to make sure that it appears almost the same and is functional on these browsers. You can perform the test on sites like NetRenderer, CrossBrowserTesting.com.
Set up a Favicon
Favicon brands your website on the tab or window of the browser that helps the visitor to identify the pages of your website.
Proofread your content
Even though you have proofread your content, do it again. Get your content proofread and spell checked by atleast 2 people. Break up large paragraphs in to smaller paragraphs and bring out some graphical representations instead of large amount of text.
Set up Web Analytics
Analytics provides you with the extensive information about your website and visitors. So by setting up the tool now, it will help with the real-time progress that the website is making. You can go for Google Analytics.
Submit your site to Webmaster Tools
Webmaster tools will help you manage your website and will give you a better insight of your site. Make sure you have checked your robots.txt and .htaccess files for the search engine bots to crawl over your site. You would need to submit your sitemap to the webmaster tools so that the tools can crawl over the site through the sitemap. The best option to go would be Google Webmaster Tools.
Test all your Forms
It does happen that you tend to forget to test the contact forms on your site while you are busy designing & developing your website. Make sure you have the entire important field to capture like name, email, telephone number, time to call and comments.
Tiles and Meta Tags
Titles are very important aspect of SEO for search engine bots and also for the visitor as it tells what the page is about. Make sure each and every page has a appropriate and relevant Title. Meta tags are not very important to the search engines but it is always good to include it since it tells search engines more about the page
Eg. <title>15 Elements to Check before Launching Your Website…</title>
Check all Links on the site
Always make sure all the links on the site are functioning and are directed to the designated page. Also make sure that you “nofollow” the external links as applicable. You can check your links at w3c link checker.
The website must aim at getting 100% W3C validation. The tool W3C Validator helps you to validate the site and point out the markup validity HTML, XHTML, SMIL, MathML etc.
Consistency in the Design
The website should have consistency in its design and layout which makes it easy for the visitors to navigate over the site.
Set up the right redirection
You must take the inventory of your old site before you remove the site from your server. Mapping of present URLs with the previous site URLs is very important. You must have the right kind of 301 or 302 redirects on your site.
Set up the right error page
In order to avoid the broken links, you must set up an appropriate 404 page with additional links on the page that would give the visitor various other relevant pages to browse. Also, if you would be removing certain pages from you’re the website (at the time replacing the old website) make sure you give them 410 error to let the bots know that you have removed the page or you give them a redirect to other relevant pages.
To ensure easy navigation, make sure you have the key links of the site at the fold that are easily navigable at the go. You can have a sidebar to accommodate the sub-links under the main link section. Don’t forget to repeat your navigation in the footer to make it easy for the visitors to find the content they are looking for on your site.
If you have a blog attached to your site, don’t forget to provide link to the RSS feed. This would make it easier for people to sign up for updates and stay connected to your site.
To learn more about different elements that play an important role in website designing and launching it in the right manner, contact me. I would be happy to help you. You can even tweet me at twitter @ashlesh_shah.