Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie

Launching a website is always an exciting time. You’ve put in all the hard work – now you get to show it off to the world and start receiving visitors.

However, it can also be a stressful time. How do you know that you haven’t forgotten something important? What if a page or link breaks the first time a new customer tries to buy a product? 

We’ve been involved in the design and build of many sites over the years and there’s one thing we always do. We don’t ignore the list! We understand that every website is different for every client but the basics remain the same. Having a checklist as a point of reference instils confidence in clients and reassures them that nothing will be missed. 

We wanted to call it our top ten tips. But we got carried away and ended up with rather more than that! 

Nail the homepage

Your homepage is your first impression. Make sure you get it right. It’s the start of the customers journey and it needs to entice them to explore your site further. 

Hello World!

Well, hello but remember to delete your dummy content. You don’t want any test content left on your site once you’re live, it’s just confusing for customers. 

Permanent permalinks

Work out what permalinks work for your site at the start. They control the structure of your sites’s URLs so changing them later will then mean all the URLs on your site change. 

Address admin

Make sure any email addresses for contacting you, are working and going to the correct contact(s). If a customer sends an email but it disappears into the ether, they’ll assume you’re not responding and go elsewhere. 

Time travel 

Depending on what type of site is being built, it’s important to ensure you’re working in the right time zone. Sounds simple but if you’re trying to schedule posts you want them live at the best time to maximise impact. 

Search Engines searching

Any good developer will disable search engine indexing while your site is in development. What you definitely don’t want is Google indexing your development site. Just remember to enable it again once you’re live! 

Favicon focus

Your favicon is what appears next to your site title in visitors’ browser tabs, bookmarks, etc. It will also be used as the “app” icon if someone saves your site to their mobile device. Keep it simple. A single letter or symbol, will help make it legible even on a user’s browser tab. 

Forms form

Like the contact email addresses, if you have forms on your site, you’ll want to make sure that they are working as expected:

  • Does it accept new submissions?
  • Is there a custom confirmation message set up?
  • Have you configured notification emails for new submissions? Do those notifications go to the correct email address(es)?

Send a few test form submissions to really make sure your forms are working properly.

Error expert

We recently wrote about creating a great 404 page. If you missed it you can find it here. A 404 is the page your server displays when it can’t find the URL requested by the user. It used to be the stuff of nightmares. But managed properly it lets visitors find what they need and keep them on your site. 

Calling security

Security has never been so important. Every website needs an SSL certificate to boost security and user trust. Have you got yours?

SEO Strategy

Having your website looking great is only 50% of the work. People need to be able to find it. SEO and meta descriptions play a huge part in this. Key pages such as your homepage need extra attention from an SEO perspective. 

Analytics a go-go

Measuring site performance helps you understand what parts of the site are more successful and what your visitors are doing when they are on your site. You can then tailor content and information according to customer behaviour. 

Submitting your sitemap

Your XML sitemap is a list of all the content on your site in a special format. It helps search engines like Google discover all of your content and include it in the search results. 

Legal eagle

Depending on the nature of your site, different legal pages will be required. However, generally, all websites must have a privacy policy. Make sure it’s written, accurate and accessible. 

Perfecting Performance

How quickly your site loads will affect everything from user experience to SEO, conversion rates, and more. For that reason, it’s an essential ingredient if you want your website to be successful.

In general, you want your site’s main content to be visible within 2.5 seconds.  

Testing, testing… keep testing! 

The final step pre-launch is the testing phase. Ironing out any small wrinkles and ensuring all forms, links and images are present and correct. Test the site on different devices to ensure it works on both mobile and desktop. Then just test it all again for good measure!  

We understand the ins and outs of designing and building a website and we will work with you every step of the way so you can launch your site with confidence. Get in touch to have a chat.