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7 things to check before your website goes live

2nd December 2015

When having a new website developed it's important to ensure you are going live with a finished product. While a site may look ready upon initial inspection, there are a number of things you and your colleagues should look into before pressing the big red button.

Copy

Your content is extremely important. In the first instance, make sure you've got no spelling or grammatical errors. To ensure none slip through the net, ask at least one other colleague to check through the same content for errors.

Try to avoid having pages public with messages like "coming soon" or completely empty, and never have any "lorem ipsum" filler text still on the site. It's better to deactivate the pages and fill them out when you have time, however ensure that you have your main pages ready on your go live date. You should make sure your home page, about page, contact page and service(s) page(s) are ready at the very least.

Search engine optimisation

Search engine optimisation, also known as SEO, is the process of improving your website content and structure in order to increase your online visibility via organic search results.

In general, the more your website is optimised for search engines, the higher it will rank, therefore bringing more customers to your website through services such as Google, Bing and Yahoo!.

SEO is a form of Internet marketing. Search engine optimisation considers how search engines like Google operate, what people search for, the actual search terms and/or keywords typed into the search engine and which search engines are preferred by their target audience.

Optimizing a website may involve editing the content, HTML or even promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links.

It's important to spend time making sure that your SEO is up to scratch when your website goes live. At the very least ensure you have the basics completed - alt tags on all images and links, header tags on all pages where possible, tailored keywords and optimised content, as well as responsive templates.

Contact information

Ensure that you have all of your contact details available to the public at all times. Check all areas of the website where these occur - likely on the contact us page and in the footer or header area of your site.

The most common contact details to have are a phone number, contact e-mail address, postal address and social media links.

Images

Images are one of the most important features of any website – it’s photos of your product, team, location and offering that really sell you as an individual, business or organisation, so it’s imperative that these images are high quality and will have a positive impact on the website visitor.

Make sure you check all of your images before going live - this includes the sizes, quality and relevance.

Responsive templates

Responsive templates allow for your website to adapt to be viewed on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. Responsiveness is an incredibly important feature for a modern website because increasingly users want to use mobile devices to view your website while they are sat on the sofa at home.

When responsive templates are implemented, it will allow users who view your site on different sized devices to have a standardised viewing experience.

This also has an effect on your mobile SEO now with Google's latest algorithm update. Websites that are not mobile responsive will rank lower in mobile searches.

Google Analytics integration

Google Analytics is the tool that allows webmasters to track visitors who come to their website and what they do while they are there. Google Analytics is the most popular tool of it's kind, so it's important to ensure this is implemented before going live.

This will prove important for SEO as you will be able to see any trends happening on your website, bounce rates, drop offs, the way in which visitors move around your site and more - this information will provide you with the knowledge to improve your site for the visitor as time goes on.

Favicon

The favicon has to technical benefit and does not help your search rankings, but it does add a little extra touch and quality to your website. The favicon is the little icon that is displayed in your browser tabs and favourites toolbar.

Typically a 16x16 pixel image, it lends itself to your company branding and adds an extra element of professionalism to your website, making it appear more complete.