Website Launch Checklist

25 04 2009

So you’ve spent weeks or even months focused on web development and your website is finally ready to launch. This is an exciting step in the web development process but before you hit the upload button and share your site with the world, make sure it is ready.

Spell Check Your Website

Because of the nature of web design software and how it works, few offer a solid spell check feature. That being the case, misspelled words will find there way onto your site more often then you think. The poses a few problems, the first of which being the fact that misspelled words portray a negative image for your site and your business. The second reason spell checking is of great importance is search engine optimization. Your website’s content will have a more difficult time appearing in high ranking search results if the keywords involved are spelled incorrectly.

Check for Broken Links

Nothing can be more frustrating than finding out that a particular page or piece of content you created has been passed over because you linked to it incorrectly. Whenever possible, manually inspect all of your links. If your site has a great deal of pages however, this might not be possible. If this is the case, most web development software comes packaged with link analyzer capability.

Check for Cross Browser Computability

In a perfect world the hard work you put into designing the look and feel of your website would translate perfectly to everyone who viewed it. Unfortunately, not everyone on the internet uses the same web browsers or has the same screen resolution and as a result what might look perfect on your screen could be a jumbled mess on a different computer. For more information and resources on the subject I highly recomend 10 Helpful Resources for Cross Browser Testing.

Make Sure Each Page Has a Title

From a purely user friendly standpoint, web pages with out titles can be incredibly frustrating while trying to navigate a website. You want visitors to be able to always know where they are without needing to track exact URLs as they browse. Further more, as far as SEO is concerned, the title is the most important aspect for both keywords and search result appearance.

Hopefully this will get you started at taking a deeper look at your website before you share it with the world. As always, I welcome comments and hope that those who read this post can contribute there own thoughts


Drawling a line between cuteness and content

25 04 2009

Lately I’ve noticed a ton of new flashy, graphic driven, active UI, and Java heavy web sites making their way onto my Stumbles and in other people’s blogs and Twitters. Initially I am very impressed because after years of doing web development my self I know how time consuming and complex writing that code can be. Then my thoughts digress to whether or not it is effective to have such elaborate content and user experiences. Where do you draw the line between maintaining SEO and trying to impress visitors once they are at your site.

Like I have mentioned before, the internet was created and still thrives today on it’s ability to exchange information between it’s users. What does an impressive 10 second long splash landing page accomplish in the way of information exchange besides “This developer is creative but has too much free time and assumes you do to”?

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the creativity behind such sites and respect the talent it takes to create them. Yet, I can’t help but see some of it as a waste when you consider how hard SEO work can be to draw people to your site in the first place. After all, it is text content that drives SEO. I guess what it boils down to is keeping in mind what exactly your site’s purpose is and what stage it is in:

  • If your site is new and you need to make as many people aware of it as possible, don’t waste your time with the glitz. It will only lead to wasted effort and disappointment when you lack organic traffic. Focus on cleanliness, simplicity, and let your text content do the important work.
  • On the other hand, if your site is well established and has loyal visitors, sprucing up the end user experience might increase loyalty and decrease the chance of losing those loyal visitors to boredom. Be careful however because people like familiarity and too much sudden change can be a turn off. (Take for example what initially happens to Facebook every time they change your home screen. Grrrrr….)