Before Launching Your Website, Add These to Your Checklist, Pt.3

Today we’re bringing you the final installment of the detailed checks you should complete before launching a website, a helpful list based on an article by Smashing Magazine. The last part in the series includes add-on suggestions, a smart way to honor the 404 page, tips on how to create optimal performance, backing up your hard work and a convenient way for your visitors to take a page from web to printed page.

11. Sitemap – Sitemaps are essential for SEO. Basically, a Sitemap is a protocol that tells search engines about each URL within your site. Adding a Sitemap to your root directory enables major search engines to index your site. A sitemap.xml file “points crawlers to all the pages on your website,” says Smashing.

12. Defensive Design – Anyone who has ever searched the internet has encountered the dreaded 404 page. Sometimes they’re black and white and to the point, other times they’re a little more helpful, providing some direction as to where the user can go to get the information they were looking for or how to inform the webmaster of the error. You want to be the latter. Smashing suggests, “Get your users back on track by providing a useful 404 page that directs them to the home page or suggests other pages they may be interested in.”

13. Optimize – It’s important to continually configure your site for optimal performance, but this can also be done quite easily prior to launch. “Reducing HTTP requests, using CSS sprites wherever possible, optimizing images for the Web, compressing JavaScript and CSS files and so on can all help load your pages more quickly and use less server resources,” advises Smashing.

14. Back Up – If you’re like one of the millions of college students who were thankful for Word AutoRecovery come term paper time, you should consider extending the same courtesy to yourself by establishing a back-up strategy for your site. Smashing says, “If you use WordPress, install WordPress Database Backup, which you can set up to automatically email you backups.”

15. Print Style Sheet – When a user wants to print information from a page on your website, they likely don’t want the navigation links or extra graphics along with it. This is why you should create a print-specific style sheet. Smashing notes that “certain CSS elements, such as floats, don’t come out well when printed. To point to a special CSS style sheet that computers automatically use when users print a page, simply include the following code between your <head> tags.”

<link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”print.css” media=”print” />

Blue Interactive Agency is an interactive marketing company in Fort Lauderdale, offering web design, graphic design, SEO copywriting and every other element of an online marketing agency. We make sure to thoroughly check the functionality, appearance and content of each client’s website well before launch. For more information, please call us today at 954-779-2801.