Website Design – 10 Important Things to Check Before Your Site Goes "Live"

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Many website owners fail to check their website before it goes online. It may look fine on your computer but have you checked how it looks on other computers using different browsers and operating systems? This may cause you to lose visitors because they could not view your website clearly what had trouble finding the information.

10 important things to check before your site goes "live."

1. Site speed

Your website should load within a few seconds. If not impatient users will click Else to find the same information. Google "site speed" to find websites that check the loading time of your web pages.

2. Browser compatibility

Check your sites appearance in all major browsers eg Internet Explorer 6, 7, 8, Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera. Sometimes the HTML and CSS code your web designer uses to build the website will not render well across all browsers.

3. Screen resolution

Not all your website visitors use the same size monitor. Most new computers use a screen resolution size of at least 1024×788 pixels. Many use larger screen sizes. If your site is designed with a flexible width so that stretches to fill the screen according to its size, your website will get bent out of shape. It's better to design your web pages using a specific width of approximately 1000 pixels.

4. Broken links

Broken links prevent the search engines spiders from finding your content on the web. If you do click on a broken link the web page will display the dreaded 404 error page and your visitor will click away to your competitor's site. If you use an incorrect path for your file image it will also appear as a broken link. Run your web pages through a link checker before uploading them to the server.

5. Validate HTML

HTML errors can slow the loading of your pages because the search engine spiders can not move through them so quickly. HTML errors will also cause your site to render incorrectly in different browsers.

6. Place CSS and JavaScript in external files

If you include the full CSS and JavaScript code within your web page it will make it heavier and slower its loading time. Instead place your CSS code in an external style sheet (eg style.css) and attach it to your web page. Do the same for your JavaScript code by creating an external file (myfile.js) and uploading it to the server.

7. Navigation

Ask a relative or friend to navigate through your website. Look over their shoulder to observe any difficulties that they're having access to your internal pages or finding your products. It makes no sense to have a beautiful website that is not very user-friendly.

8. Meta-tags

Check that you have created unique title and description meta tags for each web page. The title tag is the most important tag for search engines to find your web pages. The description meta-tag is what users will see described about your site in the search engines under the title.

9. Web copy

Read through the web copy on all of your pages to check for spelling and grammar mistakes. Errors will cause your visitors to leave and go elsewhere. Try to place yourself in the shoes of your visitor when reading through your content so that it makes sense to them. If you have an e-commerce website make sure the purchasing and checkout process goes smoothly.

10. Ask for a review

Ask several people to review your website before it goes "live." Other people often discover errors that you could not find. Your website is a project in process. Continue to find ways to improve your website so your visitors will want to keep coming back.

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