Whether you build it yourself, use the services of a web developer, or you do a bit of both, your new business website will be a major part of your company’s web presence. That’s why it’s important to make sure the site fires on all cylinders before it goes live. To help make the launch a success, below are seven website elements to check before you reveal your site to the world.
You can test links manually, use link checker software, or have your developer do the testing. Just be sure links are active and connect to the right destinations.
Because Google’s ranking algorithm gives sites with fully functional links authority in search results, bad links could hurt your website’s search engine results position (SERP). If links to other sites, links to internal pages, image links, and links to designs made with cascading style sheets (CSS) connect properly, you should be in good shape in the hyperlink department.
If you need information on how your link strategy affects your site in Google, speak with a Premier Google Partner, such as Los Angeles-based web design and SEO firm, Coalition Technologies.
- Site Content
Check to see if the content on your site loads properly and is error-free. In addition to examining written content, review infographics, videos, images, and other content that populates the site. Great content engages visitors and encourages them to take action (leaving contact information or buying a product, for example) after they arrive.
During the editing process, it’s good to have a second set of eyes check the work. If you’ve partnered with a web developer that has a team of editors, take advantage of their services.
- Contact Page
There are three things to ask when you review the contact page. First, do you provide all the information someone might use to reach you? Second, are fields in the contact form properly identified? Third, does the submitted form transmit to your inbox properly?
When listing phone numbers, anticipate the needs of your audience. If you have a number for sales and another line for technical support, list both to help visitors get information fast. The same goes for email addresses for different business departments. It’s also a good idea to list your physical address. It helps give your business a tangible presence, and, if you sell in-store, it eliminates the need to search for your address elsewhere.
- Payment Gateway
At this point, you probably have shopping cart software to support payments through your merchant service account. Before going live, be sure gateway settings use the right
application programming interface (API) login. Also, confirm that settings for gateway configuration are set properly. Third, make sure the settings aren’t in test mode.
If you’re an online retailer, your site’s payment gateway is a revenue conduit. Preparing the gateway to flawlessly capture payment information lets you sell products and services the moment you go live.
- Mobile Optimization
We won’t focus on the value of optimizing your site for mobile consumption to enhance customer engagement; you already know about it. The key is to be sure your “mobile site” transmits properly to the mobile devices of your target audience, which you can do by testing the site on the proper phones and tablets.
Having your mobile site ready to roll from day one does more than help capture traffic. Google gives sites that are optimized for mobile greater authority than sites that aren’t. This is good new for the SERP of your new website.
- Social Media
SocialMediaToday reports that “74% of consumers cited rely on social media to make a buying decision.” If you’re in retail, this statistic shows the importance of using social media icons that link to your social pages.
Icons should be positioned for optimal access in relation to navigation style of your site. For this, the advice of an experienced web developer is invaluable. As you schedule the launch of your site, try to set aside time to announce the launch through your social channels.
- Site Security
You wouldn’t open a physical location without property security in place; the same applies to your website. Perform a Payment Card Industry (PCI) Compliance test on your web-based payment application. Then, run the same test on the server that supports the app. In addition, check your WordPress app for weaknesses that the OWASP top 10 security test identifies. Apply standards from the test to other applications that connect with your site, too.
Evaluating site security can be tedious, especially when firewalls have numerous protocols. Using third party website security testing software is one way to simplify the task. If you’re working with a developer, they can perform security testing, and provide you with a report.
Building a new website can be a strategic move for improving business. To make sure your site is ready for business the second it goes live, reviewing the major elements of the website for quality and functionality is essential.
Because websites use different IT resources and can have needs that are industry-specific, it’s always a good idea to have an experienced developer check for potential glitches and oversights before a site receives its first visitor.