10 things you should do just before your website goes live

There’s nothing quite like launching a new website. It could be days, weeks or months in the making. Hours may have been spent combing through each and every word, perfecting the message sent across to visitors. Even more time might have been spent playing around with colours and image placement. You may think you’re ready to go live, but are you really?

Any webmaster knows there are a lot of little details that need to be looked at when putting a website up, including everything from checking the links to onpage SEO. With so much on your plate, it is easy to forget a thing or two, so here is a handy list that can be used as a reminder.

1. Create a Favicon.ico

A favicon rounds out a website’s image, providing the tiny icon that can be found in your saved bookmarks, and at the top of browser tabs. Imagine the little “t” for Twitter and the “f” for Facebook. You can create a favicon of your own, and this tutorial will tell you how to do it.

2. Research your website’s colours.

You may not realise how much your website’s colours can impact a Web visitor’s experience until you read the Choosing Website Colours guide. There is definitely more to consider in regards to your palette when you think about your target audience and the cultural meanings of colours.

3. Check your links.

Broken links are links that take you nowhere. The page can either not be found, or it never existed in the first place. The most common cause of broken links is a simple misspell, but sometimes websites switch things around, or simply close down. You should use the W3C Link Checker from time to time to make sure your links are active.

4. Validate your website.

Beyond checking links, it is imperative to check your website’s code and CSS. Simply access the W3C website and type in your URL to see if your site is up to standards.

5. Check your website in all browsers.

The joys of a multi-browser world: what looks good in one, might look completely different in another. It would be a shame to come to this realisation just before launch, so it is always best to check your work from the beginning. You can read more in this article about browser compatibility.

6. Create a robots.txt file.

A robots.txt file is located on your server and tells the search engine bots which pages to crawl (and index), and which to avoid. So, if you want non-pertinent webpages, like login pages ignored by the search engines, then this is the place to specify that. Use this guide to create a robots.txt file of your own.

7. Prevent image theft with watermarks.

If you spent a lot of time and effort getting the perfect images put together for your website, you might want to protect those images by using watermarks. In this way, if people do decided to steal your images, at least it has your watermark on it for some free marketing.

8. Set up your forms to use CAPTCHA.

Spam emails and comments that result from your website can be a huge time drain, and there’s nothing more frustrating than not being productive with your work. CAPTCHA helps to make sure the person leaving the comment or sending the email is not actually a spam bot. Read more about CAPTCHA in the article, Beating Website Spam.

9. Check your onpage SEO.

When it comes to SEO, the basics that should be addressed from the beginning include the title, meta description and meta keywords to name a few. However, SEO is not a one-time activity; the process of optimising a website for the search engines is ongoing. Get some tips and ideas in our DIY SEO Hints and Tips page.

10. Make sure you’re not driving website visitors away.

A while back, we produced a humourous blog posts about all the ways you can make visitors never want to return. Although satirical, it is always a good idea to double check and make sure you’re not committing any of these website crimes.

Get these right, and you’ll be 10 steps closer to a successful website launch. Is there anything we missed that would be helpful? Leave us a comment!

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