What to remember before publishing a new website?
Publishing a new website is, contrary to appearances, a quite complex process that requires a precise plan. To avoid costly problems, it is worth paying attention to the most commonly made mistakes. What risks should you mitigate at the beginning of the process? Where can you expect the biggest challenges? To provide you with practical assistance, we have prepared a list of the most important areas to check before giving final approval for publication.
- Confirm that the website is mobile-friendly and responsive to different screen sizes. To make it easier, you can use freely available tools such as I Love Adaptive. By entering the website's address, you can easily check its responsiveness on various devices like smartphones, tablets, or computers.
- Test the forms on the website. Use different browser versions and make sure they function correctly. The main goal of every website is conversion, in the form of capturing data or making a purchase. Properly functioning forms are absolutely crucial for your business, so it's worth regularly checking that everything is working well.
- Conduct security tests. It is advisable to commission a security audit to a company specializing in IT security. If your system stores personal data, make sure there are no vulnerabilities that could lead to leaks.
- Check if your website is optimized for organic positioning in Google search engine. Even if you don't plan on regular SEO optimization, it's important to take care of the basics such as using H1 headers, appropriate meta titles and descriptions for each page. Don't forget to provide a sitemap file and allow indexing of pages by Google robots.
- Test the page loading speed, for example, using the free tool called Google PageSpeed Insights. The speed of your website is critical for generating quality traffic. Moreover, Google algorithms take into account the website's performance in the ranking process – the faster the website, the higher its position in search results. Aim for results of at least 85+ on computers and 75+ on mobile devices.
- Ensure that the website is properly integrated with external systems such as CRM. Confirm that data is synchronized and saved correctly. If your website uses a payment gateway, make sure it functions properly. Integration means that the proper functioning of the website depends on an external system, so verifying this area is crucial.
- Confirm that the website has the appropriate privacy policies and that they are visible to users. Review and check if all legal requirements, such as terms of service and copyright information, are met.
- Verify if the planned server infrastructure is adequate for the estimated website traffic. Perform load tests that allow you to accurately assess how the website behaves under different levels of traffic. If the results are unsatisfactory, it may be necessary to optimize the code or increase server resources where the website is hosted.
- Configure analytical tools to monitor website performance and user behavior. The most popular traffic analysis tools are Google Analytics and Hotjar. To configure the chosen tools, consider using Google Tag Manager (GTM), which allows for making modifications independently in the future without involving developers.
- Ensure that the website uses a high-quality SMTP server for transactional and operational mailing. Choosing the right provider and proper server configuration are crucial to prevent messages generated by your website from being marked as spam.
- Consider whether you have prepared the appropriate error handling and troubleshooting procedures. Users will submit inquiries, and the response time to address their issues will significantly impact their satisfaction.
- Check if the website's content is accessible to users with disabilities, including those using assistive technologies such as screen readers. You can conduct a general accessibility audit of the website using free tools like WAVE. If the published website needs to comply with WCAG standards, consider commissioning an accessibility audit by a specialist.
- If publishing a new website involves replacing the previous one, make sure to prepare and implement a redirection map. It is highly likely that the URL structure on the previous website was different from the new one. After publication, the old addresses will still be indexed by Google. To avoid redirecting users to non-existent pages (404 error), determine where the old URLs should redirect within the new structure. Also, check if your website has implemented a 404 page.
- Perform HTML and CSS code tests using the W3C validator. This free online tool allows you to check the correctness of the code according to the widely accepted standards set by The World Wide Web Consortium. There are numerous benefits to implementing valid code according to the validator, including SEO optimization, improved user experience (UX), correct display across browsers, and lower code maintenance costs.