After building your website and uploading the content you have painstakingly written, it is now time to publish it. Although one can publish his or her site within minutes, it is important to perform one final check and optimize areas where needed. Yes, minor issues like missing meta descriptions won’t break your website, but it may affect your Google rankings. So, pay attention to these little details as they tend to go a long way in determining your site’s performance. To help you get it right from the get-go, below is a simple checklist for publishing new websites:
Test Your Website Across Different Browsers
Here’s what you need to do for this step:
- Access the website via the most common browsers in your field
- Analyze the most popular web clients in Google Analytics (or any web statistics software of your choice)
- Fix all glaring errors
Today, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox continue to be the favorite web browsers among end-users and web developers alike. Although many individuals use these browsers, one should not neglect pioneering browsers like Internet Explorer. There are people who still use them.
Perform On-Page SEO
Oftentimes, it is more convenient to optimize the new website for search engines before publishing. Think of this as making a good first impression to your “new bosses”: Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Below is a list of things you might want to do first:
- Check that your RSS feeds have noindex robots tag
- If your perma settings have trailing slashes (/), make sure that they are present in your internal links
- Check that the “Allow search engines to index this site” setting is enabled for WordPress sites
- Add the sitemap URL to your robots.txt file
- Use concise page titles for all of your pages (don’t overload them with keywords)
- Use canonical links for all your pages
- Include “noindex,follow” robots tags for pages with non-unique content
- Fill out the meta description field for each web page
- Ensure that all images have ALT attributes (they should be brief and natural descriptions of the images)
- Avoid using H1 elements more than once on each page
Redirect Old Image Paths, Links, and URLs
If the new website happens to be the update of an existing one, it is important to redirect old pages to the latest URLs. Oftentimes, URLs of a new site structure are completely different from the older ones. To avoid wasting precious time and missing important deadlines, you may focus on redirecting the pages with the most incoming links, as well as pages with the most search traffic. To pass the link juice to newer URLs, one might need to access the .htaccess file and add the necessary 301 redirects. Speaking of links and URLs, one must test all outgoing links to ensure that they do not lead to broken pages (the dreaded 404s).
In many cases, websites are built on a temporary location, so it’s possible that some images point back to the test location. For example, https://www.yourwebsite.com/leimage.jpg (correct) | https://www.yourwebsite.com/testfolder/leimage.jpg (test site, wrong). Make sure that you edit all these image paths because after the test folder is deleted, your visitors will encounter a lot of broken image links. That’s not going to leave a good impression.
After the new website has been successfully launched, it is important that it remains well-maintained. If you don’t have the time but have the budget, it might be useful to consider hiring a professional website maintenance team.