In the excitement and rush to launch your new website it can be all too easy to overlook some very important things. Drawing on our extensive web design experience, we’ve compiled a simple at-a-glace checklist to help you optimise your website before you go live.

Pre-launch checks

6. Performance

It’s a simple fact, a faster site gets better rankings. It also reduces frustrating load times and therefore the risk of losing browsers. Services such as Google Page Speed can help you check the load time of your pages. Compressing any images or keeping them as small as possible is also a good way of improving load times.

7. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO means making your site as visible as possible to the search engines in order to get your site ranked as high as possible in the listings.

Titles and headlines – page titles and main headlines play a key role in this. You should think of them in terms of what your users will type in as their search and also to give them an immediate insight into what they can expect to find. Users will click on what they think is most relevant to their search, so put yourself in their shoes and adjust your key messages accordingly.

Keywords – good use of keywords is vital. Make sure your headlines and text include a good density of your keywords in both their singular and plural forms. But keep it natural so that it doesn’t look forced.

Image Alt-Tags – use short descriptions to make sure your site includes relevant and descriptive alt-tags.

Descriptive URLs – check the format (user/search engine friendliness) of your URLs. Your website’s URL enables search engines and users to quickly view the content of your pages.

8. Social Media Sharing Tools

Encourage your site visitors to help promote your business through social media. So before launching your website, you need to secure the name of your site on the major social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Pinterest. Also make sure you embed social media sharing tools into your site.

9. Legal considerations

Make absolutely sure that your website complies with all relevant legal considerations that pertain to your online business. Issues can include:

Data Protection and Privacy – if you capture or distribute data or use cookies, then you need a simple, clear policy. You will need to display a Data Protection statement on the relevant pages on your site together with contact details for further information.

Copyright – make sure the copyright ownership is clearly stated.

Terms and conditions – these need to be provided if you are offering a service or providing e-commerce facilities.

Company Registration Information – limited/registered companies are legally obliged to clearly display the registered company name, number and address on your website.

10. Final Tips

Web Analytics – these track visits to your site and gather valuable information about daily hits, monthly page views, time spent on site etc. The statistics not only show how well your website is performing, but can also show you where improvements can be made – for example, if key pages aren’t holding users’ attention. Google Analytics is one of the most common tracking services and you can sign up free!

Favicon – when your website is open in a user’s tab or window, a favicon is a device that brands the tab or window and is also saved with the bookmark, allowing your web pages to be quickly and easily recognised. Try saving favicon.ico in your root directory as some browsers will automatically pick up the favicon from there.

11. Tell the world!

Promote, promote, promote! Use emails, tweets, Facebook updates, friends and anyone and anything to announce the launch of your new website and drive more traffic to your site – this in itself will help in the rankings battle.

Remember, from now on your business has a 24/7 presence in the world – how good is that!