So you’ve just paid big bucks for your newly designed web site but don’t know if you received everything you paid for. What you assumed would be included may not be present. This could affect the long term performance of your site.
Read through this 16 point checklist for an evaluation of your new or current web site.
Make sure it’s a professional looking design, that loads fast (displays in a few seconds on a cable connection) and is easily navigable. If it contains lots of videos and images the loading time will be slow.
Make sure your home page links to all your internal pages and your internal pages link back to your home page. If you have pages that are several directories from the home page create a site map that contains descriptions and links to your whole site.
4. Meta Tags
The title tag is the most important. Place your most important keyword at the beginning.
Keep your title no more than 6 to 10 words long. Your description meta tag should be no more than 200 characters long. Keep your keywords meta-tag length between 200 and 500 characters. Use different meta tags on every page of your site.
5. Header tags (H1, H2, H3)
These are used for headings and sub headings. The H1 heading tag should include your main keyword. It will help your site’s rankings.
6. Image tags
Name your image files based on what the image. Include alt tags in the description of your images. Search engines can read text but not images.
7. HTML validation
HTML errors may prevent search engines from spidering your pages and they may not render well across all the major browsers. Make sure your HTML validates by visiting:
8. Check cross browser compatibility
Check if your web site displays correctly in all major browsers. Internet Explorer and Firefox are the main browsers however also check Chrome, Opera and Safari.
9. Check screen resolution
Most computers these days use a screen resolution of 1024×768 pixels or above. If the designer used percentages for creating tables your web site may stretch to accommodate a large screen and look weird. Ask friends with different screen sizes to view your site.
10. Check broken links
Broken links don’t get indexed by the search engines and will turn off your visitors because they received the dreaded 404 error page which means “page not found”.
11. Redirect non-www web pages
If you can access your web site with domain.com, http://domain.com and www.domain.com it means the search engines see 3 different web sites. Google “301 redirect” to read how to redirect these different URLs to one URL.
12. Link popularity
The number and quality of links pointing to your site determines your rankings in the search engines. Use Yahoo Site Explorer to check how many links you have pointing to your site.
13. Site Map
A site map page displays the links of all of your pages making it easy for visitors to navigate your web site and search engines to index it. Also create a Google Site Map to help Google find your pages.
14. Web Copy
Weave your main keyword phrases into the content of your web pages. Search engines find your content based on the keywords you use.
15. RSS feed
People like to keep up to date with content from multiple web sites. Having an RSS feed on your site means visitors can easily keep track of new content plus your RSS file can be submitted to RSS directories thus bringing you more visitors.
16. Monitor your web statistics and rankings
Most web hosting services include web statistics with your account. This enables you to view the number of visitors, where they came from and what keywords they used to find your site.
If you don’t have access to web statistics create a Google Analytics account.
Check your rankings by visiting Alexa.com. It will show your traffic statistics in relation to other web sites. If it’s a new site it probably won’t appear in the search engines yet.
By following this 16 point checklist you can evaluate whether your web site has all the correct components and will perform well for years to come.
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