End of Year Checklist: Part 1 – Your Website
Make sure your website and marketing is ready for 2015
I recently did a presentation at one of the networking groups I am a member of. Instead of talking about Your-Web-Guys and all the boring geek stuff we do, I figured it would be better for everyone if I gave some helpful information instead. After creating and printing a paper version of this information, I thought it might make for a good blog post.
As I wrote the post and added information that I couldn't add due to the constraints of paper, I realized it aught to be more than one, so here is the first in a three part series
For Your Website
Check, don’t assume your forms work. Any form you have on your website from the contact form to the login form should be tested to make sure nothing has caused them to stop working. If you use autoresponders, make sure the information is still correct on them as well.
- Contact Info
Check all the places on your website where your contact information is. Not just on your contact us page, but also in the footers or headers. Searching your site with google is as easy as typing the keyword/phrase you want to find and then adding "site:[domainname.com]". So if I were to search my website for a phone number i would enter this into the search form "214-843-0443 site:your-web-guys.com" Here's a link using that search as an example
- Products & Services
This one might be pretty obvious, but... are all of the products and services listed still available? Are the descriptions and prices correct? Have you added new ones that are not listed?
- Dated Material
Do you have items on your site about “upcoming” events that happened months ago? If your site has a copyright date, is it current? Keep it up-to-date by having it automatically update. Remember, don't delete any pages. Search engines list web-pages not web-sites, so if you delete a page you will loose any traffic a search engine might be sending it. Best practices indicate that you should update your dated information rather than deleting it.
How old are the photos, graphics and images on your website? Have you had the same one since you started your business10 years ago? Freshen up your website by adding new images. Here is a blog post with free image sources I wrote a while ago.
- Dead Links
URLs can change, so make sure that all of your links are valid. You don’t want to send your website visitors (or search engine bots) to dead ends. There are many link checking websites out there that are totally free. Just google it
Make sure your favicon is current and looks good on all devices/browsers. Different browsers can require different favicon files/formats. Always make sure your favicon is an .ico file - it can even be animated! There are several free favicon generators out there too... again, just google it
- Mobile/Tablet View & Cross Browser Compatibility
Take a look at your website on all the different devices on which your customers might view it. These include, big screen TV’s, large and small desktop monitors, large and small tablets, large and small cell phones, and even smart watches. There are also dierent versions of each browser that are still in use. To make it even more confusing there are different browser versions for different operating systems too. Browserstack.com is a great tool for all of the above.
- Site Backups
Is your website backed up? Is it backed up as often as you update it? Is it backed up on a different machine/location than your host? Do you have a hardcopy? Make sure your email and other mission critical data are backed up while you are at it too. It is important that these backups be done automatically in the future if they are not being done now. Speak with your hosting provider to see what solutions they can provide you. Even if your backups are being done automatically on a different machine, you should save a hard copy of your website from time to time. Download the zip file and save it to a cd-rom disc and keep it in a safe place. That's your dooms day disc in case everything else fails.
What do you think?
Did i leave anything important out regarding your website? Do you disagree with any of the items above. I would love to know. Leave a comment, we may include your opinion in future posts.
Make sure you check back tomorrow for Part 2 - Your Marketing
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