Guest Bloggers One Response

6 Things to Check before Publishing Your Website

Article written by Steve Benjamins, founder of Site Builder Report

Let’s say you’ve been working non-stop on your company’s new website, and surprise! Your boss wants it published today! You think everything is ready to be published, but it’s 5 o’clock, you’re tired and having a hard time concentrating.

You hover your mouse over the publish button and hesitate. It’s a scary button. What if you missed something?

Well, you’ve stumbled across to the right article. We’ve put together a last-minute publishing checklist full of items you might want to double check before you publish your website.

Check: Forms
Try playing make-believe – pretend you’re a first time visitor who knows nothing about your site and try filling out its forms. Pay attention to how the forms feel – are the correct fields set as “required?” Do their labels make sense? Is it confusing in any way?

Next, try submitting the form to make sure that submissions are being sent to the appropriate email address, and that the emails are successfully received – some email providers have sensitive spam filters.

Forms are often used for lead generation, and one of the most critical parts of a website. After all, your website is meant to drive more leads and business. Therefore, making sure your forms are in working order is essential.

Site publishing - Contact Us
Double Check: Proofread
This may be a given, but don’t gloss over it. Make sure you take some time to proofread your website. A great way of doing this is reading the content out loud to hear to how it sounds. We guarantee you will be surprised at what you hear.

Tip: If spelling isn’t your strong suit, try installing a browser add-on like Spellchecker to help point out spelling errors as well.

Double Check: Favicon
A favicon is the icon for your website. It sits by your title in your browser bar:

Site publishing - favicon
Favicons are small: 16×16 pixels. Luckily there are some great resources for making them: Favicon.cc or Favicon Generator.

Once you have your favicon created, you can upload it to Yola by entering Sitebuilder, and clicking Site > Site Properties > Favicon.

Check: Page Title
Page titles appear in search engines and at the top of browser windows:

Site publishing - Site title
Important: page titles are not generated from your content. A page title has to be set separately in your page metadata. You can add your page title with Yola by entering Sitebuilder and clicking  Page > Metadata.

When it comes to search engines, page titles are important because they describe the content of your page. That being said, if you’re targeting a specific keyword be sure to include it in your page title, but don’t go overboard. Try to keep a page title under 50 characters.

Check: Is Google Analytics setup?
While Yola does include website analytics, you will want something a bit more in-depth. Google Analytics is a free website statistic service from Google, and has become the industry standard.

Site publishing - analytics
Google Analytics allows you to see many things, including search keywords visitors use to find your site, where in the world visitors are located, how long visitors stay on your site, what pages are most popular and a whole lot more.

It’s also very easy to setup Google Analytics with Yola, just add your tracking code into Sitebuilder by clicking Site > Tracking > Google Analytics.

Check: Image Alternative Text
If you’re serious about accessibility and search engine optimization you should consider adding alternative tags to your image making it easier for search engines to understand your images.

Adding alternative text to images with Yola is simple, while editing your site just click “Edit” on your images and add the alternative text.

Site publishing - Alt text
When adding alternative text tags, be sure to keep them short, one-sentence descriptions of the image.

Hopefully, these quick tips are enough to make you feel confident enough to publish next time you’re hovering over that button. Remember though, there’s only so much preparation you can do – sometimes, you just need to put it out there and see what happens, so don’t be afraid to go for it!

Steve is the founder of Site Builder Report. Before starting Site Builder Report he was a Toronto web designer with over 10 years experience planning, designing and developing websites.