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Advanced Design Tip #3: The Essential Website Checklist

Posted November 9th, 2010 in Getting Visitors, Selling Online by Joe

So it’s time. Your site is designed, the content has been added, you have your pages in place, and now it’s time to release your site to the world. But wait! Did you check everything? Here’s a little 9-point guide to help make sure you tied all the loose ends, and dotted all the I’s.

1. Favicon

Did you know that you can add a favicon to your site? What is a favicon you ask? It’s that little graphic in the URL box. This can be your logo, your picture, or just about anything.

First, you need to create an ico file. There’s a free online application that can do this for you. Go to www.favicon.cc you can create your own, or upload an image to use. Next, download the favicon to your computer. Then, upload the favicon.ico image to a ‘Multimedia’ page. Once it’s uploaded, simply paste the following code in the ‘Properties’ for each page that you want it to show on:

<link rel=”shortcut icon” href=”/f/favicon.ico” >

favicon




2. Title Tags

For search engine optimization (SEO), your title is probably the most important element – serving as location information for your users to know where they are. An important tip is to make each page have a different title tag. For example on the home page you could have: Your Site Name | Providing the Best Service – In Machine Repair.

3. Proofread

Spell check everything. Even if you have already read it through, make sure to do it again. Nothing turns a customer off or makes you look less professional than coming across misspelled words. As you review through your copy, you might find ways to draw in the user even more. Here’s a link to help you with your content writing: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9703b.html

4. Links That Work

What’s worse than having words spelled wrong? Links that don’t work. Make sure to double check your links to make sure there are no “page not found” messages, error pages, or if it’s an external link – that the page still exists! If you do have external links, make sure to check them from periodically and make sure that the pages are still there. Many blogs and news feeds change their directories.

Also, make a link look like a link. The standard colors are blue for active state, purple for visited, and red for hover, but with everything on your site matching a certain design, these colors might not look good. Try to choose colors that have some contrast between each other, so the user knows what state the link is in.

5. Functionality Check

Make sure to test everything carefully. Make sure the signup form for your newsletter works, the contact form gets sent to the right email address, and that your embedded Flash or YouTube video is working. This can create frustration for your customers, and who wants that?

6. Analytics

Analytics are an important tool for any website. It helps you track your visitors, which pages people are going to, your conversion rates, and a huge amount of other data. Your CityMax.com site is already integrated with HitsLink – a great tool to help track this information. Or if you prefer, under ‘Power Tools’ (in ‘My Pages’) you can choose to use insert Google Analytics code.

7. Sitemap

A sitemap is pretty much what the name suggests: a map of your site. Just like road maps, a site map helps search engines navigate your site. It tells the search engines where to crawl for content. Your site with CityMax.com is already integrated with a sitemap generator: just click on ‘My Pages’ and choose ‘Power Tools’ and generate your Google SiteMap.

8. Submit Your Site

Make sure to submit your site to search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. You can’t expect to be found if they don’t know about you.

And remember: getting listed doesn’t happen overnight.

You have to be patient. There’s literally millions of sites online that want to be listed in the top 3 on the first page. It’s just a matter of how you structure your content, use keywords in your copy and title tags. Having relevant content related to what the user is looking for will also help your ranking.

9. Credits Go A Long Way

People like having confidence that they are dealing with a real company or person. That’s why proving who you are is essential. Google has a nifty thing called Google Places, where you can submit your company details and location. This helps build trust with your customers, and helps increase your SEO ranking.

Well that’s it! A small checklist to help you get your CityMax.com website off to a great start. Remember, we have several more tools in the ‘Marketing’ section to help you get the most out of your site. Congratulations on the start of your online journey!

Comments

  1. Carol Anderson Says:

    I really appreciate the tips that are sent on a regular basis.

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