To website developers, like us, launching an online presence is often not a big deal. We do it all the time for our clients. Sometimes, the act becomes so “automatic” that we forget how big of a deal it is for the client. From where clients stand, launching a website is, indeed, a very big deal. It is especially a big deal to those who are embarking their online presence for the very first time. To them, the act is not “automatic” but rather “ritualistic”. Think of this process as a young lady celebrating her sweet 16, with all the candles and the gowns. And we’re “catering” the affair. It may seem simple website creators but to the client, its a major step toward business development. We need to be reminded, from time to time, of the significance of the process. Not because it’ll affect our bottom line. This is more about being better at what we do–every single time a Web development project comes our way. So as you sit your cramped cubicle or living it up in your swanky studio space, consider how we are the so-called “caterers” of every sweet 16 party. Here are the five important things that slip our minds when launching a website.
1. The Browser Issue
Cross-browser testing can be a headache. Sometimes, most of us don’t bother doing it at all, content on the thought that nobody uses Internet Explorer anymore, or Netscape for that matter. That’s where most of us are wrong. We tend to overlook that some of the guests or maybe even the debutante herself, are vegetarians. Yes, in the real world, some users still use the old browsers. There are so many browsers in the Web and it is wrong to assume that we all use the same one. So make sure to test every site in all browsers.
Gone are the days when people visit sites using their PCs and laptops. Today, most modern consumers own a smartphone and they surf the Web using these small but handy gadgets. Thus, these users demand a mobile-compatible site. One that doesn’t demand heavy sideways scrolling. There are lots of online sources that tests websites for mobile-compatibility and these services are often free of charge. Responsinator.com is one of these sources. Go check it out.
3. Meta Descriptions
In order to get the maximum possible hits for search engines, make sure to put proper meta descriptions on every article within the site. Think of it as directions to the event where the party is happening. What good is a birthday bash if nobody shows up because they don’t know its location? Meta descriptions will help Web crawlers and spiders track your site, page by page; thus, creating heavy traffic. Putting meta descriptions is not hard. Sometimes, all it takes is a proper page title for every page.
A favicon is a 16 x 16 or 32 x 32 pixel icon, which is lodged up there in the address bar beside the page title. It is literally a small thing, but yes, it is very important because it adds identity to the site. And if it adds identity, then it is SEO-related. To some designers who fall short on the technical server-side of things, there are a lot of tutorial sites out there with step-by-step instructions on how to set-up a favicon.
5. The 404 Error Page
This is often overlooked. Basically, the error or 404 page takes care of the broken links in our sites. Two of the most popular blogs like Blogspot and WordPress have included the 404 setup in their platforms so there is no more excuse even for bloggers not to set-up the 404. Think of this as a way-finder signage for lost guests. We don’t want the guests wandering outside of the party perimeters, do we?