Don't Skip These Steps When Building Your Business's Website

Declan Wilson

Do you ever wonder why websites change? Maybe the colors change, the navigation icons move, or the content is magically tweaked.

Most changes that occur on websites are not random. They are typically very specific changes that the Webmaster or site owner has decided to make because of analytics and test results from a multitude of fronts.

When creating a web-based business there are many different components that exist beyond most individuals’ field of vision.

Quite often business owners or website creators attempt to conceptualize what they think is a perfect website without taking focusing on things like analytics, Internet marketing, social media, and search engine optimization.

Without these ever so critical items being addressed a website no matter how well build will most likely struggle to survive in a sea of websites and webpages that are making the necessary efforts to obtain site traffic and get exposure across multiple platforms.

Below, are a few tools and tactics commonly used, and best of all, are usually available for free.

Make sure to capture analytics

The very easy first step is implementing a very basic analytics program.

This code can easily be placed on every site page throughout the entire website. Analytics are a must; due to the immeasurable value it offers site owner, developer, or Webmaster.

With analytics properly installed on every page (and validated), these individuals can track visitors in multiple capacities, the number of page views, how long viewers stayed on the website, bounce rates, and other relevant metrics that are vital to the survival of a newly emerging website.

Measure and track results

Another simple tactic used to maximize the effectiveness of a website is to set up a Webmaster tool to better track the metrics associated with your website.

Webmaster programs are a must when tracking the metrics regarding your website. Be sure to look at things like crawl reports, indexed pages, and indexation issues and also track basic statistics such as clicks, keywords, and other traffic metrics.

It is important to always improve a website to be sure that it is being ranked properly and to make adjustments to enhance viewer retention.

Fix any crawl issues

After these two items have been addressed it would be wise to run a crawl simulation.

The purpose of a crawl simulation is to shed light on anything that was overlooked during the final phases of website development.

Running a crawl simulation will bring most unknown errors, incomplete redirects, broken links and missing titles to your attention allowing for immediate changes.

Every day that a site is live is potentially a day that it could be re-crawled by spiders and if this happens you want to make sure that you have made the necessary changes to fix any existing mistakes.

Especially items listed mentioned above like improper redirects, broken links, files blocked by robot.txt and missing tags.

These crawl simulations can be administered by free programs found on the web or they can be purchased tools. Either way you choose, it is crucial to run a crawl simulation.

Test across multiple browsers

Once the crawl simulation is complete it would be appropriate to test your website more specifically its design with a browser emulator.

Browser emulators are used to confirm that the design, layout, and imagery work well and look great on multiple browsing platforms such as Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and anything else that you would like to check.

This is also a great time to address any framing issues with mobile devices.

We now live in an era of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets so be sure that if you intend to view on these devices that your website is formatted properly to automatically frame to their screen sizes.

Don't forget RSS

If your website is going to offer an RSS Feed (which it should) then you need to outfit your site with analytics to track the performance of the feed.

There isn’t too much mystery here besides believing that it is important to understand the metrics associated with your feed and making changes accordingly.

Spread the word

At some point, it is necessary to compile a list of contacts. This list should include everything from colleagues, business contacts, friends, and family. These individuals can be instrumental in building that much-needed buzz when launching a fresh new website.

It would be wise to send out a few emails inviting your contacts to check out the site and give honest feedback.

The communication can be created as a formal press release or correspondence letter or even a casual email with a lot of personal feel.

I would recommend some kind of middle ground. Make sure it’s not a pitch/sales email but be sure to add a touch of pride and professionalism to your communication.

Essentially there are many ways to properly plan, prep, and monitor a website during each and every stage of its development.

These few steps are extremely easy to implement and they can help not only webmasters but the website and business owners in their never-ending quest to enhance and improve the quality of the website and its performance.

Good luck and hopefully you find some if not all of these tools useful in the continued evolution of your website.

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Stay-at-home dad. 9-to-5 escapee. Aldi aficionado.

Baltimore, MD

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