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How do you know your website is ready?1168

Belew private msg quote post Address this user
There is a very definitive moment for website owners.

There is a clear time for the Web site owner to know his or her Web site is ready to launch, ready for people to come.

Drum roll, plz.

When there is no more money to spend on the site development it is ready.

That same reasoning works for product development.

When a team has no more money to spend on developing the product it must be ready to go to market.

Whenever I tell this story I get laughs...mostly audible moans that are masked by laughter.

Marketing must be done in parallel with development. In that way there will be people ready and waiting for the launch.

otherwise the market awareness will lag the product by a time long enough to make the product sometimes obsolete.

How do you decide your Web site is ready for readers?
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Rev private msg quote post Address this user
@Belew

There is another approach for the website owner, especially if it is a foundational site for a independent small business operator, solopreneur, or online professional.

Big corporations with multiple faces to the public and those corporations or individuals with significant product launches, may be better served by finding a suitable starting point and building to it before making the site public, as you suggest.

For the rest, I would recommend getting the site open to the public, and to search engines, at the earliest possible moment. For example, if you are using WordPress, here is the pattern:

1 - get domain name
2 - get hosting
3 - set DNS servers
4 - install WordPress
5 - add site name and tagline
6 - go public

Total time, about 1 hour or less.

Now, start picking a theme, adding content, finding the plugins you will need, etc.
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Belew private msg quote post Address this user
@Rev

Sounds like an outline for a webinar.
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Jonnner private msg quote post Address this user
@Belew @Rev

I know a few SME size organizations that really struggled with knowing how to define when a new website had been completed to their satisfaction. In my opinion, this was because; although they had had operational, reasonably complex websites before; they did not really know what they expected the "next generation" website to do. Having a detailed contract with the developer did not seem to help.

Only those executives who had previously created their own reasonably complex websites knew how to write acceptance criteria that worked.

In my case I had had two developer created simple versions before. Last winter I approximately followed the @Rev approach; only I built it myself using WordPress and Headway. It took a couple months (part time). I see my website as a work in progress. Based on consultant advice it has gone through two revisions. Using @Rev's advice of several days ago, and some additional advice that I will get, the planned next revision will be better.
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Rev private msg quote post Address this user
@Belew

I think something could be worked out. ;o)

@Jonnner

I'm glad I could help. Headway is a good theme used by many people. While it makes design really easy, it adds (in my opinion) a lot of bloat and you might be better served with a leaner framework like Woo Canvas. Canvas isn't as easy and requires more "understanding", with a little steeper learning curve, but I feel the results are worth the effort.

Both of these themes are "premium" products and I am not affiliated with either. I have used both and have chosen Canvas for most of my needs.
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SteveDolan private msg quote post Address this user
I also have to add that it's important for your website to have a strategy. Lot's of people fall into the trap and think that if they have a website online and leave it alone it'll do it's job - and that couldn't be further form the truth.

Successful websites, these days, will never, ever, be "done."

But...I have a pretty comprehensive checklist that I follow for my clients when I'm building their website that makes sure foundations are in place before I push them to go live.

I appreciate what @belew mentioned about marketing and development needing to happen in Parallel. You have to have some great value-added content in the area's that you're covering. For example, if you're starting a brand new company and I want a Facebook and Twitter account, I want to make sure those channels have posts on them already. That way, in the chance that someone checks it out (most especially if you're pushing followers), it's not a desert.
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Belew private msg quote post Address this user
@SteveDolan

If we want people to follow us, we need to give them something to follow other than a name and address.

Good point!

What are some of the more important things you have on your checklist? If you don't mind sharing.
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SteveDolan private msg quote post Address this user
Sure! Some of the most important things I check are:

• Browser compatibility
• The code validates
• Spelling, Grammar, Punctuation
• Contact information (phone,email,addresses) are correct (you'd be surprised how often this one gets skipped)
• Forms - do they work correctly, landing pages are correct, no confusing instructions or failed expectations
• Search works
• Page structure - h1, h2, h3, etc. All images have 'alt' tags
• all images under 100kb in size
• Custom and guided 404 page
• sitemap.xml has been created
• Google and Bing webmaster tools / Google Analytics are setup
• Page title tags and meta descriptions are in alignment with the actual pages
• Are there any dead/broken links


...and so much more...
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Belew private msg quote post Address this user
@SteveDolan

Great list ... just what we needed here.

Lots of folk here just need to know where do start. And you delivered!!

Thanks for this.
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Rev private msg quote post Address this user
@SteveDolan

Nice.
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