So you’ve worked hard to give your business a fitting brand, had long conversations with designers about logos, stationery and marketing materials, you’ve sweated over how your website should look and have stared for hours at a blank screen whilst trying to produce website copy. Finally after all those days, weeks (and sometimes even months!) your marketing efforts have accumulated in the launch of your website, at long last leaving you time to get on with actually running your new business!
You’re close but there is one final, and vital, task ahead of you… pre-launch testing of your website. I know it’s highly likely by this time that you’re almost sick to the back teeth of looking over, checking, tweaking and rewriting your content, but this is one corner that should never be cut.
Think of it this way, before a big occasion we may spend plenty of time in front of the mirror. We make sure our hair is nicely done, that our make-up is as good as it can be and that our chosen outfit hides all the danger areas whilst displaying our best assets. Yet despite this we always make one final check before leaving the house. We know we look great but just need to reassure ourselves that this evening’s spinach hasn’t sneakily reappeared between our teeth or that a sleepy toddler hasn’t left evidence of a bedtime cuddle in the form of a damp hand print on our lovely new dress.
Just as we snatch a quick last check prior to dashing out of the house, we also need to give our new website one final going over prior to setting it live. Giving it the ‘spinach test’ so to speak!
So to make sure your key marketing tool goes live looking the best that it possibly can, you need to give it the ‘spinach test’ too – here are our ten key points to help you do just that:
1. Contact information
It sounds obvious, but it’s often the obvious things that are easiest overlooked. Have you included contact information? And more importantly, is it the correct contact information?
2. Company registration number
This is a requirement for all business sites, if your company is registered then your website must display the registered company number.
3. Link checking
Check that every link works and takes you to where you expect it to – also double check that links open in a new window where required.
Spelling or grammatical errors on your website will lead visitors to assume that your business is unprofessional or unorganised. Make sure you proofread everything carefully and if possible get a second pair of eyes to look at it as well.
If your designers have undertaken photo research on your behalf, it’s quite usual for them to use the complimentary (free) versions until everything is approved. Make sure that none of the images on your website have the watermarks on them.
If you have any forms on your website (such as a contact us form), make sure that they not only work, but test what happens if vital information is omitted. Don’t forget to check the ‘thank you for completing this form’ message and test that you’re receiving the notifications from your website informing you that the form has been completed.
7. Privacy/legal and sitemap
It’s important that this information is included. Check this information is present and ensure that it’s correct for your company.
Make sure that any animated sections function as anticipated and all required information is included.
9. Check your site on different browsers
Take a quick look at your website using a couple of different internet browsers, make sure that each displays your website as anticipated. It is not uncommon for browsers to change your website font or realign information. It’s your agency’s responsibility to ensure your website displays correctly so report any anomalies to them immediately.
10. Search functionality
If search functionality has been built into the site, don’t just assume that it will work as you expect. Pretend to be a visitor to your site and enter the words that they may use to find key information such as ‘opening hours’, ‘cost/price’, ‘map and directions’ to ensure that it serves the correct information.
Following these simple steps will help you to make sure that your most visible marketing tool goes live looking its very best with not a hair out of place and definitely no unsightly spinach caught between its teeth. Happy checking and good luck!