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End of Year Checklist: Part 1 – Your Website
Ppbc_icon_checklist.png

Use Recommendations (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Make sure your website and marketing is ready for 2015

I recently did a presentation at one of the networking groups I am a member of.  Instead of talking about Your-Web-Guys and all the boring geek stuff we do, I figured it would be better for everyone if I gave some helpful information instead.  After creating and printing a paper version of this information, I thought it might make for a good blog post.

As I wrote the post and added information that I couldn’t add due to the constraints of paper, I realized it aught to be more than one, so here is the first in a three part series

For Your Website

  • Forms
    Check, don’t assume your forms work. Any form you have on your website from the contact form to the login form should be tested to make sure nothing has caused them to stop working. If you use autoresponders, make sure the information is still correct on them as well.
  • Contact Info
    Check all the places on your website where your contact information is.  Not just on your contact us page, but also in the footers or headers.  Searching your site with google is as easy as typing the keyword/phrase you want to find and then adding “site:[domainname.com]”.  So if I were to search my website for a phone number i would enter this into the search form “214-843-0443 site:your-web-guys.com” Here’s a link using that search as an example
  • Products & Services
    This one might be pretty obvious, but… are all of the products and services listed still available? Are the descriptions and prices correct? Have you added new ones that are not listed?
  • Dated Material
    Do you have items on your site about “upcoming” events that happened months ago? If your site has a copyright date, is it current? Keep it up-to-date by having it automatically update.  Remember, don’t delete any pages.  Search engines list web-pages not web-sites, so if you delete a page you will loose any traffic a search engine might be sending it.  Best practices indicate that you should update your dated information rather than deleting it.
  • Images
    How old are the photos, graphics and images on your website? Have you had the same one since you started your business10 years ago? Freshen up your website by adding new images.  Here is a blog post with free image sources I wrote a while ago.
  • Dead Links
    URLs can change, so make sure that all of your links are valid. You don’t want to send your website visitors (or search engine bots) to dead ends.  There are many link checking websites out there that are totally free.  Just google it
  • Favicon
    Make sure your favicon is current and looks good on all devices/browsers. Different browsers can require different favicon files/formats.  Always make sure your favicon is an .ico file – it can even be animated!  There are several free favicon generators out there too… again, just google it
  • Mobile/Tablet View & Cross Browser Compatibility
    Take a look at your website on all the dierent devices on which your customers might view it. These include, big screen TV’s, large and small desktop monitors, large and small tablets, large and small cell phones, and even smart watches. There are also dierent versions of each browser that are still in use. To make it even more confusing there are different browser versions for different operating systems too. Browserstack.com is a great tool for all of the above.
  • Site Backups
    Is your website backed up? Is it backed up as often as you update it? Is it backed up on a different machine/location than your host? Do you have a hardcopy? Make sure your email and other mission critical data are backed up while you are at it too.  It is important that these backups be done automatically in the future if they are not being done now.  Speak with your hosting provider to see what solutions they can provide you.  Even if your backups are being done automatically on a different machine, you should save a hard copy of your website from time to time.  Download the zip file and save it to a cd-rom disc and keep it in a safe place.  That’s your dooms day disc in case everything else fails.

 

What do you think?

Did i leave anything important out regarding your website?  Do you disagree with any of the items above.  I would love to know.  Leave a comment, we may include your opinion in future posts.

Make sure you check back tomorrow for Part 2 – Your Marketing

End of Year Checklist: Part 3 – Your Other Stuff
350px-Happy-new-year.gif

Make sure your website and marketing is ready for 2015

an old post card (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently did a presentation at one of the networking groups I am a member of.  Instead of talking about Your-Web-Guys and all the boring geek stuff we do, I figured it would be better for everyone if I gave some helpful information instead.  After creating and printing a paper version of this information, I thought it might make for a good blog post.

As I wrote the post and added information that i couldn’t add due to the constraints of paper, I realized it aught to be more than one, so here is the second in a three part series. Here is a link if you missed the first part, End of Year Checklist: Part 1 – Your Website. Here is a link if you missed the second part, End of Year Checklist: Part 2 – Your Marketing.

For Your Domain

  • Domain Registrar/Host
    Do you know when your domain expires?  Do you know the renewal date of your hosting agreement?  These are two different things sometimes. Your Registrar is where you update and renew your domain.  Your host is where the actual files of your website reside.  Make sure your login information is correct and saved in a secure place for both. While there, make sure your credit card and contact information is current too.  Many times a business owner will change their email address and forget to update an expired credit card.  When it comes time to renew, the expired card fails, the owner does not get the message, and the website goes down.
  • Whois Data
    Whois data is the contact information associated with your domain name.  ICANN, (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is the governing body for domain names on the internet.  On their policy page it says: “At least annually, a registrar must present to the registrant the current Whois information, and remind the registrant that provision of false Whois information can be grounds for cancellation of their domain name registration. Registrants must review their Whois data, and make any corrections.” It is imperative that the whois information for your domain is up to date. If it is not, your registrar may turn off your domain without any warning.
  • Turn Off “Privacy”
    Privacy is one of the hottest buzz words on the internet lately.  Many registrars and hosts now offer “privacy” settings for your domain or other accounts with them. It is just a way for them to make extra money, but ultimately does little to no good.  In fact it can be a major problem.  Many times, because of the privacy service, a business owner cannot transfer or update their own domain.  It is typically a totally separate system with different login credentials provided by a third party.  So even if you know your registrar login information, you might not know your privacy login information.  This is not a good idea – why would you want your business info private?  Save your money and your sanity and simply keep your domain whois information public.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Did i leave anything important out regarding your website?  Do you disagree with any of the items above.  I would love to know.  Leave a comment, we may include your opinion in future posts.

If you missed it, check out Part 1 – Your Website
If you missed it, check out Part 2 – Your Marketing too

End of Year Checklist: Part 2 – Your Marketing
350px-Yes_check.svg.png

Make sure your website and marketing is ready for 2015

Yes check (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently did a presentation at one of the networking groups I am a member of.  Instead of talking about Your-Web-Guys and all the boring geek stuff we do, I figured it would be better for everyone if I gave some helpful information instead.  After creating and printing a paper version of this information, I thought it might make for a good blog post.

As I wrote the post and added information that i couldn’t add due to the constraints of paper, I realized it aught to be more than one, so here is the second in a three part series. Here is a link, if you missed the first part, End of Year Checklist: Part 1 – Your Website.

For Your Search Engine Optimization

  • SSL Certicate
    If you have an SSL certicate, make sure it is current and that you know/will be informed when it expires. If you don’t, consider getting one.  Google has announced that they will start paying attention to secure sites.  They are not punishing sites that done have SSL certs, but they are rewarding, slightly, websites that do.  That may change in the future as security becomes more and more of an issue
  • Content
    When was the last time you added new information to your website? If it has been more than a month or if you don’t regularly do so, make a resolution for next year. Google will reward your efforts.  Google is looking for new and regularly updated content.  This is the most important part of your SEO efforts so if you spend more time on backlinks or keyword density you dont understand what search engines are looking for.
  • Back Links
    Make sure the websites linking to your site are not in “bad neighborhoods”.  There are lots of free tools online to help you do this.  Just google it and you will find helpful information and tools

For Your Social Media

  • Contact Information
    Check, don’t assume your contact information is correct. This includes your website, social media platforms, map listings, and directory listings.  You will be surprised at how many places on the net have your contact information.  Google is notorious for collecting information from websites and adding it to their maps or google+ programs without anyone knowing.  In fact, when i was writing this article I followed my own advice and did a search for the address of our old office – I had forgotten to update yelp.com of all things!
  • Links/icons on your website
    Click each social media icon/link you have on your website to ensure they are still correct.  It is very easy to change your twitter handle and many times companies will create new facebook and linked in profiles for different reasons.  Even if you haven’t changed anything on your social media outlets, it’s easy to cross this one off the list… just click the links to be sure.
  • Purge Your Fake Followers
    Fake followers are a bad thing… remove them. There are lots of resources out there which will help, just google it.
  • Google Yourself
    It is never a bad idea to google your name and your company’s name every now and then. Your prospective customers do, you should too.  A bad review or other unfortunate content may be effecting your ability to get more business.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Did I leave anything important out regarding your website?  Do you disagree with any of the items above.  I would love to know.  Leave a comment, we may include your opinion in future posts.

Make sure you check back tomorrow for Part 3 – Your Other Stuff