Commercial Website ChecklistThe NRCW Website Checklist is a fast guide to making sure you cover all the basics when building a great website.

 

 

Content & Style

Typography and Layout

  • Check for incorrect punctuation marks, particularly apostrophes, quotation marks and hyphens/dashes
  • Check headings for where you could potentially use ligatures
  • Check for widow/orphan terms in important paragraphs

 

Spelling, Grammar and Consistency

  • Capitalization (especially of main headings)
  • Tense / Style of Writing
  • Recurring/common phrases (e.g. ‘More about X’ links)
  • Variations in words (e.g. websites vs web sites, or UK vs US spelling)
  • Treatment of bullet lists (e.g. periods or commas at end of each item)

 

Other Areas

  • Check for hard-coded links to staging domain (i.e. ensure all links will change to the ‘live’ URL/domain when site is launched)
  • Ensure no test content on site
  • Check how important pages (e.g. content items) print
  • For re-designs, ensure important old/existing URLs are redirected to relevant new URLs, if the URL scheme is changing
  • Check all ‘hidden copy’ (e.g. alt text, transcriptions, text in JavaScript functions)
  • Check web font rendering across major browsers
  • Check logos and other key images on retina displays

 

Standards & Validation

  • Accessibility
  • HTML validation
  • JavaScript validation
  • CSS validation

 

Search Engine Visibility, SEO & Metrics

  • Page titles are important; ensure they make sense and have relevant keywords in them
  • Create metadata descriptions for important pages
  • Check for canonical domain issues (e.g. variations in links to index.html should be reduced to a single consistent style)
  • Ensure content is marked-up semantically/correctly (<h1>, etc.)
  • Check for target keyword usage in general content
  • Check format (user/search engine friendliness) of URLs
  • Set up Analytics, FeedBurner, and any other packages for measuring ongoing success
  • Create an XML Sitemap
  • Configure Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools
  • Ensure conversion tracking is enabled for all PPC campaigns
  • Check goals and funnels are correctly setup in analytics tools

 

Functionality Testing

  • Check all bespoke/complex functionality
  • Check search functionality (including relevance of results)
  • Check on common variations of browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome etc.), version (6, 7, 2.2, 3.1 etc.) and platform (Windows, OSX, Linux)
  • Check on common variations of screen resolution
  • Test all forms (e.g. Contact Us, blog comments), including antispam features, response emails/text, etc.

 

Security & Risk

  • Configure backup schedule, and test recovery from backup
  • Protect any sensitive pages (e.g. administration area)
  • Use robots.txt where necessary
  • Security/penetration test
  • Turn-off verbose error reporting
  • Check disk space/capacity
  • Set-up email/SMS monitoring/alerts (e.g. for errors, server warnings); consider internal and external monitoring services

 

Performance

  • Load test
  • Protect any sensitive pages (e.g. administration area)
  • Check image optimization
  • Check and implement caching where necessary
  • Check total page size/download time
  • Minify/compress static (JavaScript/HTML/CSS) files
  • Optimise your CSS: use short image paths; make full-use ‘cascading’ nature of CSS; etc.
  • Check correct database indexing
  • Check configuration at every level (web server, database, any other software e.g. Content Management System)
  • Configure server-based logging/measurement tools (e.g. database/web server logging)
  • Check and configure CDN where necessary for distributed caching and load balancing
  • Test without JavaScript, Flash, and other plug-ins
  • Check all external links are valid

 

Finishing Touches

  • Create custom 404/error pages
  • Create a favicon

 

Marketing

  • Conversion Goals
  • Calls to Action
  • Social marketing: Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, Facebook, Stumbleupon, etc.
  • Submit to search engines
  • Set-up PPC/Google AdWords where necessary
  • Check formatting of site results in SERPs

 

Ongoing

  • Monitor and respond to feedback (direct feedback, on social media sites, check for chatter through Google, etc.)
  • Check analytics for problems, popular pages etc. and adjust as necessary
  • Update content