Digital Qube's in-house website guru, Eric, identifies seven things which cause problems when a website goes live. Lean in close because it's not often an IT guru shares such valuable tips. Sit up and take note – these tips could save you HOURS of frustration!
1 > Testing… Testing.… Testing…
"I can't emphasise enough the importance of testing prior to launch day," says Eric, looking up to the heavens. "We always test on different devices to make sure the website looks good on all the major screen sizes and devices. It's surprising how often the website looks fantastic on one device but is completely muddled up on another. Particularly in Arabic."
Eric adds that in the rush to get things live, device testing often slips through the net – and you can be sure that it's always the most important person involved that has the one device you didn't test! It might be a weird image size causing a problem, or a font not working. Possibly the order of content gets disrupted, or it may be that the Arabic font has decided to reverse. You can never second guest what errors are going to occur, but blocking out 1–2 weeks for UAT testing (or even just a couple of days) sure makes the launch day go smoothly. It is vital that many people test and test some more on their devices to minimise the bad surprises on launch day.
2 > It's ready, it's not ready...
It's amazing how website content always has to change at the last minute. Suddenly, at the drop of a hat, the director needs to change a vital word, or marketing finds something wrong on a product offering and wants to rephrase the description.
To save the last-minute panic, we recommend getting approval for content on all levels about a week before going live. But be warned – "It's still important to be flexible and ready for those last-minute changes," Eric says.
3 > Is it a match ? Website hosting and technology stack?
"Websites are built on different technologies," Eric explains. So are you an IT 'matchmaker'? "It's important that they work together – the fastest car won't perform on a railway, but give it a tarmac road and it glides into the sunset." When it comes to websites, PHP (a popular programming language) is a good example. PHP runs on an Apache web server. If you have a website built on PHP, you need to make sure your hosting provider is able to run an Apache web server. There's no room for error here. It its not a match, its like driving an old Ford Mustang from the 1960s, it's bound to stall!
4 > Security always
"Security is fundamental," Eric says, and there's no messing around with this one. It's essential to make sure that a website has the appropriate SSL certificate and the https protocol. This ensures that the communication between your users' browsers and your web's server is secured. Any data your user inputs in your site must be secured so that it cannot be read by anyone during transit to your server. Don't let this be the problem that blights your launch day!
5 > Ensure SEO before you go live
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) can be quite a complicated business, but it's worth it! It enables your website to be "found" by search engines – you need adequate relevant keywords for the search engines to recognise and rank your site properly. Really great SEO - isn't just a matter of stuffing as many keywords as possible into your text – there are plenty of
tricks to optimise your site. Eric says, "Don't think about SEO after your website is up and running. Every website should meet the basic SEO requirements before it goes live, so don't forget those meta data descriptions and titles!"
6 > Site speed
When it comes to digital, speed is of the essence. "Research shows that users are only willing to wait 3 seconds for a website to load before they close or click back or away," Eric says. So how can you make your website as quick as you want it? "Optimising code, content structure, image sizes and server capability are some of the points that need to be checked to ensure a good website speed," explains Eric.
7 > Hosting infrastructure
According to Eric, this goes hand in hand with site speed. He says, "It's really important that your hosting infrastructure is up to the job. It needs to be capable of handling user traffic. Using Code Distribution Network or CDN helps to deliver content to users in different parts of the globe." And there you have it – without the appropriate hosting infrastructure, your website launch might fall flat.
If you'd like help creating, launching or improving your website, Digital Qube can help! Chat to Eric and the team, who are working on some of the highest-profile websites in the UAE with 1000s of website visitors each week.
WhatsApp or phone: +971 58 581 9733
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