Website launch day can be a gala affair. After all the hard work is done, it’s time to smash a bottle of champagne on that sucker and sing “Come Sail Away”. But it’s important to run through a checklist of details before the launch to make sure your website project doesn’t spring a leak on it’s big day.
Missing a launch-day detail could have you cursing like a sailor or set-up issues that plague your website down the road. And there’s nothing worse than waking up to an avoidable crisis. To help you avoid that kind of trouble, check out these four, non-critical but overlooked details. Each one is easily fixed in WordPress without knowing a lick of special code (well, maybe a little).
1) Website Footer Credits
The top of your web design shows off your logo and menu navigation, but the bottom area may be just as important. Put credits here in the footer. Something like “Copyright © 2012 Your Company Name” could warn off potential copy cats. A copyright exists for any original work the moment it’s created. So you can use the special copyright symbol and claim copyright protection at no cost. Though you won’t have real legal protection against copyright infringement unless you register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office. Check in your WordPress theme options for a place to include these important credits. HTML code for copyright symbol: ©
2) Favicon (bookmarks icon)
This is the tiny icon you’ll see at the top of your web browser next to the page’s title. It’s frequently used by web browsers in bookmarks lists as well. Make sure you have one so your visitors have a helpful icon to distinguish your website from everyone else. Plus, the default WordPress favicon or a blank space for a favicon can look amateurish or even suspicious.
Some WordPress themes let you upload a 16px by 16px favicon directly. You can also use a plugin like All-in-One Favicon to do it for you.
3) 301 Redirects
Here’s where the check-list gets a little deep. 301 redirects are used when your written content and images are moved from one location to another. Like moving a stack of papers from one binder to the other, keeping the same structure. This scenario most often occurs when you transition your website from one domain name to a different one. But 301 redirects are helpful any time you significantly modify the URLs of existing pages.
By setting up 301 redirects, visitors who try to find http://YourOldDomain.com/contact-us will be directed to http://YourNewDomain.com/contact-us. That way you don’t confuse any old visitors, and Google will pass any credit earned by the old pages to the new ones if it recognizes a 301 redirect.
A basic plugin that lets you create redirects like this is Simple 301 Redirects.
4) Facebook OpenGraph meta data
When you post a link on Facebook, you frequently get to choose a thumbnail to accompany a preview of the link. Ever wonder where those thumbnails come from, or how the text description is generated? By default, Facebook will pull up to 48 words from the first part of your website to use as a “meta description” and will select any image from your page to insert as well. We’ve all seen ugly or unpredictable results of this default setting.
Make a good impression on Facebook by overriding the defaults with a custom description of your website and an image, typically your logo. This image will be used if the page being shared does not contain any other usable images.
WordPress SEO by Yoast is our favorite SEO tool already, but it also lets you easily configure OpenGraph meta data.
Do you have your bases covered? Wondering if you’ve overlooked one of these details? Get in touch with us, we’d love to help.