Launching a websiteCredit: Allen DouglasCredit: Allen Douglas

Creating a website is a exciting process, but webmasters must be dilligent about certain things to acquire favor from the search engines such as Google.  After creating many different websites on my own, I have developed a simple checklist of items I review before launching a site to the public.  Some of these items seem simple for even begining site creators, but in the hurry of trying to get a site up quickly, many things are forgotten along the way.

  • Make sure every pages has a unique "description" head tag, which summerizes what is on the web page.
  • Make sure every page has a "title" head tag.
  • Make sure every page has a "keywords" head tag with up to 5 keywords or keyword phrases separated by commas.
  • Perform a spell check on every page.
  • Verify menus and links are going to the intended place.
  • If you are using Google Adsense, make sure each webpage conforms with Google's policies including content and each page prominently displays a link to your site's privacy policy.
  • Place a robot.txt file in the root directory of the website.  This file tells search engine bots what they should consider listing in the search engine index.
  • Make navigation consistent throughout all pages on the website.  This helps viewers easily find content on the website.  It also helps search engine bots easily find content, resulting in favorable ranking on your pages.
  • Check the website on several different web browsers to make sure there are no errors before publishing.  Many website editors, like Dreamweaver, have tools to help with this task.  If you expect to have mobile viewers access your site, it is important to check the website using several mobile browsers, as well.
  • SEO - SEO is good practice.  Executing good SEO is beyond the scope of this checklist, but there are several good resources on the web.
  • When launching a website, send it to Google's search engine index, using the Webmaster tools.  To expedite the process of indexing, use up one of the "fetch as bot" tokens.  When you verify that you are the owner of a website in Webmaster tools, you will be given 10 tokens to fetch an entire URL.  Use these wisely.  One great use is when launching the site for the first time.  Remember, the Google is currently still the number one search engine.  Other engines will list the site if Google's search is returning results.
  • Create a sitemap.xml file.  This file can be created using one of many free online sitemap tools.  Once the sitemap.xml file is created save it somewhere in your website file structure.  In Webmaster tools, point to the file in "submit a sitemap".