Making Your Web Site Work Harder
Not all web sites are developed to the same standards. To really make your site work for you, what’s under the hood is just as important as the graphic design.
Google search rankings, accessibility for disabled users, and flexible layouts for different sized devices all depend on how well your site is constructed behind the scenes. We have a long list of checks that a site must pass before we’re happy to say it’s ready. Here’s an insight into our method.
- All text has been checked for spelling
- All site links tested and working
- SSL Certificate is installed
- Site is forced to use encrypted data transmission (HTTPS)
- Password protected areas are not accessible by search engines and browsers
- Default CMS user name is changed
- Default CMS database table names are changed
- CMS and database users all have strong passwords
- Automated monitoring and blocking of unauthorised login attempts is activated
- Favicon added
- Footer includes copyright statement
- “Page not found” message exists and is useful
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- Page titles are unique, descriptive and SEO friendly
- Only one H1 per page
- Metadata included and appropriate
- XML sitemap generated
- Ensure site is visible to search engines (remove noindex/nofollow and check CMS settings)
- robots.txt is generated and added to root of website
- Google Analytics, Hubspot and other relevant tracking code is installed
- Website URL has been submitted to Google
- Site added to Google Webmaster tools and sitemap submitted
- Open Graph tags included across website
- Open Graph metadata present and correct
- ARIA roles specified
- Appropriate level of WCAG compliance achieved.
- Site tested with WAVE
- :focus is used for all links, form fields and key elements on the page
- Images have appropriate ALT text
- All form controls have appropriate labels
- Forms and tables have a suitable layout for screen readers
- Our compatibility target is 95-99% of internet users
- Compatibility measured against latest statistics from W3, Blockmetrix, caniuse, and other sources.
- All major browsers supported:
- Internet Explorer and Edge (Windows)
- Firefox (Windows and Mac)
- Chrome (Windows and Mac, iOS Mobile, iOS iPad, Android Mobile, Android Tablet)
- Safari (iOS mobile, iOS iPad, Mac)
- Layout adapts to extra-wide screens
- Form fields validate as required (required fields, min/max lengths, etc)
- Analytics code successfully tracks form submissions
- Forms send emails to the correct recipient(s)
- User is directed to the correct page after submitting a form
- Images have been optimised
- Only required fonts, weights and character sets are installed
- Run Google speed test and resolve issues
- Caching is installed and configured appropriately
A note about emailing from your web site
Over the years, email systems have become very sophisticated at detecting spam and the methods they use change all the time. If your web site isn’t set up correctly, the emails sent from contact forms may be rejected or end up in your junk mail folder. Even if the site is set up right to begin with, when the email systems change their detection criteria your forms might stop working.
One of the best ways to deal with this is to use a third party service which will send these emails for you. These services put a security signature on the emails which not only ensures the messages are delivered but also avoids them dropping into your junk folder. They also keep up with changing detection methods, so we don’t have to update your site every time Google or Microsoft change their criteria for spam emails.
We recommend using these services wherever possible, and we’ll even register the account and set up the service for you.