Publishing your site is merely the act of transferring
your files from your hard disk to the web server. We normally do this
by using an FTP program (File Transfer Protocol=FTP). Some software such
as Dreamweaver (One of the favourite web design, authoring and development
software that the professional web designers use) have in built site management
software which will allow you to transfer the files and synchronise the
newer versions on your PC with the older ones on the web server.
There are a couple of things which you need to do before
and after you transfer your files. Below is a checklist which you
may find useful. This is by no means a program specific checklist but
a general one. I have classified them as "Before" and "After"
- Do a spell check,
ensure all spelling mistakes are removed. If your primary market is
the US, then use the US dictionary, even though you may be more used
to the British spelling. Proof read it yourself, then ask someone
else to proof read it for you. (Family members comes with responsibilities
to help you)
- Key in the appropriate text in your images "Alt"
tag. These are the wordings will appear in the image box before
they load. It gives people an idea what image will load, while waiting
for it to load. Of course, there are people who prefer to view text
only (disable the images) in order to surf faster. Without the alt tags,
they won't know what the images may be.
- Determine how your links and hyperlinks will behave
when they are clicked. Do you want your viewer to go directly to the
clicked link in the same window (default), or would you prefer that
a new window opens up so that the open window will remain. You decide
on what is appropriate.
- Check all links. Double check. Make sure that
they go where you intend them to go to. This is especially true for
affiliate programs. Put in the wrong URL and you will lose the sale
(and the commission). If the link leads to a dead page (Can't find page
= 404 page error), then change it or remove the link altogether.
- Check your meta tags, title tags, description
tags and your 1st paragraph is keyword optimised. What are these
tags anyway ? Ask your web designer, or refer to any web design book,
or search the web to find out more. These are merely codes to identify
your page which is important to search engines.
- Check the page sizes. If the page is too big,
it will be too slow to load. Remove unnecessary graphics, flash movies,
animation, music etc. It is most important that your page loads reasonably
fast. More important than looking pretty. A lot of people I know (myself
included) will just close the page if it takes more than 7 to 8 seconds
to load. If you need to use a lot of images, use thumbnails where possible.
Use your web design program (with site management features)
or FTP program to upload your files to your webserver. When you signup
for your webhosting, the webmaster will give you an URL to log on to,
a user name and password to log into your account. Configure your FTP
program so that it will dial into your account. Then when you are connected,
transfer the files to the webserver. Some web host I know doesn't even
require the use of any FTP program. You just drag the files from you desktop
to the window of the web server. Just like drag and drop in Windows.
You may get free copies of FTP program by downloading
them from the web. Recommended ones are WS FTP Pro or WS FTP
LE programs. Go to www.download.com.
In the search window, type WS_FTP Pro and click 'go'. You
will be given a whole list of the programs to download. You may select
those which are 'free' and has the word 'pick' next to it.
These are the popular and recommended ones. LE stands for Light Edition
and Pro stands for Professional. Both work well. Check your documentation
from your web host, the web server may not show your files immediately
from your browser. There may be a time lag. So don't panic when
you try to look at your site immediately after that and it doesn't appear.
After transfer, you need to check the following again
- Check your loading time.
Do all pages take too long to load ? Refine those that are too big and
upload your refined page again. If you are using broadband, then it
may not be representative of what most people use. As such you may need
to test from another machine that uses 33K or 56K modem. 28K modem are
not so common nowadays.
- Check all your links. Yes even your ordering
page (especially your ORDERING page). For peace of mind, run through
the whole purchasing and downloading process to make sure everything
is OK. Check ALL hyperlinks to ensure that they actually go to where
you intend them to. Remove all broken links. Ensure all behaviours of
the links act correctly as well, ie open within the same window or a
- Sign up for your own newsletter or autoresponder
messages. Is the opt in procedure easy to understand and all the responding
messages coming in correctly.
- Are the pages aligning properly ? View your
pages using a few resolution, 640, 800, 1024 and 1280. 800 and 1024
would be the most commonly used. I would suggest 800 as the 15"
monitor is probably the most commonly used. Are the text legible ? Does
the site look 'pleasant' and 'professional' enough. Judge that against
your target market. If your target market is people looking for web
design services, then you have to showcase your web design ability.
A plain text site will not do. If your target market is people looking
for investment, a site with gaudy colours and grunge music will not
do as well. For the conservative market, nothing reads better than black
text on white paper. Check that your button rollovers are working
- From your site, try to send an email to yourself
or fill in the feedback form. Does it work ? Is it easy to find
- Is the site easy to navigate ? Is it easy
to move around ? Can you get lost ?
If you have covered the above, then functionally the
website should be working properly. Design is a matter of taste but being
moderate is always safe unleass you're trying to win awards in design.
Bottomline, functionality is more important.