10 Essential Website Checks

Yesterday I stumbled over a Smashing article about essential website checks that did actually manage to ignore security and compliance almost completely. So here’s my list – the 10 launching-commandments:

  1. Be compliant – be aware of national necessities
    In most countries there are regulations concerning copyright, data protection, etc.. In Germany for example you should have an imprint and if you process data a privacy policies. Some may want to use a generator.
  2. Be up to date – check for latest version
    If you have installed a content management system, configured a server, set up a data base or used some kind of framework, modules, etc., check for the latest version, that will have all the current security patches.
  3. Be reliable – check links
    Every link is a promise, don’t break it. The W3C link-checker helps you find any dead ends.
  4. Be comprehensible – check your text
    Let some of your friends or colleages proofread your text, and I mean the whole text! Is there enough text on every page? Does the structure make sense? Break up large text blocks in small parts and try to shorten as much as you can.  If in doubt, leave it out.
  5. Be paranoid – backup
    Your provider may loose your data or complete site and your computer may crash the same week. You have worked to hard to risk loosing it all. So backup your files, configure backup schedule and test recovery from backup.
  6. Be good – check your code
    Do your pictures come with an alt tag? The W3C-Checkers will help your site to behave.
  7. Be friendly – to machines and humans
    There are two audiences in the web – machines and humans. Be friendly to both of them. Provide telling title tags, meta-data and sitemaps. Check browser compatibility. Make Headlines stand out and guide your visitors with a clear visual order.
  8. Be a mensch – leave contact information
    Websites are ways to communicate and you don’t want this to be a one-way street!
  9. Be different – change passwords & mail addresses
    Change standard passwords in order to keep others out. And stop harvesters from collecting your email adress. Use your own imagination to think out some way of describing the ATs and DOTs – some may want to obfuscate!
  10. Be curious – analyze traffic
    Use an analyzing tool like Google Analytics. This will help you optimize your page and measure its popularity.

[see also: 10 Essential Security Checks]