Is Your Ecommerce Site Ready to Go Live?

When you have a business site, it is very important to make sure that it is absolutely as professional as it can be, and ready for visitors the moment it goes live. Having to fix serious errors is embarrassing and can make you look unprofessional.

Instead of getting caught unawares or having a customer point out a problem, you will need to take the following steps to make sure your site is ready to go live.

1. Have you checked every single link on your site? Dead links are a common problem on ecommerce web sites. If you have offsite links, it is very important to make sure that they are still valid. Being able to customize your error pages will help prevent the loss of sales from dead links, but it is not a replacement for a thorough check of your entire site.

2. Are all of your images loading? A broken image can completely destroy the effect of a web page. Instead of seeing what you intended them to see, your customers could be completely in the dark about a product or a feature on your site. Make sure that you go through every page, allowing enough time for every image to load.

3. Is your shopping cart functioning? Go through and place a sample order. This way you will be able to go through the entire checkout process to make sure that everything is working correctly. A broken cart is a sure way to put an instant stop to your sales. You may not even know it is broken until someone complains.

4. Are your scripts working? If you have PHP, CGI, Java or other scripts on your site, are they all functioning properly? Are there any errors appearing or permission problems? This is very important to make sure that your visitors will get the most out of your site.

5. Does your site work in the major browsers? If you have not checked your site in several different browsers, you may be alienating a large segment of the population. Download and install Netscape, Mozilla, Firefox and Opera to your computer to see how your site looks in all of them. They all handle pages differently and your site may be unrecognizable in many of them.

6. Are your contact links working? Make sure that your email server is operating smoothly and that you are receiving your mail. If your customers can’t contact you, you may not even know there is a problem.

7. Have you optimized your site? It is important to make sure that search engines will be able to get important information about your site from your pages so that you can be ranked well in search results.

8. Are all of your third-party services working? If you have a shopping cart or other application run through a third-party, check to make sure it is ready for your launch, and keep checking on it periodically.

You are now ready to launch your ecommerce site!

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Posted on 12/14/05 10:46 PM

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