iWeb allows you to create beautiful web sites, simply and quickly but when you have finished are you one of those people who just hits the publish button or do you check your site first to make sure everything is as it should be ‘under the hood’ before going live. Here is a list of things you should be doing before you press that green arrow icon and show the world your masterpiece.
When I ran my post recently on some beautiful iWeb sites I spent a lot of time looking through the hundreds of sites built in iWeb and sitting on servers around the world. One thing I did notice was that many of the designers/builders had made some form of basic mistake(s) before publishing. Of course this can have a detrimental effect on your web-site, especially if you are running a business site, so I complied this list post of checks you can make with in iWeb (or its add-ons) to help you avert making those same mistakes.
Images in front of other items.
Because an iWeb site is created using layers (similar to a Photoshop image) iWeb users must be careful that one item on the web page, doesn’t overlap or completely cover another. If you find that you are having this problem, simply right-click (Ctrl-click) on the offending item and select ‘Send Backward’ or ‘Send to Back’.
Rage SEO Tool – Title tags, alt tags for images, description tag.
Making sure your ‘title’ tags and ‘description’ tags are all sorted before you go live is vital if you want to get higher in the search engine rankings. The major search engines such as Google, Yahoo or MSN do not use the ‘keywords’ meta-tag anymore, but they do look at your title and site description. Write them well, keep them short and to the point and include one or two carefully chosen keywords.
Adding the odd keyword to your image alt-tags help too; all of this can be easily achieved by downloading the amazing iWeb add-on from Rage, the iWeb SEO Tool. It is simple to use, effective and of course completely Free!!!
How annoying is it when you click on a link on a web-site and it takes you to a 404 error page? Exactly! Check your links. I ran a post on how to check your hyperlinks a few months ago.
An obvious check to make, but one that is frequently overlooked. If you have spent days or even weeks designing and building your site you can grow tired of reading the same text over and over again. This can lead to mistakes in spelling and punctuation. If you are fed up of reading your copy, get a friend to do it, but for pity’s sake, proof read your iWeb site.
If you have added any interactivity to your iWeb site, be it a widget, nav-bar or form, check it works before you publish. Does the form really send itself to your e-mail address? and does it take the site visitor back to the correct page when they have pressed ‘Send’? Does your nav-bar drop down as you want it to? are you happy with the link to your RSS? Do the comments work? Check it all before you go live.
If you are serious about your iWeb site you need to test it in other browsers. In an ideal world, everybody would own a Mac, use Safari (and I would be rich!!) but sadly that isn’t the case. We have to allow for the world’s most popular browser, Internet Explorer. On top of that, there is the web designers favorite Firefox too.
This doesn’t mean that you have to have a PC standing by or even install Firefox on your Mac; just use the Develop menu in Safari. If you don’t have it showing in your toolbar open Safari and choose ‘Safari’ in the toolbar. Next click on ‘Preferences’ and then ‘Advanced’. All you have to do is tick the box.
To test your iWeb site, publish it to a folder, open it in Safari and open the Develop menu form the toolbar at the top. Select ‘User Agent’ and another drop-down menu appears full of different browsers. You don’t have to try all of them, but some of the most common can help you pick up positioning problems etc which you can correct in iWeb before going live.
Text as images.
If you can’t use a standard web-safe font in your iWeb and that rare font that you found on a web-site just has to be the one you have otherwise your iWeb site will look all wrong, then turn it into an image. I ran an easy to follow tutorial last year on turning your iWeb fonts into images.
If you want to check that your text will be turned into an image before you publish simply open iWeb preferences and tick the third box down ‘Show text imaging indicator’. You then have to look out for the little yellow icon next to the text you want as an image; if it isn’t there it will show as a font.
And whilst you are in iWeb preferences make sure that there is a tick in the box ‘Image Import: Optimize images on import’. iWeb has a horrible habit of saving a lot of its images a PNGs which aren’t always the smallest in file size which translates into slower loading times.
Wherever possible you should optimize your images as JPGs before putting them into your iWeb site and this can be easily done using the ‘Save As’ command in iPhoto.
You spent ages designing it, but then all of a sudden things go pear-shaped. Your site gets corrupted and you really need to get that site on-line updated! You can use your back up right? Backing up your iWeb site is as easy as opening a new ‘Finder’ window and navigating to User/Library/Application Support/iWeb and saving a copy of the ‘domain’ file that you find within that folder somewhere safe. You won’t regret it.
By following some or all of these simple tips should mean that you have less problems with your iWeb site later on down the line. Visitors don’t like sites that don’t work (do you?) and so they won’t come back if yours is broken.
Is there anything else that you check on your iWeb site before you publish? Let us know, leave a comment.