Checking your hotel website before launch is the job of the web development company you have hired but it is equally your responsibility – this is no time to become complacent when your brand or reputation is on the line. By no means is this an exhaustive list and your own checklist will be tailored towards your own individual website and project. However, this gives you a base to work from and outlines the basics website checks.
This is where you check how your website renders in different browsers and different versions. You want users to have the same visual and operational experience regardless of what browser they choose. This includes Internet Explorer 7.0 and above and the current versions of Firefox and Chrome which tend to be backwards-compatible. Here is a useful online tool to check cross-browser compatibility.
Test Site On All Devices
You also will want to see how your website renders on portable devices such as mobiles and tablets. Hopefully, you decided to go with a responsive website. Not only does responsive web design provide a better user experience for users across all devices, it is also recommended by Google.
Search Engine Optimization
This is a huge task and you may need and SEO company to assist with this part. You want to check your pages to see if they are search engine friendly and that title tags and meta descriptions clearly match the content on the page. You should also review the page copy to see if your keywords have been inserted naturally throughout the text and that there is an XML sitemap.
Check Site Speed
A sluggish site speed is a big issue for a lot of hotel websites mainly due to the large, high-resolution images on websites. With Google including page speed as a factor in their algorithms, it is crucial that your pages load as swiftly as possible to not only improve rankings but to enhance usability for visitors to the site. Test out your site using Google’s PageSpeed Tool.
Proof-Read The Copy
Depending on how large your website is, you may need some help with this one but every page on your hotel websites should be checked for any spelling or grammatical errors. In addition every single page should have text on it. There is nothing more unprofessional than seeing blank pages or test copy on sites. If you are really pressed for time, you can write a disclaimer that more information will be forthcoming.
Make Sure Forms Are Working
This is another thing you should check before you launch hotel websites. You want to check that the enquiry forms, contact us forms, enewsletter forms, search facility and so forth are all working. Ensure that you get a confirmation email back (minus any spelling or grammatical errors). You also need to deliberately put in wrong details or omit compulsory fields to see if you get an error message alerting you of your error.
Make sure you have Google Analytics, Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Search Console ready to go so you can immediately start tracking traffic as well as check for any errors.
One of the most important checks but often neglected in the lead up to launch is to ensure that the most up-to-date and correct versions of your terms and conditions, privacy policies and copyright information have been uploaded to the site. These should be checked over by your legal team before you give them to the web designers.
Launching a new website can be exciting but fraught with disaster if the necessary checks are not done due to a lack of time or quality assurance. If you are thinking about redesigning your site, contact us to speak to one of our team and learn more about how we have helped hoteliers like yourself deliver successful hotel websites on time and on budget that have high Search Engine visibility and result in improved online revenue.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2012 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.