Connect with us

Startups

10 Things to Check Before Launching a Website

Published

on

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Successfully launching a website is no easy feat. Almost inevitably, just when it looks as though yours is ready to go live, it turns out that eagerness got the better of you and you almost published something incomplete. Even a small mistake can alter the way people view a website and the products associated with it. And sure, you can correct it later if the site is for yourself, but if you’re producing one for a client, you need to make sure everything runs smoothly from day one — that even the smallest mistakes are addressed before they become major problems.

Here are handy ways I’ve found to ensure just that.

1. Check on various browsers

This one can’t be stressed enough. Always check if things are looking and working as they’re supposed to on numerous browsers, with Chrome, Opera, Microsoft Edge and Firefox just a few you should test. Because, even if a site looks perfect when using Chrome, it might look like complete gibberish elsewhere, so never assume anything in this respect.

2. Don’t forget titles and metadata

Your page title is not only important for SEO reasons, but also because it offers future visitors the first glimpse of what they can actually find, so set a meta title for each page before you launch, and make sure it relates to the page’s content. Try to also include metadata, such as descriptions or tags. While they aren’t as important as the meta titles when it comes to SEO, a decent meta description will invite more users to check out a given page, and by tagging it properly, you are making it easier to find.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Collecting SEO Data

3. Check links

Never take it for granted that links will work. Perhaps you made a spelling mistake, or when inserting a link into text, instead of pasting the URL, you accidentally deleted it and as a result, your link is nothing more than randomly underlined text? Believe it or not, even advanced webmasters make these seemingly rookie mistakes, so double-check. And both internal and external links are vital, because successfully linking your page to a trusted partner domain may help you get thousands of customers.

4. Test functionality

The ease with which a user can navigate a site is pivotal. If you are going to offer customers the ability to submit complaints via a contact form, for example, test it out for yourself, see if it works and then test again. If you are going to invite them to shop, check if the sales system is properly integrated with the rest of the site. We suggest you do all of this on your own; after all, likely no one knows more about your goals and desired customer experiences better than you. Also consider supporting these findings with user testing: You will find various platforms offering testing services on the Internet, and receiving positive or negative feedback from an independent user(s) can be crucial.

Related: 6 Free Tools That Help Optimize Your Website

5. Validation

Before you launch, get a site’s code HTML validated, according to standards set by the Wide Web Consortium. If yours does not pass muster, this could mean that there are some serious issues, and so it’s up to you to search and fix them. Keep in mind that not getting validated doesn’t mean you won’t be able to launch, but it may indicate there are various problems that can potentially drag the user experience down.

6. Analytics

Installing a decent analytics tool is a great idea. These help measure important stats like unique visitors, conversion and page views, and notify when the numbers start going down. Google Analytics is the most popular tool, and is also available for free, but paid apps like Clicky or Statcounter can offer more in-depth data. Regardless of how they are aggregated, the resulting stats could be the key to launching a successful marketing campaign.

Related: Critical Analytics That Will Improve Your SEO Results

7. Include a sitemap

Always remember to add a sitemap.xml file to your root directory, which will help search engines index your site in a faster and more proficient way. You don’t even have to do anything on your own, because tools such as XML-Sitemaps can create a full sitemap without your intervention. Alternatively, on WordPress, you can install the Google XML Sitemap plugin. Creating one is fast and simple enough, and in today’s world, it’s pretty much a requirement if you want the result to be successful.

8. Feature a creative “error 404” screen

Error 404, or the “page doesn’t exist” response, is one of the most typical errors found while browsing. Whenever a user is trying to access a non-existing page, it’ll be displayed. Don’t just settle for the bland and basic message, though, because you can customize how an “error 404” will look on your website. Try to get users right back on track by offering suggestions they might have intended to search for, or simply allow them to return to the homepage.

9. Configure for optimal performance

Optimization is crucial, and will allow a site to place higher on search engine results, attract a new audience and simply work properly. One good way of doing this is reducing the HTML requests, or use CSS sprites wherever possible. Also, make sure that each page loads smoothly and fully, that there aren’t any missing elements or annoying (and un-skippable) ad banners covering up important content. And keep in mind that optimizing a site just once won’t do the trick: you need to repeat the process multiple times after launch.

10. Proofreading

Assuring high-quality text content is exactly as important for user satisfaction as making certain all technical aspects are working properly. That’s why, whenever writing an article, blog post or anything else, spend time going through it, including establishing whether it’s easily readable. Ask a friend or family member to do the same, then have them share their thoughts. You can make the process easier by avoiding long sentences and paragraphs, by adding headings and emphasizing language that’s easy to understand.

Related: Why You Should Revamp and Enhance Your Website Content

Startups

The FTC files suit to block Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition

Published

on

The Federal Trade Commission is suing to block the proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft. It contends that the acquisition, if completed, would give Microsoft an unfair advantage over its competitors.

This morning, the four-person commission voted to issue the lawsuit. The three Democrat members (chair Lina Khan, Rebecca Slaughter and Alvaro Bedoya) voted in favor and the Republican (Christine Wilson) voted against. The commission allegedly met with Microsoft the day prior to discuss concessions, according to a report from The Washington Post.

If its news release is anything to go by, the commissioners weren’t convinced that Microsoft wouldn’t withhold Activision Blizzard’s popular games from competing services. The FTC cited Microsoft’s acquisition of Zenimax, and how games such as Starfield and Redfall became exclusive following its close.

Holly Vedova, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, said in a statement, “Microsoft has already shown that it can and will withhold content from its gaming rivals. Today we seek to stop Microsoft from gaining control over a leading independent game studio and using it to harm competition in multiple dynamic and fast-growing gaming markets.”

Event

GamesBeat Summit: Into the Metaverse 3

Join the GamesBeat community online, February 1-2, to examine the findings and emerging trends within the metaverse.


Register Here

The FTC is not the only government body to express concern about the implications of the acquisition. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is currently investigating. It recently closed Phase One of the investigation, and expressed concerns in its issues statement.

The history of the planned acquisition

Microsoft announced its intention to acquire the publisher in January. Through this acquisition, it would become the regent of popular gaming franchises such as Call of Duty, Candy Crush, World of Warcraft and many others. Reportedly, it offered around $69 billion for Activision Blizzard.

The concerns about the scale of the acquisition emerged almost as soon as it was announced. The FTC reportedly moved to investigate the deal almost immediately. Niko Partners senior analyst Daniel Ahmad said at the time that Microsoft would have to pay Activision $3 billion if the deal was blocked.

The current focal point of the antitrust concerns is the Call of Duty franchise. Sony has repeatedly contended, in public statements primarily aimed at the CMA’s investigation, that Microsoft could undermine its competition via these popular and lucrative games. It could, according to Sony, either outright stop publishing them on Sony’s platforms, or it could offer them on its Xbox Game Pass subscription service. Sony claims Call of Duty on Game Pass would diminish demand for Sony consoles even if Call of Duty is still published on them.

Microsoft has, in turn, responded that its competitors have plenty of exclusive titles of their own. It’s also offered to sign 10-year deals with Sony, Nintendo and Valve (the company behind PC games store Steam) to offer Call of Duty titles on their platforms. It announced earlier this week that it has inked such a deal with Nintendo.

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s vice chair and president, said in a statement to The Verge, “We continue to believe that this deal will expand competition and create more opportunities for gamers and game developers. We have been committed since Day One to addressing competition concerns, including by offering earlier this week proposed concessions to the FTC. While we believed in giving peace a chance, we have complete confidence in our case and welcome the opportunity to present our case in court.”



Source link

Continue Reading

Startups

Airtable chief revenue officer, chief people officer and chief product officer are out • TechCrunch

Published

on

As part of Airtable’s decision to cut 20% of staff, or 254 employees, three executives are “parting ways” with the company as well, a spokesperson confirmed over email. The chief revenue officer, chief people officer and chief product officer are no longer with the company.

Airtable’s chief revenue officer, Seth Shaw, joined in November 2020 just one month before Airtable’s chief producer officer Peter Deng came on board. Airtable’s chief people officer, Johanna Jackman, joined Airtable in May 2021 with an ambitious goal to double the company’s headcount to 1,000 in 12 months. The three executives are departing today as a mutual decision with Airtable, but will advise the company through the next phase of transition, the company says. All three executives were reached out to for further comment and this story will be updated with their responses if given.

An Airtable spokesperson declined to comment on if the executives were offered severance pay. The positions will be succeeded by internal employees, introduced at an all-hands meeting to be held this Friday.

Executive departures at this scale are rare, even if the overall company is going through a heavy round of cuts. But CEO and founder Howie Liu emphasized, in an email sent to staff but seen by TechCrunch, that the decision – Airtable’s first-ever lay off in its decade-long history – was made following Airtable’s choice to pivot to a more “narrowly focused mode of execution.”

In the email, Liu described Airtable’s goal – first unveiled in October – to capture enterprise clients with connected apps. Now, instead of the bottom-up adoption that first fueled Airtable’s rise, the company wants to be more focused in this new direction. Liu’s e-mail indicates that the startup will devote a majority of its resources toward “landing and expanding large enterprise companies with at least 1k FTEs – where our connected apps vision will deliver the most differentiated value.”

The lean mindset comes after Airtable reduced spend in marketing media, real estate, business technology and infrastructure, the e-mail indicates. “In trying to do too many things at once, we have grown our organization at a breakneck pace over the past few years. We will continue to emphasize growth, but do so by investing heavily in the levers that yield the highest growth relative to their cost,” Liu wrote.

Airtable seems to be emphasizing that its reduced spend doesn’t come with less ambition, or ability to execute. A spokesperson added over e-mail that all of Airtable’s funds from its $735 million Series F are “still intact.” They also said that the startup’s enterprise side, which makes up the majority of Airtable’s revenue, is growing more than 100% year over year; the product move today just doubles down on that exact cohort.

Current and former Airtable employees can reach out to Natasha Mascarenhas on Signal, a secure encrypted messaging app, at 925 271 0912. You can also DM her on Twitter, @nmasc_. 



Source link

Continue Reading

Startups

Kubernetes Gateway API reality check: Ingress controller is still needed

Published

on

No doubt the new Kubernetes excitement is the Gateway API. One of the more significant changes in the Kubernetes project, the Gateway API is sorely needed. More granular and robust control over Kubernetes service networking better addresses the growing number of use cases and roles within the cloud-native paradigm.

Shared architecture — at all scales — requires flexible, scalable and extensible means to manage, observe and secure that infrastructure. The Gateway API is designed for those tasks. Once fully matured, it will help developers, SREs, platform teams, architects and CTOs by making Kubernetes infrastructure tooling and governance more modular and less bespoke.

But let’s be sure the hype does not get ahead of today’s needs.

The past and future Kubernetes gateway API

There remains a gap between present and future states of Ingress control in Kubernetes. This has led to a common misconception that the Gateway API will replace the Kubernetes Ingress Controller (KIC) in the near term or make it less useful over the longer term. This view is incorrect for multiple reasons.

Event

Intelligent Security Summit

Learn the critical role of AI & ML in cybersecurity and industry specific case studies on December 8. Register for your free pass today.


Register Now

Ingress controllers are now embedded in the functional architecture of most Kubernetes deployments. They have become de facto. At some point, the Gateway API will be sufficiently mature to replace all functionality of the Ingress API and even the implementation-specific annotations and custom resources that many of the Ingress implementations use, but that day remains far off.

Today, most IT organizations are still either in the early adoption or the testing stage with Kubernetes. For many, just getting comfortable with the new architecture, networking constructs, and application and service management requirements requires considerable internal education and digestion.

Gateway API and Ingress controllers are not mutually exclusive

As we’ve done at NGINX, other Ingress maintainers will presumably implement the Gateway API in their products to take advantage of the new functionality and stay current with the Kubernetes API and project. Just as RESTful APIs are useful for many tasks, the Kubernetes API underpins many products and services, all built on the foundation of its powerful container orchestration engine.

The Gateway API is designed to be a universal component layer for managing service connectivity and behaviors within Kubernetes. It is expressive and extensible, making it useful for many roles, from DevOps to security to NetOps.

As a team that has invested considerable resources into an open source Ingress controller, NGINX could have chosen to integrate the Gateway API into our existing work. Instead, we elected to leverage the Gateway API as a standalone, more open-ended project. We chose this path so as not to project the existing constraints of our Ingress controller implementation onto ways we might hope to use the Gateway API or NGINX in the future. With fewer constraints, it is easier to fail faster or to explore new designs and concepts. Like most cloud-native technology, the Gateway API construct is designed for loose coupling and modularity ­— even more so than the Ingress controller, in fact.

We are also hopeful that some of our new work around the Gateway API is taken back into the open-source community. We have been present in the Kubernetes community for quite some time and are increasing our open-source efforts around the Gateway API.

It could be interpreted that the evolving API provides an invaluable insertion point and opportunity for a “do-over” on service networking. But that does not mean that everyone is quick to toss out years of investment in other projects. Ingress will continue to be important as Gateway API matures and develops, and the two are not mutually exclusive.

Plan for a hybrid future

Does it sound like we think the Kubernetes world should have its Gateway API cake and eat its Ingress controller too? Well, we do. Guilty as charged. Bottom line: We believe Kubernetes is a big tent with plenty of room for both new constructs and older categories. Improving on existing Ingress controllers —which were tethered to a limited annotation capability that induced complexity and reduced modularity — remains critical for organizations for the foreseeable future.

Yes, the Gateway API will help us improve Ingress controllers and unleash innovation, but it’s an API, not a product category. This new API is not a magic wand nor a silver bullet. Smart teams are planning for this hybrid future, learning about the improvements the Gateway API will bring while continuing to plan around ongoing Ingress controller improvement. The beauty of this hybrid reality is that everyone can run clusters in the way they know and desire. Every team gets what they want and need.

Brian Ehlert is director of product management at NGINX.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

URGENT: CYBER SECURITY UPDATE