Today web site launching is a MUST for a business. With a bunch of tools and platforms, starting a website within 10-20 days is not rocket science anymore. Now you can build a modern-looking site even having no special knowledge in web design or coding. But to get a proper result, there are still some essential things you have to keep in mind.
Our partners from Weblium, who have experience in building a thousand new websites yearly, have collected tips and implemented them in a website checklist. Weblium is a next-generation website builder that uses new technology backed up by professional webmasters for creating effective websites for different businesses and purposes. This article is focused on the marketing aspects, but you’ll find the key tech requirements as well. It will be helpful for owners of small and medium businesses, who want to understand the basics. So here’s what you need to do.
#1. Backup website security
User’s security is an essential point on a website building checklist: when you create a website, you need to take care of an SSL-certificate. It is a strict requirement nowadays: to keep any website users data private and secured.
To meet these requirements, you can purchase an SSL certificate. The security socket layer establishes a safe connection between users’ browsers and servers. If you have got one, there will be a lock displayed in the address row prior to the URL, and the URL will start with https, not HTTP.
You can generate a free certificate on Let’s Encrypt or buy it at one of the Certificate Authorities websites, like SSL2BUY, NameCheap or GeoTrust.
A completely secure website is the one where an SSL that is properly set up and working correctly. When users click on a lock, they see the following explanation.
A website without SSL certificate looks differently, warning users that the resource they are visiting is not credible.
There is one more case: you’ve got an SSL, but it is installed incorrectly. For example, a part of the content is displayed in the code.
#2. Take care of the content quality
There are some simple rules that seem almost obvious: the content should be relevant, unique, and mistake-free. If you expect to paste anything just for search engine optimization purposes, you risk to end up with a high bounce rate due to the low quality “stuffing”. If you want to monetize a website, prepare something worth reading, watching, and spending time on.
After visual check (whether all elements are on proper places and nothing shifted), check the texts for mistakes in Grammarly and make sure they are plagiarism-free via Content Watch. You can also check the readability score. Don’t forget to add a clear call to action on every page that encourages to interact or order your services.
#3. Work on the responsive design
Website adaptiveness is a must in the world nowadays. People have several mobile devices to use in different conditions and environments, and mobile traffic share of keeps growing, currently generating 48.7% of global web traffic. Your website should look good on both laptops and smartphones; otherwise, there is a huge risk to lose your visitors, especially when you pay money to acquire them.
So before running a website, check it thoroughly on all possible tablets, mobile devices, and even huge screens, like a plasma TV. Traditionally, developers work on desktop, tablet, and mobile versions separately, with creating a new design and for each version, and then coding. After that, you need to test the site thoroughly on all devices and browsers.
However, there is a simpler solution: to use an AI website builder like Weblium. Thanks to it, you can skip this time-consuming phase and use a template that is already adapted for different devices.
#4. Keep out spam
Spam is always annoying, whether you are a website user or owner. The installation of CAPTCHA plugin will help you to protect web forms from bots and fake signups. Nevertheless, you will still need to run traffic and content analysis to detect suspicious activity, block words commonly contained in spam, etc. Besides, it will be good to have geo-replicated servers to withstand a DDoS attack and provide enough network capacity to endure a minimum 200% temporary traffic increase, just in case.
Spam filters are usually provided by website builders – you’ll certainly get all necessary settings if you decide to launch a website with Weblium. Otherwise, find a good anti-spam plugin.
#5. Pay attention to the website loading time
Use Google’s PageSpeed tools to test the loading speed. There is no sense in launching a web platform if it takes more than two seconds to load. The statistics show that pages loading over five seconds have a 38% bounce rate. If this exactly what happens with your website currently, spend some extra time on development and optimize the website. Don’t forget to check the speed for both desktop and mobile versions with the help of GTmetrix.
#6. Add meta tags on the website
Meta tags “title” and “description” increase PageRank and make your website look attractive among the search results or when someone shares it on social media.
- Meta title is a page name (up to 70 symbols) in Page name | Site name format, which should be unique, relevant to the page content, and contain keywords. Use the website name instead of “Home” on the homepage.
- Meta descriptions are short page overviews (140-170 symbols) that provide an insight into website or page content. The description should contain keywords and a call to action.
- H1 is a title tag that can be used once for each page. It should be unique and contain keywords relevant for the page content.
- H2 is also a title tag, but it is used for structuring the content. It helps to emphasize the most important parts and can be used several times.
- Alt tag is an image name visible for Google. It helps crawlers to understand what kind of media you’ve got on website pages, to index them and show among Google images.
Double-check all meta tags before adding them on website pages. If Google indexes titles with mistakes or typos, it’ll take some time to apply changes and get everything re-indexed. Meanwhile, users will see incorrect texts.
#7. Check the contacts and feedback forms
Some points on the web site checklist are obvious: email and address should be free of typos, a phone number should go as + 1 ХХХХ ХХХ ХХ ХХ. Also, make sure to add a ‘mailto’ and ‘callto’ tag to let users open emails and phones in one click on their devices.
A feedback form should contain only necessary fields – the fewer the better. It would be good to add some tips inside or under the rows, where you specify how to fill in the required information (what to type and what format to use). Don’t forget about the thank you message that tells users what will happen after they submit a form. Finally, run a couple of tests to check whether the form works correctly.
#8. Place social buttons
Social media buttons are a good idea that will be appreciated by both users and Google Webmaster. This is the fastest way to promote official communities on social networks, making your business more accessible and recognizable. It is also an additional trust factor. If a company has pages in social networks and posts regular updates, it invests in digital development and seems more professional and reliable.
#9. Create a 404 page
The next thing on your new website checklist is an attractive 404 page that opens when a user enters the wrong address. While creating your 404-page add a link to the homepage so users will be able to start the journey over again and find what they need. It is useful in relation to both SEO and user experience.
#10. Check the site for broken links
A broken link is an internal website link that leads to a non-existent page. After users click on such links, they get a 404 error. It happens when you have changed a page URL after placing it here or have deleted a page forgetting to delete the connection. There are many services you can use for this, including free resources. Here’s the one you can try out.
#11. Final check on website pages
Ensure that your website has all necessary pages indexed, and all those that shouldn’t be seen by search engines are closed and unavailable. Check whether:
- you have uploaded a favicon – website logo or corresponding letters;
- robots.txt file and XML sitemaps are present;
- URL addresses are working;
- main pages don’t show 404 or 505 error;
- main pages aren’t working on 301 redirects;
- margins and padding are indicated correctly.
Sounds overwhelming for the beginning, doesn’t it? The modern website builders, however, make the final check much easier. With Weblium, you know for sure which pages are displayed and which aren’t thanks to user-friendly CMS interface. Moreover, sitemap and robots.txt are generated automatically. Needless to remind that all the templates have been created for specific website types in accordance with the basic SEO requirements. You can edit both if needed. If you have a WordPress website, for example, install special plugins for these purposes.
So how to launch a website without forgetting about important things? Start with making a detailed prelaunch checklist that covers all the essentials. Include the steps mentioned above and feel free to add some more important things that come to your mind as you are preparing for the launch.
To make this process more carefree, consider using a website builder to create your site. Services like Weblium provide a complete toolkit for launching an effective web platform. In addition to attractive design based on the latest UI/UX trends, you get the basic SEO settings and a half of other essentials from your website launch checklist.
Title image: illustration from Ouch, free vector library
Review the checklist on icon design, read how to use icons on landing pages and learn how UX design builds trust for your website