A Complete Checklist to Launching a Website

Launching a website is an extremely big task that needs to be completed as one of the first steps for its purpose, whether it’s an ecommerce store, lead generator or a service, a website is a great place to start.

The task is so large that you’re bound to have forgotten or incorrectly completed everything and that’s why as web design experts, we’ve produced a complete checklist to launch your website.

Within this checklist, we will cover web design and marketing for your website whilst also providing further free tools and paid online services to utilize to ensure your getting the best from your website. Don’t worry though, we not just telling you about these tools, we do as we preach, meaning we either do or have used the tools ourselves on our website.

Each check provided gives information regarding improving your website’s user experience to how to make sure everything is correct for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes for higher ranking on a search engines results.

Web Design

1. Check sites URLs are live and functioning properly

Look at your website and make sure it is live, each feature needs to be working. This could mean the whole website. To check your internal links are functioning, utilize free tools such as Google Search Console to check internal links and highlight broken links.

Google Search Console

2. Check site speed

A strong correlations exists between load speed of a site and bounce rate showing that this is an essential aspect of the creation of a website. You need to ensure that your site speed is running at optimal performance which is within the recommended timings. Check out your website performance through Google PageSpeed Insights which also highlights resolutions. We recommend looking at your imagery which can be incorrectly formatted and displaying large content which simple formatting would resolve.

For example, monitoring a website which has possibilities to optimize site speed, Google Analytics produces suggestions.

Google PageSpeed Insights

3. Make sure 404 page is setup correctly

Unless your meticulous in your website design, there will always be links that are incorrect or lead to previously deleted pages. It is essential to correctly set up a 404 (error) page to highlight to the visitor that there is an issue however they will still be within your website and its links to other content rather than web page not found pages.

4. Ensure the sites multi-device ready

Every website needs to be multi-device friendly which means that users can use all the features easily on different device platforms such as mobile, tablet or desktop. Ensuring this is optimized for multi-device usage is a large factor of Search Engine Optimization and you will want to be accessible from all devices to help conversion.

5. Check UX

Constantly create, check, refine your user experience throughout your whole website, from broken links to ease of navigation. An easier user experience is commonly linked to a positive reputation towards your website.

6. Create and manage site back-ups

Creating website back-ups secures yourself from the accidental mistake of your web host deleting your website. Even though your web host may produce back-ups, a surprisingly large amount of them actually do not make the files available to their customers. In the occurrence of a mishap, you will be able to react quickly to prevent missing out on sales and securing your peace of mind. There is many different features to create and manage site back-ups such as Dropbox.

7. Monitor site uptime

You will never want to miss a sale because your website or server was down without you knowing and you also don’t want to have to constantly check and waste your day. We advice investing in subscription softwares which provide recorded performance updates and instant email/SMS alerts so you don’t have to check. These services are quite difficult to find a reliable source.

8. Test loads for big traffic

Use online web pages and softwares which can provide the ability to test your website’s performance if a surge in traffic occurred. These softwares will provide the durability of the website whether site speed is dramatically affected or website failure. These statistics will enable you to customize and alter the website to perform optimally in the occurrence of a surge of online visitors.

9. Think security first (SSL certificate)

SSL Certificates are small data files which embed a cryptic key into a website preventing data theft. Website with the additional security will have a padlock feature within the address bar, this feature allows secure connections from a web server to a browser. We recommend every website to contain a SSL certificate however it is essential if they contain card transaction, data transfer and logins.

10. Set up development site

Create a development site which allows alterations to a current website or configuration in a website format without publishing your content live. This allows you to test out designs and work on visual aspects to enhance conversion once your site goes live. To create a development site, most platforms will provide guides to assist you such as Drupal.

11. Start a post-launch enhancement list

May you want to get your site live without every feature optimized or additional paid options which you can only implement once you have revenue from your website. Before you forget to include this alterations, during development, produce a post-launch enhancement list. Not only does this apply to features but also on content you’d like to expand and develop to keep up with SEO rankings. This additions could range from live chat features by providers such as Hablo Chat to left baskets accounts into email subscribers such as OptinMonster.

12. Double check your images

Use high quality images, you can initially rely on free stock images to provide a startup website however once you’re developing traffic, you will want to incorporate your own high quality images which represent your brand. These images will become a valuable resource however they will be wasted if they are incorrectly formatted or embedded within a webpage. If you’re unsure about your online images, check with a web design agency for support to ensure these images are formatted correctly to ensure optimal load speed.

13. Optimised for SEO

Research and include Search Engine Optimization tactics/opportunities, these will be valuable to enhancing your ranking on a search engine for specific keywords. Such items as tailoring meta tags and meta descriptions to alternative text for images will all help towards your website SEO, even though SEO is a practice against unknown ranking factors produced by the search engines, experience has lead to developing small insights into what are currently essential factors to incorporate.

14. Test your forms

Submission or contact forms will become the lifeblood of your website, you will rely on these features for visitors to complete call-to-action functions. Make sure the forms submission feature is working correctly and the resulting submission leads to the correct location which is monitored.

15. Test links

Don’t allow your visitors to become frustrated because your website is full of broken internal links which prevents them from accessing their chosen content. Work through the navigation of your site manually to check for broken or misleading links, alternatively take advantage of services which complete the task for you such as Ahrefs.com or Google Search Console.

16. Check web pages are compatible across browsers

Not every user will use the same browser such as Google chrome or internet explorer, make sure your web pages are compatible across every browser to appeal to the broad volume of potential visitors.

17. Favicon is in place and rendering properly

Favicon is the customizable icon associated with the webpage which once on your site will display within the tab section of the browser. Creation of these favicon is simple and can be completed through many web pages such as….. However make sure it is rendered correctly to be easily identifiable to your visitor.

Marketing

18. Auto-responders are working properly

Linked to your forms, if you use live chat features such as Hablo Chat, make sure that autoresponders are implemented to provide a positive user experience but also a to monitor customer satisfaction whilst you’re away.

19. Social media share icons work correctly

A huge marketing channel is social media, different social medias are more beneficial than others for specific tasks such as twitter for customer service. You must make sure that your website links directly to the correct page for an alternative method of contact to you. Integrate each feature within to show visitors how accessible you are.

20. Check for duplicate issues

Make sure your website does not feature duplicate additions such as content, imagerys or forms as this will affect your SEO. To prevent duplicates, ensure you produce original content and if the feature is already included, make sure the link is correctly formatted.

21. Avoid scraped content

Don’t use scraped content, this is the process of using a ‘bot’ to search competitive or linked web pages to collect content from the sources and produce similar content. Alternatively this can also be done by physically copying content from a different source.

22. Avoid duplicate meta tags

Meta tags are HTML attributes that provide an overview of the linking webpage. You will commonly associate them with the hyperlink in search engine results, but limiting yourself to duplications prevents a broad audience from accessing your content. Make sure that you research keywords within your target market utilizing sources such as Ahrefs or Google Adwords to find similar phrasing in your niche. Once you have optimized your meta tags, you’ll have increased the opportunity of click-throughs.

23. Install Google Analytics and create an account in Search Console

Use Search Engine analytics, for most of us that will be Google’s Search Console. The analysis will provide Google’s record of your website and provide hints and tips to improve your website. The better the website, the higher the ranking in the search engine for specific keywords results.

24. Do keyword mapping for your website

Before you produce any additional content or implicate a structure to your website, perform website saving research into your competitors. Using analytical sources such as Ahrefs or Google Adwords, you can identify the keywords associated with your niche and also similar phrases which may provide an easier integration into the niche but also as supporting phrases to include for SEO purposes.

25. Proofread your content

Any content that you produce will become discoverable on the internet, therefore any content your produce needs to be proofread by yourself and preferably by someone else. We recommend using a different individual as if it’s your content, you will become blind to the mistakes. A fresh perspective will allow any errors to be discovered.

26. Ensure the content is factual

Be factual, this will add to your user experience but people love to learn new things, this style will allow you to add informative content without being over elaborative.

27. Keep content style concise

You could be producing a lot of content with the prospect of adding backlinks to your site or production of high quality content. Make sure that the content you produce is consistent through all the content but also concise to your niche.

28. Create social media accounts for your brand

Be approachable from multiple social media formats such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and more specific to your niche. These social media accounts will allow you to promote products, answer questions and be a contact locations for potential customers.

29. Formulate USP

Generate your own Unique Selling Point, make yourself stand out from the competition. This does not mean re-inventing the wheel, your unique selling point can be a minor change to your competition within your niche. Once you have formulated your USP, market and promote this to make your website be unique.

30. Plan outreach and advertising

Produce a marketing plan, this is coincide with what you require to include within your website but also what channels you are going to aim to obtain traffic through. We recommend reviewing and analyzing competition and seeing how you can overtake them.

31. Set up your marketing tools
  • Google analytics suite – Free tool for everything you need to see how your website is performing via views and clicks
  • Charlie (CRM) – Customer Relationship Management – This tool will show possibilities to retain and attract new customers
  • Tweetdeck – Manage all your Twitter tweets from one location, the webpage supplied by Twitter offers the ability to schedule tweets from multiple accounts to assist with marketing over a large time period without committing everyday to the task.
  • Hemingway – Produce the perfect content, this online checking website performs analysis to highlight phrases which could be improved, whilst providing a difficulty of readability scale.

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