Look Before You Launch: A Website Checklist for New Business Owners
Launching a website is exciting, but it also involves a lot of work. There are lots of little things that can go wrong, so here’s a checklist for everything you need to do before launching your website.
Create and Check the Content
First of all, you are going to need to fill your site with content. That means service pages, product pages, an about page, a home page, and all the other pages that you will need. You may also want to have a few blogs ready to post as soon as your site goes live.
Once you have created the content, upload it to your website and read through it all for errors. Also make sure you have deleted any placeholder text you had in place.
Make sure your content is also optimized for important keywords to help with your SEO, and ensure it is written in a way that is easy for people to read on screen (e.g. short sentences, bullet points, subheadings, etc).
Check the On-Page SEO
As well as including keywords in your content, there are other on-page SEO factors to take into account. Before you publish your site, go through all of the main pages and make sure you have a title tag and meta description.
This is one of the most important first steps in setting up your site for good search engine optimization. This is also where you might want to look into specialist online marketing services like those from POET Media.
Make Sure It Is Mobile Friendly
Modern websites need to be optimized for mobile visitors. Not only will many of your visitors come from mobile devices, but you will also get penalized in mobile search if you do not have a mobile friendly website.
This usually means using a responsive design, and this will ensure your website displays correctly no matter which device is being used to view it.
It also means using content and images that look good on mobile devices rather than crowding the screen and making it awkward to use.
Test All the Forms
You will probably have a number of forms on your website, such as contact forms, so make sure you test these.
You don’t want lots of potential customers contacting you only to find that they cannot get in touch, and this could end up costing you business, so test that all of your forms work properly.
Test Its Speed
As soon as your website is live, test its speed. A slow-loading website is one of the worst factors in causing traffic to bounce, and it can also hurt your search visibility.
Use Google PageSpeed Insights or another speed tester to find out how fast your site is, and to work out what needs changing to increase the speed.
Check the Images
Make sure all of your images look great on your site, and get rid of any that you used as placeholders. Also test how fast they load—they should be properly compressed to speed up load times. You should also add alt text to each image as well to make sure the search engines can index them.
Test the Links
You will probably have lots of links on your webpages that point to other pages on the site, and now is the time to go through each and every link to make sure it is working properly. Fix any broken links to improve the user experience for your visitors.
Set Up a 404 Page
If someone clicks on a bad link or types in your URL incorrectly, you should have a 404 page in place. This is the error page that displays, and you can customize it. Use a tone of voice that fits your brand, and direct readers to the home page or another page on your site so they don’t leave in frustration.
Set Up Google Analytics
Make sure you set up an analytics platform up and running. Google Analytics is free and very good, but there are others you can use. Make sure it is in place when the website goes live so you can start tracking visitor behavior immediately, which is essential for effective marketing.
Is It Compatible with All Browsers?
Finally, check whether your website is compatible with all the main browsers. You don’t want to find later on that some people cannot view your website properly, so check this and get your web developer to sort out any problems.
Keep On Improving Your Site
These are all things that you can do to ensure your launch goes as smoothly as possible. However, once your site goes live, don’t stop improving it.
Make sure you keep on collecting feedback from users, and put someone in charge of making change and fixing bugs. Then ensure you keep on providing the best experience to users.
Charlie Phillips started her online business close to a decade ago and is most self-taught in her business skills. She now feels she has enough success stories under her belt to share some of her tips with other business owners.