Launching a website is its own ball of wax. The ever-changing trends, design elements, UI/UX, and shifting demand that marketers have to stay on top of have only intensified in 2021. Instead of having to go back and forth after designing your website, it helps to cross-check everything against a comprehensive website checklist before your site launch.
Don’t get us wrong, you can always come back to course-correct later on if you ever need to, but it always helps to stay on top of a few issues before they can hurt your chances of ranking later on (such as forgetting to set up redirects – those can be costly!).
Here is our round-up of 90 things you should check to improve SEO and usability.
Crawl Your Site to Find Issues With Indexation and Accessibility
First thing’s first: make sure your website is accessible to both humans and search engine bots. Website indexation is important because if Google is unable to crawl it, then it won’t know that your web page exists.
Set Up Google Analytics
Google Analytics will let you track your website’s performance for page views, organic traffic, conversions, time spent on site, and other important details.
Prioritize Website Speed
Speed can be a deal-breaker for SEO results. The longer it takes your website, the lower your chances of ranking higher. It is just as important to prioritize loading speeds on mobile.
The Website Should Load Across All Devices
If you don’t get this right the first time around, then fixing it could be difficult (and expensive) later on. This is why you should build a responsive website that can load easily on both mobile and desktop devices.
Mobile First CRO
Brands should be thinking mobile-first to improve conversion. This means that the design should be fully optimized for use with mobile devices, including navigation, smart search, as well as the UX.
Optimize the Website for Local SEO
Local SEO can be a source of huge traffic for most businesses, especially if they have maintained a physical presence such as retail outlets and restaurants. Focus on on-page SEO optimization that focuses on keywords such as, “pizza in New York”.
Discuss Information That is Specific to the Location
Write on information that is specific to your location. This could include information for users to get to your office, your contact details such as phone number, and email address.
Crawl Your Old Website
This applies if you have an older website. Use a crawling tool such as Screaming Frog to crawl your existing website assets and pages. This is an important step to help you determine which pages existed, the current structure of metadata, and the redirects that are currently in place.
Write a Compelling Meta Description
Ensure that your meta descriptions make actual sense, and aren’t just filled up with exact match keywords for the sake of it.
Use a Compelling Title Tag
Similar to the above advice, you’ll need to fill out this information to help search engines find you.
Use One H1 Header on Your Page
H1 pages can be used as a wrapper for your page’s title. Just don’t fill it with exact match keywords if it doesn’t fit there.
Create Goals for Your New Site
Once you have plugged in the gaps, you can start creating design goals. Depending on your business outcomes, you could focus on visuals or ease of use. Just make sure both are performing well from an SEO point of view.
Choose a Robust CMS
A ‘robust’ CMS allows you to make quick structural and visual changes to your website on the go. The best SEO-friendly CMS for beginners would be WordPress – but you can explore others.
Ensure a Consistency in Brand Design
People love consistency when it comes to brand design. This means you should rely on the same logo and menu structure throughout the website. Also, try using the same color schematic in all pages.
Create an SEO Strategy
It is important to have an SEO strategy planned before you start working on your website. This includes having keyword research, finding out which pages are necessary, and deleting pages that are no longer important.
Find a Primary Keyword to Focus On
Your website should target a primary keyword depending on the nature of the web page.
Optimize Content Based on Search Intent
Search intent dictates how a user types out their query. If your page does not align with this, then your chances of ranking will go down. Look into voice search engine optimization.
Check to See if the Keyword is Accessible to You
Some keywords are harder than others. When starting out, focus on the easier ones. Use the keyword difficulty tool at SEMrush.
Create Conversion paths
Figure out how users will navigate around your site to complete certain goals (such as a purchase or shopping cart). If there are any hurdles along the way, fix them.
Fill Placeholder Images with Final Images
Often times your website designer may use a placeholder for images if they didn’t have the correct picture at the time. You’ll have to make sure each page has the right assets.
Evaluate the Content for Accuracy
The content on the site must be proofread for spelling and grammar. Hire an editor if you don’t have the time to do this yourself.
The Content Should Align With Your Brand
The text has to be properly strategized to ensure it is consistent with your brand’s style.
Correctly Implement Styling Preferences
Styling preferences include paragraphs, lists, headers, and brand colors, including button and link colors. It is recommended to keep these consistent throughout.
The Website Design Should be Visually Pleasing
CSS files are often used to power your website with design elements. If so, make sure it is optimized for all pages.
Create a Site Backup Strategy
Minimize the chances of data loss through malware attacks and other problems by creating regular backups.
Create a Strategy for Passwords
After you’re done launching your website, make sure to reset all your passwords.
Create a Site Map
This is an important step that will help search engines find content on your website.
Make Sure All Your Assets are Properly Licensed or Cited
Outsourcing web design to a third party does not absolve you of your duty to make sure there are no copyright issues. Otherwise, you could be on the hook for hefty lawsuit settlements.
Test Everything for User Experience
This includes checking for compatibility across all websites, browsers, and making sure that all the images and videos are working as they should. Content you’ve hidden behind paywalls should also load properly.
Create a Robots.txt File
This file instructs search engines what they can and can’t do on your site.
Configure Google Search Console
This powerful tool lets you track your search performance and see which keywords you are currently ranking for.
Test the Site for User Experience Before and After the Launch
This will be an ongoing process and requires constant review from an expert. Check CSS, HTML, internal linking, external linking, etc.
Third-Party Tool Integration
Some tools probably won’t be working with your website or are incompatible. Check to see if they are compatible.
Ensure That Your Backups Run Properly
The backup strategy you implemented should be reliable. Go back to see if it the copies can be accessed.
Ensure That Your Site is Secure
Update your plugins on a regular basis (if this is applicable to you). You will also need HTTPS to do well in search ranking.
Comply With Regulatory Laws
Make sure your website complies with all applicable laws and regulations. It may help to get in touch with an attorney.
Create a Social Media Strategy
Once your website is up and running, you’ll need a social media strategy to get user attention.
Identify New Ways to Boost Engagement for Your Site
Find interesting ways to promote your content in engaging ways. Provide freebies and exclusives to your users as an incentive.
Have an Email Checklist
If you have an existing email checklist, you may want to provide them with an update about your new website.
Promote Your Website for At Least One Month
You will have to continue promoting your website on an ongoing basis.
Check Out Brower Compatibility
Your website should be fully functional on all major browsers including Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari.
Set up 404s
Create custom 404s to ensure you don’t lose a visitor who mistypes something on your website.
Are Your URLs Correct?
Your URL can play an important role in site navigation. Make sure all the major URLs are leading to the right pages. If not, take care of them.
Make Sure You Have CTAs
If you are selling a product or service, you’ll need a CTA strategy throughout your pages.
Install an SEO Plugin
If you have a WordPress website, make sure to install Yoast SEO plugin.
Check for AMP Compatibility
If you are using Google’s AMP to reduce website loading time, then consider using an AMP tester tool to see if everything is configured properly.
Does the Share Feature Work?
Make sure all your social media buttons are working smoothly.
See if the SSL is Working
You don’t want Chrome warning your users that your website is ‘not secure’. To ensure this doesn’t happen, use an SSL.
Get Rid of Spam
You will have to fight off spam. To this end, use an anti-spam tool on WordPress.
Update the Timezone
For WordPress websites with lots of plugins, we recommend setting up a consistent timezone for timely maintenance.
Delete Unwanted Plugins
There may be some third-party plugins that you no longer need. They will eat up resources even if they are idle. Remove them.
Include Google Map for Navigation
Help your users find out your address with greater ease with the help of Google Map on your website.
Feature Social Media Widgets
Boost engagement and interaction with users using social media widgets.
Set up a Google My Business Page
A GMB profile can easily boost your website’s chances of discovery. So create one and optimize it properly.
Use a Tagline
Always use a tagline to make sure visitors get a quick summary of your content and site.
Enter the Prices
It helps to enter a pricing strategy on your website to help users manage their expectations.
Adjust for Horizontal Screening
If your content is stretched beyond the screen width of user devices, then it will annoy users. So make sure your web page’s width does not exceed the visitor’s browser.
Add Descriptions to the Images
Inform your visitors about the purpose of each image.
Create an FAQ Page
An FAQ page can do wonders for your SEO and inform users about the questions that they often think of.
Make Information Easier to Access
Is the information on your website easy to access? Use the 3 click rule to ensure that users don’t have to click more than 3 times to find something they’re after.
Is Your Information Too Disorganized?
If so, you’ll have to break it down into proper segments.
Are Your Forms Too Tedious?
Your forms should not ask more questions than is necessary. A few fields asking basic questions is all you need.
Optimize the Site for Disabled Users
Check to see if your website is accessible by users with disabilities, especially those with vision problems.
Do You Provide a Search Feature?
If you have a lot of content on your website, make it easier to find with a search tool.
Use Short URLs
Do you have short URLs that are instantly recognizable? If not, make sure they are consistent with your brand strategy.
Is Navigation Simple?
Make sure your website provides an easy path for users to find information. Provide menus, buttons, and fluid layouts.
Use Anchor Text
An anchor text lets your users know where each link will take them.
Does the Design Guide the Eye?
Use color, size, and position to create a specific flow of navigation for your website.
Do You Have Negative Space in Your Website?
Try to provide negative space (or white space) to your users so they are not bombarded with too much information.
Does Your Content Look Too Much Like an Ad?
No one likes an intrusive ad. If your content looks too much like one, users will probably ignore it.
Does Your Logo Bring Users Back Home?
The site’s main logo should always link back to the home page.
Have You Made Proper Use of Color?
Avoid placing dark colored text against a dark colored background otherwise, it will be hard to find info. Same goes for light on light.
Does the Site Have a Consistent Structure?
Make sure to include lots of headings, lists, and a unifying structure that connects each page.
Use Relevant Graphics
If the graphic assets on your website seem irrelevant, users won’t find it intriguing. Make sure these images tie in with the rest of your content.
Cut Down on the Animation
A few animations don’t hurt. But if you fill up the websites with too many animations, you’ll likely encounter difficulties.
Check for Broken Links
Do your links work when clicked upon? If not, fix them.
Internal and External Linking
Internal links are very important because they provide users with information on other areas of your website.
Add Schema Markup
Schema markup makes it easier for Google to find your website.
Write a Compelling Intro
This is important because it will increase engagement with users and give them further reason to keep reading.
User Shorter Sentences
Don’t use corporate jargon. Don’t use big sentences. And definitely don’t use unnecessary adverbs. Keep things simple and easy to read.
Create the Best Content Possible
Offer your users with actionable advice and value when they read your content.
Remove Duplicate Content
Duplicate content can hurt your SEO. Use a site auditing tool to find duplicate issues.
Don’t Use Splash Page if it’s Not Necessary
Some users don’t appreciate splash pages and just want to get into the meat of the content.
Include a Review Page
The review page will provide your users with social proof about your business.
86. Build a Clean Citation Profile
This will serve as the foundation of local SEO. Use tools such as Synup and Yext to help you make one.
Obtain Supplier Links
Businesses that use a specific manufacturer can utilize existing relationships to build backlinks.
Write a Local Guest Post
This can be an ongoing process. Find guest posting opportunities with this search on Google: “guest post” + industry.
Run a Contents
Running a unique contest for your audience is an effective way to pick up local coverage and build backlinks.
Run Pay Per Click Campaigns
PPC ads are campaigns targeting specific locations to capture more traffic, sales, and leads. So there you have it, a list of 90 things you should be on the lookout for.