The New Website Checklist: What to Include Before You Launch

Camryn Rabideau / January 27, 2019

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As you build a website for your business, you might be uncertain about what qualifies as site “wants” vs. “needs.”

For instance, you might want a trendy layout that displays your latest Instagram posts, but this isn’t necessarily critical to your website’s success. Instead, you need features like easy-to-use navigation bars, search-engine-optimized text, and a user-friendly web address.

Before you dive into your “wants,” make sure you’ve checked off the boxes for every “need.” Consider this your new website checklist. It’s the bare minimum of items to have in place before you share your site with the world.

Website setup

Double-check the following features to ensure you’ve followed the website setup best practices.

1. Site host
A website host is the foundation on which you’ll build your site, so it’s important to choose a service that meets your short and long-term goals.

2. Domain name
Put some careful thought into your site’s domain name, as it will be crucial to your marketing efforts and search engine optimization (SEO).

3. Theme
Consider more than aesthetics when choosing a website theme. Take usability, mobile optimization, and functionality into account too.

Essential web pages

While no two websites will have the same exact content, there are several must-have web pages for any site.

4. Homepage
First and foremost, your website needs a search-engine-optimized homepage. SEO.com offers several tips for what to include on your homepage to interest visitors and improve your search ranking.

5. About me
Your “About Me” page will likely become one of your site’s most popular sections. Copywriter Susan Greene offers some helpful advice about what to include within this page to build trust and form connections with visitors.

6. Products or services
Whether you’re selling products or services, you need a page dedicated to your business offerings.

7. Testimonials
The Content Marketing Institute notes that 70 percent of customers trust recommendations, even from people they don’t know personally. So, if you have any positive testimonials to share, include them on your website.

8. Blog
Search engines reward websites that regularly update their content, which is why having a blog is crucial to your SEO strategy.

9. Contact page
Don’t forget to include an easy way for visitors to get in touch with you.

Important features

While they might not merit their own pages, the following features are also key to any new website.

10. Navigation
If your site is hard to navigate, you’ll lose visitors. Make sure your menus are easy to understand and use.

11. Calls to action
Whether you want visitors to sign up for your newsletter or make a purchase, you should include clear calls to action throughout your site.

12. User-friendly design
Always prioritize usability over aesthetics. It’s better to opt for a simple, user-friendly design than something complicated that could drive fans away.

13. Social media links
If you have social media profiles for your business, link them to your website. Consider using social icons or widgets.

Final tests before you launch

Before you click “publish” on your new website, run a few final tests to ensure that everything is in working order.

14. Forms
Test your contact, download, and newsletter forms to make sure they’re working properly.

15. Site speed
No one likes a slow website! Test your site speed with a free tool like Pingdom to see how you can improve its loading time.

16. Mobile optimization
Don’t blindly trust that your theme is optimized for mobile viewing. Use your smartphone or tablet to view your website via mobile and pinpoint any trouble areas.

17. Links
Double-check outgoing links to ensure they direct properly.

18. Protected pages
If you have any protected pages on your site, test that they work as planned.

Once you’ve checked off every box on this new website checklist, you’ll be ready to successfully launch your site!

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