Why you Need a Website Design Overview Checklist
Our Website Design Overview Checklist helps you make sure that your website is the best it can be. In fact, your website is likely the only Web property you own. Think about it for a second. You don't own your social media channels, you do not own your business directory entries, you don't own the backlinks to your site, and you don't own the browsers (though it would be nice to have a slice of Google). The great thing is, all of the Web properties that you don't own want to link to great websites. The sexier and smarter your website is the more the other sites want to be associated with you. It just makes them look good and it increases your website's position in search results.
The Website Design Overview Checklist
This Website Design Overview Checklist provides you with a mile high view of elements of a great website. Don't worry, I will cover many of items in the checklist in more depth in subsequent blog posts. I will link to articles and tools (as many free ones as possible) that will provide you with more information on how to develop that step for your own website. Also, we at The Alberta Writer can help you with any and all steps in this Checklist.
In this post, you will get the Website Design Overview Checklist and pro tips on the benefits of performing a keyword analysis.
Keyword Analysis - Tells you what terms to searcpeople useh for your goods, services, and information
Competitor Analysis - Tells you who your competitors are, where there traffic comes from, and how easy or difficult it will be to rank higher than them in search results for keyword terms
Wireframe - This is a black & white visual representation of your site used to ensure its correct layout
Identifying Site Elements - This ensures that you identify all of the elements you want on your site; from blogs to galleries and more
Name the Site - Pick a name for your site, but remember to use terms in your keyword analysis
Purchase your Domain Name - Even if you have a website designer build your site, purchase and register your domain name yourself. This makes sure that you have complete control over it
Gather Content - Prepare all of your content! Get your images together, your articles, your contact information, company address, mission statement, etc
Choose your Hosting Company - Hosting companies vary in customer services, cost, and in what they provide. Do a little research here. Again, purchase and register hosting yourself so that you have control over your website
Choose a CMS - A CMS (Content Management System) allows you to easily add third-party components, update your security, and add content. We at The Alberta Writer use WordPress wherever possible because of how easy it is to use. This makes it easy for our clients to add to their sites
PNG Versions of your Logo - Branding is huge! Make sure that you have various sizes of your logo available in .png format with the background removed
Corporate Colours - Again, branding is huge! Have your organization's colour codes ready and use them in the design
Prepare your Artwork - Optimize your artwork for the Web. In most cases, your image resolution shouldn't be more than 96 DPI (Dots per Inch). Some people say 72 DPI, but they forget that only PC screens show at 72 DPI, Mac screens show at 96
Add a Favicon - A favicon is a little image in the top left corner of a web page tab. Use your logo or an element that identifies your brand. There is free conversion software on the Web
Set Up Contact Forms - Set up contact forms and test them to make sure that you are receiving inquiry emails
Keywords - Make sure that your keyword terms are used in your titles, heading tags, alt tags, meta descriptions, content, and meta keywords
Create a Site Map - This is an HTML map of your website. It shows the website architecture and makes it easier for search engines to index your site. You can also submit maps to Google Webmaster Tools and to Bing Webmaster Tools
Submit Site Map - Create an account for Google & Bing Webmaster Tools and submit your site map to them
Identify Directories and Submit your Site - Directories are great for providing backlinks to your website. Backlinks give your website a boost in search engine rankings
Create Social Media Channels - Too many companies either don't use social media or only use Facebook and Twitter. Don't forget to search for social media channels related directly to your industry. All backlinks are good backlinks
Social Media Channel Linking - In the Description section of your social media channels, include a description of your organization using keywords and a link from your channel to your website. Also, link from your website to each of your channels. People love their social media
Google Analytics - Sign-up for Google Analytics and insert the tracking code in your website. This will help you to track how effective each of your web pages is
BLOG! - Blog, damn it! You have information that your targeted audience wants. Share it with them via a blog. This adds punch to your website, increases your site ranking, and makes you money
Make a Backup of Your Site - Make sure that you make a copy of your site at least once a month. This will help you to restore it should it get hacked or it's lost for some other reason.
Install Monitoring Software - Monitoring software can notify you practically instantly if anything out of the ordinary is going on.
Securely Store your Passwords - Make sure that your passwords are stored in a safe and secure place. You will need them if anything ever happens to your site, to install software, or to add content
Announce Cookies - Cookies are little pieces of code that websites use to track a user's visit. They can help with the load speed of a website and some countries have laws that state you must announce their use. Check to see if these laws apply to your website
Check Spelling - Go through your entire site and check your grammar, spelling, tone, tense, etc. Nothing screams amateur like sloppy writing. That being said, make sure the content is conversational and that it flows
Check for Broken Links - Check your links to ensure that they are all working correctly. This means external links, links to social media, internal links, etc. There are free, web-based tools that you can use to check for broken links on your site. I will cover these in a subsequent blog post
Cross Browser Testing - Check your site on all of the major browsers including Google, Bing, Yahoo, Duck Duck Go, Safari, etc. Sometimes sites don't show the same way from one browser to the next
Check your Contact Information - Don't lose sales because your email address or phone number is entered on your site incorrectly
Page Heading Tags - Each page should only have one H1 tag. It acts as the Title of the page. H2 tags act as heading one tags and so on and so on
Verify Site Responsiveness - Make sure that your website shows correctly across devices. There are various tools to check this, which I will cover in a subsequent blog post
Validate Code - Check all of the code for bugs and fix it is necessary
301 Redirects - 301 redirects allow you to push people who enter old site URLs to your new website. 301 redirects are also great to use if you have multiple domains and you want them all to point to one site
Invites - Create a bit of a buzz with your launch. Announce the launch date on social media channels and send invite emails to clients and friends. You could also offer specials only available on your website for the day of the a launch
Launch your Site - Enjoy your new site. Take some pride in it and keep it up to date
I hope that you have found the Website Design Overview Checklist helpful. It's not easy to create a great website and there is definitely more information that I could've covered, but this Checklist provides you with a good list of website design elements to be aware of. I'm going to cover many of the elements in the Website Design Overview Checklist in more depth in subsequent blog posts. For now, I will give you some information on what I think is the most important task to perform when creating any website, the keyword analysis.
Keyword Analysis - a keyword analysis provides you with a list of words and terms that your audience uses to search for your goods, services, or information. In addition, it gives you an educated guess on how many people search for those terms in a month and how hard it is to rank your web page for that term. Nice! Don't choose a domain name, write content, name images, or do anything until you perform a keyword analysis. In fact, if you don't perform a keyword analysis to create your website, you will lose out on some traffic to your website. It's the first step in everything including SEO (Search Engine Optimization). A huge factor in how high your website ranks in search engine results.
Keyword Analysis Pro Tips
- Use your primary keyword term as the name for your website - Even if you have a company, use a keyword term for to name your website instead. You can even have a second domain name with your company name point to your website. If you are a mechanic shop that services Red Deer, Alberta; name your website Red Deer Mechanic Shop. This will automatically boost traffic to your website and get you more sales. Your company name is not as important as what your company does and who it services.
- Place your keywords in page titles - Titles often don't show up on web pages, but they do in the search results and that is the first thing your audience sees. Keep titles under 70 characters.
- Keywords need to be in the meta description - the meta description is the little piece of text that is located below the page title in search results. Here is a picture of the meta description for this page (keep them between 150-160 characters in length or the browsers cut them off.
- H1 tags need it - Make sure that the H1 tag only appears once on each of your pages. It acts as the on page title (doesn't show in the browser description). Each of your web pages should only have one H1 tag. I know it's confusing. It took me some research to figure it out. H2 tags act as heading 1s, H3 as heading 2s, and so on.
- Place keywords in text links to other pages on your site (this is called In-Context Link Tex) - This tip is a sneaky one. The little bots that index your page love to see these links. It makes it easier for them to find out more information about your site. It's another great SEO tip.
- Menu Links - Placing your keywords in your menu items is another way to help your website get indexed by the browsers.
- Insert keywords into Image (alt) tags - Alt tags are snippets of code that name the images on your site. This allows Google and Bing to index your images. It then shows your images in search results for those keywords and boosts your page rank!
- You need to put keywords in the content and headings of your web page - I put this sh!% on everything! Here is a bit of a secret. Use synonyms and change up the word order. The Google algorithm is SMART! If you just pop in the same keyword term everywhere on the page, it starts to think you're keyword stuffing, a practice it doesn't like and will ding you for. So, just be natural with your writing. You don't need a ton of your keyword terms placed in your content.
Free Keyword Analysis Tools with Links to Training
Okay. So here are some great tools that will definitely assist you with your keyword analysis. Feel free to recommend some tools in the comments section.
- Google Keyword Planner - The Google Keyword Planner is probably the most recognized tool around when it comes to keyword planning. It will help you find seed words that you can use to find great keywords.
- Google Trends - I love Google Trends! This application allows you to track how keywords have trended over time and how they are currently trending. Using it can give you a leg up on the competition. Just imagine knowing a trendy word that your target audience is using and then being one of the first to create content around it. They will flock to you!
- Keywordtool.io - Keywordtool.io provides you with awesome long tail keywords. Long tail keywords are often easier to win a first page ranking for and can also be used as seed keywords.
- Ubbersuggest - This one's been around for a while and still offers up solid keywords. Use it to flesh out your list.
Paid Keyword Analysis Tools
I really love free tools. Freely sharing of content is the spirit of the Web. However, we all know that money motivates people. The tools in this next list are not free, but they are effective and might be a good bang for your buck. Total transparency here. I signed up as an affiliate for some of these tools. Heck! If you're going to use them anyway, I might as well make some money. I'm not promoting one over the other though so I won't tell you which ones I am an affiliate for.
- Long Tail Pro (Premium) - LTP accesses your Google Adwords account and finds great keywords. Create a new project and it finds you some awesome keywords for your campaign.
- SEMRush - This tool is a bit different. It allows you to see the keywords your competition ranks for. Once you know that, you can see which of those words you can beat them for and start getting that traffic to your website.
- Keyword Spy - Keyword spy is another tool that lets you spy on your competitors and lets you create keyword research campaigns. Another cool feature is allowing you to see your keyword rank by geographical location.
Well, there you have it. I hope you've found this information useful. Now you can create a website by checking off each task off of the Website Design Overview Checklist. Just to the right of the article, you can sign up to get email notifications for my blog posts. This way you won't miss the next post that covers more items in the Checklist in greater depth. The Alberta Writer! What's your story?
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