Checklist for a new website
To launch a new website is now easier than ever. However, the installation of the content management system it is not enough.
There are a number of preparations and settings that you should carry out in order to make your website as friendly as you can for both your visitors and the search engines.
When you first launch a website, problems and mishaps are not only annoying, but they may scare away your early visitors, and will also impact badly on your search engine rankings.
Below you will find a checklist of 21 important tasks to complete when launching any new website. A website does allow you to indulge your hobby and passion. However it is also about making money as well. That is why it is important to focus on certain things. It is all about picking a topic with enough search volume and earning potential.
Some important questions to ask are:
- Is there enough search volume for the main keywords of the chosen topic?
- Is the topic still current in the recent months and years?
- Can you make money with this topic?
If you can answer these questions to your own satisfaction and you are also personally interested in the subject, then these are good prerequisites for success.
The right domain is one of the first steps for a new website. There are different approaches to picking a domain name.
On the one hand, you can put 12 matching terms in the domain. That makes it very clear what type of website it is. Alternatively you can also try using a branded name and therefore choose a more abstract domain name.
The ideal domain name will cover both aspects. The benefit of using a branded domain is that it will allow space for development.
And as a toplevel domain (the domain extension) usually lends itself to the home country then for England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland a .co.uk domain extension should be used.
Do not ponder too long on your final decision.
Choose of hosting provider
When building your first website then you should find a good balance between a good quality hosting company and a reasonable price.
Many professional hosting providers have entry-level tariffs to offer, so you can get started for a few pounds a month. CMS such as WordPress do not have exacting requirements, but on a few requirements you should still pay attention such as the SQL database and PHP access.
However, It is also important that you think about the future. If the number of visitor rises then just check with your hosting provider that an upgrade to a higher service is both possible and easy to do.
Content Management System installation
Whichever content management system you ultimately choose, you should take your time for the installation, especially if it’s the first time.
For the most popular CMS there are detailed installation instructions and tips on the Internet. You will find on YouTube a lot of instructional videos.
But you can not really do anything wrong during the installation. If it does not work as it should, you can simply start again from the beginning.
Here practice makes perfect and you will be able to do this and get started on your website.
Set Up the Basic Settings in the Selected CMS
There are a number of content management systems. These include Joomla, WordPress, Drupal etc. Depending on which of these you select you will have to make some adjustments.
These changes can affect settings for search engine optimisation, the format of the URLs or the comments facility.
Take your time and read the relevant instructions and explanations. Good CMS are mostly self-explanatory, but even for a beginner external instructions can be very helpful.
Important plugins installed
Many Content Management Systems can be extended with plug-ins and new features. These can be very useful and with WordPress there are a few plugins that are recommended for new blogs.
However, one should not overdo it. Each plugin makes the CMS tend to be a little slower, and safety can also suffer by not so well protected plugins.
So just wait until you realise at what point you would like additional options, and then look for a suitable and well maintained plugin for it.
Good and suitable layout furnished
The layout of your website is of particular importance. The first impression is important. The layout should therefore fit the topic of your website and be pleasant and straightforward, especially for new visitors.
With the right colours, matching fonts, a good quality logo and other elements can be at first glance a positive impact on new readers and also provide a good recognition for your brand and website.
Remove any Technical Faults
Before you launch your new website online you should make sure that there are no technical errors.
For this one should perform checks on the HTML and CSS. These are, for example, offered on validator.w3.org.
But even a purely visual one should ensure that there are no incorrect readings, missing images and font problems.
Test on all major browsers
It is also important to look at your own website not only in your own favorite browser, but also to the other widely used browsers. Potential visitors to your website will use different devices and different browsers.
This includes Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari.
And of course you should not forget the mobile view also, as more and more users are on the go via smartphone or tablet on the Internet. Google itself provides a test for the mobile view: google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly
Collected Content Ideas
Before, the new site goes online you should of course already have content on it. For this you initially have to collect some content ideas. Most come to mind spontaneously if you know your topic well. You can also collect more ideas by brainstorming, using a mind map, doing competitor analysis and other methods.
For writing new items there is nothing better than to already have an extensive collection of ideas.
A handful of useful content
Under no circumstances should you start with an empty site. The search engines do not like that, and should a visitor find it, the experience would be very poor. You should have at least a handful of articles already written before you put your own website online.
This first content should also be really good because you have to fight at the beginning for each new visitor.
Spelling and Grammar
Your articles do not have to be perfect. On the contrary, too much time spent tinkering with articles is wasting your valuable time. You do want them to be interesting and helpful to a visitor.
However, one should pay attention to spelling and grammar, and try to make as few mistakes as possible.
Before publishing a new article you should have at least read it once and made any necessary corrections. This is called a proof read and is a good habit to develop.
Designed Homepage for new readers
The Home page is of particular importance. Many new readers, will either come there directly or after they have previously read an article.
Therefore, the contents of the homepage should be designed with new readers in mind. That is, next to a brief introduction, what is your blog all about. The visitor should also be able to see the most popular articles, latest articles and important sub-pages should all be internally linked.
The aim should always be that the reader will immediately recognise what your site is about and made easy for them to find other content.
Legal & Privacy Statement
Always include any legal requirement pages for websites of all kinds. This is to help follow the law on the use of UK data. e are not legal experts but you can find out more by visiting this website: seqlegal.com/free-legal-documents/privacy-policy
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO has a bad reputation among many users. However, the basic measures of search engine optimisation are important so that the search engines like Google can find and index your website.
There are two types of SEO known as on-page and off-page. There are many guides as to how to do this. The big problem is that many of the SEO experts disagree on exactly how this should be done.
Loading time analysis
In recent months, search engines have increasingly placed emphasis on short loading times. It is also important for visitors that the site loads quickly. People searching online are impatient and they will leave is a website takes too long to load. That in turn means less traffic and lower revenues.
With the help of Google Page Speed Service Insights (developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights) you can analyse your own website and get optimisation tips.
How easy your website is to navigate often underestimated, since one can not measure this so easy with a tool. But for the user experience on your website the navigation usability is very important. The easier a website is to use, the better.
To know how your website is performing, what content is particularly popular and where there are problems, it is necessary to use an analytics tool.
Widely used is Google Analytics (google.com/analytics) because it is free and very powerful.
An alternative is e.g. Piwik (piwik.org) where you keep the data on your own server.
Either way you should make sure that the tracking is installed correctly and that you really use it to improve your website.
Few things are more annoying than having written much of your own content that due to technical problems or a hacker attack all or some of the content has disappeared.
With a good hosting service a backup should be made regularly, but there are also many useful CMS Plugins that offer this.
One should regularly backup the files themselves, but also the database so that you have a relatively current state of your website in an emergency, that you can quickly re-install.
Content plan for the first few weeks and months
Many new website owners and bloggers start with a lot of dedication, but after the first few weeks start to struggle. To avoid this, you should plan from the beginning a little bit ahead. A content plan for the next few weeks and months can help a great deal.
You do not have to plan every single article, but important content or important actions can and should be planned in the longer term.
There are quite a number of different views when you should begin to put money earning links and adverts on to your website.
Although it might not have to be from day 1, you should still begin relatively early. In this way, you collect a lot of valuable experience and can try some different types to see which work the best. This allows you to get better in optimising revenues and earn more.
In any case, one should plan from the outset both the layout, as well as the content that will be suitable for subsequent monetisation.
Nobody is perfect
That’s a lot of points in this checklist. This may cause some people to believe that it is a long process to prepare everything as optimally as possible.
However, one should never aim for perfection. It is impossible to gain absolute perfection and it would simply take far too long. Instead, you should get started and gain experience and feedback. The initial plans usually do not survive anyway.
Your first contact with readers is more important, so that you will learn and then you can make any adjustments.
Just ensure that you avoid large and serious mistakes at the start.