Creating a website is daunting. It can also be very humbling. Website Essentials for Small Businesses means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.
From the home page to the links, forms and sub-pages, figuring out what you want on your website is an all-encompassing exercise.
Your developer is supposed to be the ‘expert’ who knows what to do and what you need. Then you have a website designer; she/he is focused on the aesthetics and storytelling.
All of this can take forever (or hopefully no more than 3 months for your sake).
Finally the website is complete. Now what? It takes a lot of time to get to this point but you are certainly not finished.
Here are some steps I’ve outlined for you as checkpoints along the way of website development. Following that, I’ve compiled a to-do list of what needs to happen once the website is completed.
Don’t forget to communicate with your website builder, designer or developer about the follow items throughout the website build process:
- Step One: Keyword Research
What are the keywords and keyword phrases associated with your business? In other words, what do people type in to Google for your business name to pop up in search? There are several options available to do a thorough keyword analysis. Tools such as Ahrefs keyword explorer has a price tag, however their 7 day trial is well worth checking out. Google Adwords Keyword Planner is the prime resource for finding out exactly what your customers are keying in to find your website. Once you create a list of keywords and phrases, share it with your website developer to incorporate the words into your website’s content. A big boost to your website’s SEO is having keywords throughout your content.
- Step Two: User Experience
How simple is it to understand and navigate the website. Does it load quickly Will customers or website visitors understand how to contact you, purchase product or set up a meeting? Hubspot’s article on the User Experience outlines these 10 tips to simple make the UX better.
- Step Three: Prominent Call to Action
Are there simple clear, cut CTA (Call to Action) buttons throughout your home page and contact pages for clients/custoemrs to easily contact you? Is it a one or two step process–fill out a webform then submit, hit a call button on mobile or click an email button to write an email to the business? Checking your CTA on the backend is also a big key to a successful lead generation flow. Who gets the forms, phone calls or emails? Discuss this as a team prior to setting up your CTA’s on the website.
- Step Four: Attention Grabbing Graphics, Images and Video
When engaging with your website, do the graphics, images and video shout out to the User? Your branding, logo and color scheme could make a vast difference in how a user interacts with your website. If your colors are subtle, use a contrasting color to make buttons and frames pop. An explainer video on the home page or about page is ideal to showcase your brand and what your business is all about.
- Step Five: Backlinks and Internal Links
It’s one of Google’s best friends for finding your website. Backlinks from other websites and Internal links within your website are golden when it comes to the Google Algorithm. Don’t ignore them. Embrace the links.
- Step Six: Mobile Friendly Site
Mobile Friendly websites have been another top Google search algorithm key for the past 3 years. Talk to your website developer about Responsive versus Adaptive web design and what would make the most sense for your business. Read more from Google about the UX and What makes a good Mobile website.
- Step Seven: ADA and GDPR Compliance
GDPR incorporates strong rules on data protection in the EU, giving people more control over their personal data. The GDPR not only applies to organizations located within the EU but also applies to those located outside of the EU if they offer goods or services to, or monitor the behavior of, EU data subjects. It applies to all companies processing and holding the personal data of data subjects residing in the European Union, regardless of the company’s location. To learn how to become GDPR compliant, click here.
ADA compliance involves your website and the accessibility for those with disabilities to be able to use your website. There are many updated versions of the ADA for websites, but several points remain clear. For example, the ADA states: “Basic accessibility features in computer operating systems enable some people with low vision to see computer displays by simply adjusting color schemes, contrast settings, and font sizes. Operating systems enable people with limited manual dexterity to move the mouse pointer using key strokes instead of a standard mouse.” Read more here.
Checklist after the website is completed:
- Spell checks and link checks
- Submit your Sitemap to Google for Indexing
- Create and link a Google Analytics account to your website
- Register your site with Google Search Console
- Add Keywords, Meta-Descriptions and Alt-Attributes for SEO purposes
- Test webforms, Site Speed, ADA Compliance and GDPR Compliance