So You’re Putting Up Your Own Website? A Helpful Checklist

The Closet Entrepreneur by Kendra Leah Fuller

By , @Writing2Day

I’ve been very busy over the past few days customizing and making tweeks to my new website.  It’s nowhere close to being done but as I’m working out the tweeks and kinks, it occurs to me that I need to remind myself of some of the basics when developing a new website.

First and foremost, “Keep it simple stupid!”  I shout this at myself because this time around I definitely need a reminder. I have not been actively pursuing web design for about three years now and my how the landscape has changed, especially when it comes to social marketing. I’m thinking back to my online retail store and what was going on with web design and online marketing at that point. Google AdWords was where it was at for our business, along with SEO pages that consistently ranked on page one of Google. Not much has changed as far as Google, it is still the end all, be all of search but now the world is full of tweets, likes, shares, diggs and whatnots.

Just a short three years ago I don’t believe I even had a Facebook account. I’m thinking MySpace was all the rage back then and quite frankly I had not jumped on that bandwagon yet. I had my hands full running my business and didn’t see why I would care to spend time on such a place. I am absolutely amazed how in such a short period of time, the internet has become totally social – not just on the social network sites. And now there are smartphones so people are engaging all the time with each other. People I know who can’t even make their house payment can’t do without that high dollar smartphone plan, go figure.

Socially engaging via the internet is all around us today and my personal theory is that society as a whole is becoming more and more introverted and hermitized, even as we share very intimate details of our lives for all to see. My guess is twenty years from now (maybe sooner) most of us will not venture outdoors unless absolutely necessary, choosing instead to stay in our bubble and only interact over the net. I digress… Where was this post going?

Oh yes, “Keep it simple stupid!” My basic checklist for a new website:

  1. What is the purpose of the website? Know what your goals are for your website and stick to them. It is very easy to get spread too broad. If you find your websiting is branching out in other areas, maybe it’s time to consider a separate website. Example: I put up my writing website for a couple of different reasons. First off, I wanted someplace to showcase my writing and hopefully start to gain followers before my first novel is published (pre-marketing so to speak). Second, I wanted a place for writers to come together to encourage and support one another (don’t know why I’ve always wanted to do a forum). And third, if I can pick up a little extra change by helping them promote their books on Amazon, that works for me. Am I going to get rich with this? No. Bottom line, I think I just like to have a website going on. But I do have to remind myself what my goals are for the site or it will end up being all inclusive and lose focus.
  2. Create an outline for your website. This will become the basis for your navigation. What are your main categories and their subcategories?
  3. Keep the design simple, quick loading, and don’t use too many different fonts (personally I think flash intros should be banned). Enough said.
  4. Incorporate the social media widgets and gizmos but be careful not to go overboard. (Don’t look at my site for an example of this yet. I have way too many things going on simply because I am checking them all out at the moment to see what they do and how they work. Many of them will be tossed off the screen shortly.)
  5. Search Engines people! Contrary to what many will say, I do not think search engines are rocket science, nor will I guarantee you first page on Google (run fast and far from anyone who claims they can). However, common sense and a few fundamentals have consistently landed my websites near the top of the rankings. Three things you must do: Page Titles, Keyword Metatags and Description Metatags. Repeat after me, “Titles, Keywords, Descriptions.” Do not go overboard here but do try to use keywords in your page titles, put relevant keywords specific to each page in your metatags, and use the keywords in the description of the page. Do not skip this step.
  6. SEO Content Writing. Again, without going overboard, be sure your keywords are included in your content. These last two steps will work together to get the rankings you want but you would be surprised how many websites out there don’t do these basics.
  7. Speaking of search engines, be sure to submit a Sitemap to Google when you are done. As your website grows, update the sitemap and resubmit. You might as well help Google find your pages as soon as possible. Submit your site to other search engines, as well.
  8. Robots.txt – Look it up on the net for examples. Every website should have one. This is a simple little file that tells the spiders and crawlers where to go on your website so they can index your pages.
  9. Check all links on your website. Yes, each and every one. You don’t want people landing on “This page can not be found.”
  10. Most web hosting comes with some sort of analytics which can be very helpful in improving your site down the road. I like Google Analytics. It’s free and simple to use. You will need to copy and paste code into every page you want to track, so it’s easiest to set this up at the beginning.

There you have it. This checklist was as much a reminder to myself as it was hopefully a help to you. I haven’t pushed a website up from scratch in quite a while so this was a nice refresher for me.

See Related Posts:  #webdesign #webhosting #domainnames #ecommerce #shoppingcarts


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