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Basic Website Build and Launch Checklists

Launching a new website can be an exciting but daunting task, with many factors to consider to ensure a smooth and successful launch. From designing the website and creating content to ensuring its functionality and security, many steps are involved in bringing a website to life. To help streamline the process and ensure that no crucial steps are missed, website launch checklists can be a valuable tool for businesses and individuals.

Website Requirements Checklist

  1. Define the website’s purpose, target audience, and business goals.
  2. Create a website map that outlines the website structure and hierarchy of pages.
  3. Determine the website design style and branding, including colors, fonts, and imagery.
  4. Define the website content and copy, including text, images, and multimedia.
  5. Determine the website functionality and features, including forms, search, shopping cart, and payment processing.
  6. Define the website technology stack, including the web server, programming language, and database.
  7. Determine the website performance and speed requirements, including load and server response times.
  8. Define the website security requirements, including SSL certificates and firewalls.
  9. Determine the website accessibility requirements, including compliance with ADA guidelines and WCAG 2.0 standards.
  10. Define the website maintenance and support requirements, including backups, updates, and bug fixes.
  11. Determine the website analytics and tracking requirements, including Google Analytics or other tracking tools.
  12. Define the website hosting requirements, including server specifications, bandwidth, and uptime guarantees.
  13. Determine the website SEO requirements, including on-page optimization and keyword targeting.
  14. Define the website marketing and promotion requirements, including social media integration and email marketing.
  15. Determine the website budget and timeline, including development, design, and ongoing maintenance costs.

Information Architecture Checklist

  1. Define the purpose and goals of the website.
  2. Identify the target audience and their needs.
  3. Create a list of content and functionality needed for the website.
  4. Group the content into categories and subcategories.
  5. Define the navigation structure for the website.
  6. Consider the use of breadcrumbs, faceted navigation, and other navigation aids.
  7. Ensure that the website is easily searchable.
  8. Create a sitemap to show the hierarchy of pages.
  9. Define the taxonomy for the website.
  10. Ensure the website is accessible and usable for all users, including those with disabilities.
  11. Test the website with users to ensure it is easy to use and navigate.
  12. Review and refine the information architecture based on user feedback and website analytics.

Website Usability Checklist

  1. Clear website navigation with intuitive and easy-to-find menus
  2. Consistent branding and design elements throughout the website
  3. Mobile responsive design that adapts to different devices and screen sizes
  4. Fast website loading times to minimize bounce rates
  5. Use of simple and easy-to-read fonts
  6. High-quality images that are optimized for web
  7. Clear and concise page titles and headlines
  8. Use of whitespace to enhance readability and visual appeal
  9. Use of contrast to distinguish important elements from the background
  10. Clear and concise copy that is easy to scan and read
  11. Consistent use of formattings, such as bullet points and subheadings, to improve readability
  12. Use of descriptive and relevant internal links to improve website navigation
  13. Clear and easy-to-use website search functionality
  14. Use of clear and concise calls to action (CTAs)
  15. Use of breadcrumbs to show users where they are in the website hierarchy
  16. Consistent use of language and terminology throughout the website
  17. Clear and easy-to-find contact information, including phone number and email address
  18. Use of social proof, such as customer reviews and ratings, to build trust and credibility
  19. Clear and easy-to-use forms with clear instructions
  20. Use of error messages to guide users through form submission errors
  21. Use of security measures, such as SSL certificates, to enhance website trustworthiness
  22. Accessibility for users with disabilities, including alternative text for images and keyboard accessibility
  23. Use of responsive design to optimize website layout for different devices
  24. Clear and concise 404 error pages to guide users back to the website
  25. Easy-to-find help and support resources, including FAQs and customer service options.

Website SEO Checklist

  1. Conduct keyword research to determine relevant keywords and phrases for the website.
  2. Optimize website content for keywords and phrases, including headlines, meta tags, alt tags, and body copy.
  3. Ensure that the website has a clear and concise structure that is easy to navigate.
  4. Use descriptive and keyword-rich URLs for all pages.
  5. Create unique, high-quality content that adds value to users.
  6. Use internal linking to create a hierarchy of pages and to distribute link equity throughout the website.
  7. Ensure that the website is mobile-friendly and responsive.
  8. Improve website load speed by optimizing images, using a content delivery network (CDN), and minimizing HTTP requests.
  9. Use social media to promote the website and build backlinks.
  10. Create a Google My Business listing for local businesses.
  11. Monitor website traffic and engagement using Google Analytics.
  12. Continuously review and refine SEO strategies based on website analytics and industry changes.

Website Migration Checklist

  1. Back up the existing website files and database.
  2. Create a new hosting account and server environment.
  3. Install the necessary software and configure server settings (e.g., PHP version, MySQL version).
  4. Set up a domain name and DNS settings for the new hosting account.
  5. Upload the website files to the new hosting account.
  6. Create a new database on the new hosting account and import the existing database.
  7. Test the website on the new server environment to ensure all pages and features work correctly.
  8. Update any hard-coded links or absolute paths in the website code to reflect the new domain name or URL structure.
  9. Set up 301 redirects for any changed URLs to preserve SEO rankings and avoid broken links.
  10. Update third-party integrations or APIs to ensure they point to the new server environment.
  11. Update any internal links on the website to reflect the new URL structure.
  12. Update website tracking and analytics codes to ensure they work correctly on the new server environment.
  13. Test the website on different devices and browsers to ensure it displays correctly.
  14. Update any necessary DNS settings, such as MX records or SPF records.
  15. Change the domain name servers (DNS) to the new hosting account.
  16. Monitor the website after migration to ensure it functions correctly and fixes any issues.

ADA Compliance Website Checklist

  1. Using alt tags and captions, provide text alternatives for all non-text content, such as images, videos, and audio files.
  2. Ensure that all website functionality can be accessed using a keyboard without relying on a mouse or other pointing device.
  3. Provide clear and descriptive link text rather than relying on generic phrases like “click here.”
  4. Ensure all website content is easy to read and navigate, with clear headings, subheadings, and lists.
  5. Ensure that all forms on the website are accessible to users with disabilities, including those using assistive technologies like screen readers.
  6. Provide a way for users to adjust the website text size and contrast to make it easier to read.
  7. Ensure website content does not cause seizures, with no flashing or blinking elements.
  8. Ensure that website videos have closed captions or transcripts for users who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  9. Ensure that website images and videos have descriptive captions or alt text to assist users with visual impairments.
  10. Use accessible colors with sufficient contrast between foreground and background elements.
  11. Ensure that website design and layout are consistent and easy to understand.
  12. Provide an accessibility statement or policy outlining the steps to make the website accessible.
  13. Conduct regular accessibility testing and audit, and make necessary changes to ensure ADA compliance.

Website CRO Checklist

  1. Identify website goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure website performance and optimize for conversion.
  2. Conduct website audits to identify areas of improvement, such as website design, content, and user experience.
  3. Analyze website traffic and user behavior using analytics tools to identify user pain points and opportunities for optimization.
  4. Develop customer personas to understand target audience needs and preferences.
  5. Conduct A/B testing to experiment with different website elements, such as headlines, call-to-action buttons, and page layout, to improve conversion rates.
  6. Optimize website forms and checkout processes to reduce friction and improve user experience.
  7. Implement chatbots and live chat to improve customer service and provide immediate assistance to users.
  8. Use retargeting ads and email marketing to bring users back to the website and encourage conversion.
  9. Optimize website loading speed to reduce bounce rates and improve user experience.
  10. Monitor and analyze website feedback, such as customer reviews and ratings, to identify areas of improvement.
  11. Use social proof, such as customer testimonials and case studies, to build user trust and credibility.
  12. Implement exit-intent popups and lead-generation tools to capture user information and improve conversion rates.
  13. Conduct user testing and surveys to gather feedback and identify pain points in the user experience.
  14. Develop a clear and compelling value proposition to communicate the website’s benefits and encourage conversion.
  15. Monitor and analyze website performance and adjust website elements to improve conversion rates.

Website Security Checklist

  1. Use a secure and reliable hosting service with HTTPS and SSL certificate.
  2. Keep all software, including CMS and plugins, up-to-date with the latest security patches and updates.
  3. Use strong, unique passwords for all accounts, and enable two-factor authentication wherever possible.
  4. Restrict access to sensitive areas of the website, including the admin panel, to authorized personnel only.
  5. Install a firewall to block unauthorized access attempts and protect against DDoS attacks.
  6. Use encryption for all sensitive data, including user data and payment information.
  7. Regularly back up website data and store backups in a secure location.
  8. Use a security scanner or tool to detect vulnerabilities and malware on the website.
  9. Monitor website logs and activity for any suspicious or unauthorized access attempts.
  10. Use a web application firewall (WAF) to protect against database injections, cross-site scripting (XSS), and other attacks.
  11. Disable file uploads to prevent malicious files from being uploaded to the website.
  12. Use CAPTCHA or other methods to prevent automated attacks, such as brute-force login attempts.
  13. Limit file permissions and user privileges to minimize the risk of a security breach.
  14. Educate website users on safe browsing practices and how to avoid common phishing and malware scams.
  15. Have an incident response plan in case of a security breach, and be prepared to respond quickly and take action.

Website Credibility Checklist

  1. Display contact information, including a physical address, phone number, and email address, to show that the website is legitimate and trustworthy.
  2. Use a professional, well-designed website layout that reflects the brand and provides a positive user experience.
  3. Ensure that website content is accurate, up-to-date, and free from errors or misinformation.
  4. Use high-quality and relevant images, videos, and other multimedia content to enhance the user experience and add credibility to the website.
  5. Use testimonials, reviews, and social proof to show that the website and its products or services are trustworthy and reliable.
  6. Include clear and detailed information about the company’s history, mission, and values to help establish credibility and build trust with website visitors.
  7. Provide detailed information about the products or services offered, including features, benefits, and pricing, to help visitors make informed decisions.
  8. Use secure payment processing and other security measures to protect user data and build customer trust.
  9. Display trust badges, such as SSL certificates, security seals, or business accreditations, to show that the website is secure and trustworthy.
  10. Make the website accessible and easy for all users, including those with disabilities, to show that the website values inclusivity and accessibility.
  11. Provide helpful and informative content, such as how-to guides or educational resources, to demonstrate expertise and establish credibility in the industry.
  12. Use a clear and transparent refund policy and customer service process to show that the website values customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  13. Publish content regularly, such as blog posts or newsletters, to show that the website is active and engaged with its audience.
  14. Avoid using aggressive or misleading marketing tactics, such as pop-ups or clickbait headlines that may damage the website’s credibility and trustworthiness.
  15. Respond promptly and professionally to customer feedback, questions, and complaints, demonstrating that the website values customer engagement and satisfaction.

Website Speed Checklist

  1. Optimize images and other media files to reduce file size without sacrificing quality.
  2. Minimize HTTP requests by combining and reducing CSS and JavaScript files and using CSS sprites for images.
  3. Enable browser caching to store frequently accessed content locally on the user’s device.
  4. Use a content delivery network (CDN) to deliver website content from a server closest to the user’s location.
  5. Reduce server response time by optimizing server configurations and using a fast and reliable hosting service.
  6. Enable Gzip compression to reduce the size of files transferred from the server to the user’s browser.
  7. Minimize the use of external scripts and plugins, and only use those that are essential for website functionality.
  8. Use lazy loading for images and videos to only load content when needed, reducing initial page load time.
  9. Reduce the number of redirects and broken links to prevent additional HTTP requests and delays.
  10. Optimize website code, including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, to reduce file size and improve loading speed.
  11. Use a fast and efficient database and caching system to reduce the time needed to retrieve and display website data.
  12. Minimize large or unnecessary background images or videos that can slow page load times.
  13. Use a responsive design and avoid using separate mobile and desktop versions of the website, which can increase load times.
  14. Monitor website speed and performance using tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom, and make necessary optimizations based on the results.
  15. Regularly test website speed and performance, and make ongoing improvements and optimizations to ensure the best possible user experience.

Website Analytics Checklist

  1. Set up a web analytics tool, such as Google Analytics, on your website to track visitor behavior and website performance.
  2. Define key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your business goals, such as conversions, bounce rate, and session duration.
  3. Configure website goals like form submissions or purchases to track conversions and measure website success.
  4. Use event tracking to measure user interactions, such as clicks on buttons or links, and monitor engagement with specific website features.
  5. Implement cross-domain tracking to track user behavior across multiple websites and domains.
  6. Set up enhanced e-commerce tracking to track sales and revenue data, product performance, and customer behavior.
  7. Use custom dimensions and metrics to track specific user behavior or website features unavailable through standard tracking.
  8. Monitor website traffic sources and channels to identify where visitors are coming from and optimize marketing efforts accordingly.
  9. Use demographic and interest data to understand visitor characteristics and tailor website content and marketing messages accordingly.
  10. Monitor website speed and performance using tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights and monitor how it affects user behavior and engagement.
  11. To improve performance and engagement, use A/B testing to test and optimize website elements such as page layout, headlines, and call-to-action buttons.
  12. Analyze website data regularly and make data-driven decisions based on insights gained from the data.
  13. Create custom reports and dashboards to track specific KPIs and monitor progress toward business goals.
  14. Monitor website security and implement additional measures like a web application firewall.
  15. Ensure website analytics complies with data privacy regulations, such as GDPR and CCPA, by obtaining user consent and implementing appropriate measures.

Website QA Checklist

  1. Check website design and layout to ensure consistency and usability across all pages and devices.
  2. Test website functionality, including navigation, forms, links, and multimedia content, to ensure all features work correctly.
  3. Verify that all website content is accurate, up-to-date, and free from errors or typos.
  4. Check website loading speed and performance, and optimize images and other media to reduce load times.
  5. Test website responsiveness and compatibility across all major web browsers and devices, including mobile phones and tablets.
  6. Verify that all website links are working correctly, not leading to 404 errors or other issues.
  7. Test website search functionality to ensure it works properly and returns relevant results.
  8. Test website accessibility, including keyboard navigation and screen reader compatibility, to ensure all users can access and use the website.
  9. Verify that all website forms are working correctly and sending data to the correct destination.
  10. Check website security measures, including SSL certificate and firewall, to ensure the website is secure and protected from malicious attacks.
  11. Verify that website analytics and tracking tools are working correctly and that data is collected and analyzed accurately.
  12. Test website backups and disaster recovery processes to ensure website data can be restored in case of a security breach or other issues.
  13. Test website load capacity and scalability to ensure the website can handle high traffic and users.
  14. Verify that all website third-party integrations, such as social media or payment processing, are working correctly and securely.
  15. Conduct user acceptance testing (UAT) with real users to verify that the website meets their needs and expectations.

Website Maintenance Checklist

  1. Regularly update website software, including the content management system, plugins, and themes, to ensure the website remains secure and performs optimally.
  2. Perform regular website backups to ensure that data is not lost in the event of a security breach or technical error.
  3. Monitor website uptime and performance using website monitoring tools and take necessary actions to resolve issues.
  4. Regularly check for broken links and fix them to improve user experience and search engine optimization.
  5. Review website content regularly and update it to ensure it remains accurate, relevant, and engaging.
  6. Monitor website traffic and user behavior using analytics tools and adjust website elements accordingly.
  7. Monitor website security using tools such as firewalls and malware scanners and take necessary actions to resolve security issues.
  8. Update website contact information and other vital details, such as copyright notices.
  9. Regularly review and update website SEO strategies, including keyword targeting and metadata optimization.
  10. Monitor website forms and other interactive elements to ensure they function correctly.
  11. Ensure the website complies with relevant laws and regulations, including data privacy and accessibility guidelines.
  12. Test website compatibility across browsers and devices to ensure it is accessible to many users.
  13. Regularly review website design and user experience to ensure it meets user needs and expectations.
  14. Ensure that website hosting and domain registration are current and renewed as necessary.
  15. Develop and maintain a disaster recovery plan to ensure the website can quickly recover from unexpected outages or errors.

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