Planning to improve your website design? Download our printable checklist of the most important things to do before you launch.
Loading Speed – Your website should load and be ready to use in 4 seconds or less on both phones and desktop computers. There are two free tools you can use to check how fast your website is, the first is Pingdom and the second is called GTMetrix both of which are easy to find via Google.
Meta Title & Description – The page title that appears in search engines is like an advertisement for your page and is created via the metadata. The goal is to create aesthetically-pleasing or eye-catching listings in Google’s organic search results for your business. Google shows up to 70 characters (including spaces) of a page’s title and up to 156 characters (including spaces) of a page’s meta description tag in its search results.
SSL Certificate – An SSL certificate makes your website secure, improves customer trust and most importantly will improve your search engine rankings. Google mads SSL mandatory in 2018 and flags websites that do not have a certificate installed and display a warning message of ‘Not Secure’ on the URL bar. Installing an SSL certificate on your website is therefore a must.
Google Search Console – GSC is a free tool from Google that will help you keep an eye on the performance of your website in Google’s search results. Before you launch your website, set up an account with GSC to verify and add your wesite. You can then ask Google to crawl your website which may speed up the process of your site appearing in search results (although they don’t guarantee it)
Sitemap Submitted – A sitemap is essentially a table of contents for your website that can help Google find each page on your site and understand the hierarchy you have used. Submitting a sitemap can be done via the Google Search Console and will help Google determine what pages you have on your website so they can index them. Sitemaps can be made for free via xml-sitemaps.com
Google Analytics – Google Analytics is a free tool that allows you to monitor your website’s traffic in great detail and in real-time. You will need to login to Google Analytics and set your website up as a new entity. You will then be given a snippet of code which you will need to instead within the <Head> section of your website.
Bounce Rate – Once you have set up Google Analytics on your website, your visitors will be automatically tracked and their data stored. Over time you will be able to see the average bounce rate. This is an important number to keep an eye on as it is the percentage of people who are landing on your website and leaving straight away. A high bounce rate is anything over 60% and is a clear sign that something needs to be fixed.
Facebook Pixel – Facebook provide a small snippet of code that tracks visitors to your website. If you plan to run any Facebook or Instagram ads to your website then it is an essential first step. The pixel is the basis of audience targeting, retargeting and reporting. You can create and implement the Facebook Pixel from within the Ads Manager.
Mobile optimised – In Q3 of 2019, mobile devices generated 51.51% of global website traffic. That means your website needs to display correctly and load quickly on mobiles. Google provide a tool called the “Mobile Friendly Test” to work out how mobile friendly your website is. It will look at specific pages and your website as a whole.
Fix 404 Pages – A 404 error means that the page doesn’t exist and sending traffic to such pages provides a poor user experience. Google’s Search Console will crawl your website and identify any 404 pages so you can restore any pages that have been deleted by accident or set up a redirect to the correct page.
Optimise images – Your choice of images will dictate the personality of your website but, whatever that is, the images should be optimised to ensure the file size is as low as possible. This will ensure your website loads quickly and help with your SEO ranking.
Google PageSpeed – Google PageSpeed Insights is a website which will check the performance of your website and give it a score out of 100 for both mobile and desktop. A high score means your website has been built properly and will help with your SEO so it’s an important metric to check before you launch.
Website Designer & Facebook Marketing Expert
Simon’s has been helping businesses like yours grow through effective website design and facebook marketing for more than a decade.