Every business wants to launch a website that is going to set them apart from the rest of the people in their industry. But hey, everyday 822,240 websites get connected to the internet adding to the list of 644 million websites that are currently online. All are fiercely fighting for the attention of visitors, but how many of them are really achieving that?

It is a scary fact, if you are thinking of launching your website. It would be even worse if some of them managed to land on your site, only to find out your website is riddled with mistakes.

Now the Good News: To get you ahead in this hyper-competitive battle, we have put together a list of 21 best practices. These tips may seem basic at times, but if used correctly, they can work wonders.

It is not an exhaustive website launch checklist by any means, but contains many useful favorites.

1. Proofread

Typos are embarrassing. Imagine a visitor landed on your web page, only to find out that you spelled the industry name wrong. Now you have made the process harder for this visitor to believe in your product or service, since you cannot spell it right.

Tools you can use

Keep these tools near you to save yourself from utter embarrassment.

Tool What It Does
Ginger Improve writing by checking grammar, spelling error.
Grammarly Eliminates writing mistakes and indicates how to enhance writing
Heminwayapp Detect complex sentences & provide hints to simplify the copy
Readability-Score Great tool to find out about how readable are your text.

2. Landing Page Review

Clarity is the key to conversion. A human being has an attention span of only 8.25 seconds. When a visitor reaches your page, within this short amount of time you have to make him understand the purpose of your website. Nobody will go through your help guide to find out what your product does.

Page Fights

Tools you can use

Tool What It Does
The Pit Honest feedback from the awesome folks at inbound.org, group moderated by Joel Klettke
KickoffLabs Free Live Landing Page Review by KickOff Labs
Page Fights Get your landing page reviewed by conversion experts Oli Gardner, Peep Laja & Tommy Walker
Unbounce Checklist A 50-Point Checklist For Creating The Ultimate Landing Page

3. Test Usability

Your website looks stunning; it can rival any Renaissance-era painting. Your friends cannot stop talking about how elegant your website looks. However, did it ever occur to you that you may have put too much importance on the design, and not enough on usability?

It is always a good practice to test the steps a visitor has to go through to complete any task. Find out where they get stuck and try to simplify the process.

Peek by UserTesting

Tools you can use

Check these tools to measure your site’s usability.

Tool What It Does
Peek by UserTesting Free 5-minute video of a real person using your website
Five Second Test Find out what people remember about your page in 5 seconds
Clue Do people really understand what you are trying to communicate?
Check My Color Check the color contrast of your page
Spur 7 different tools to critique your website and find out what’s working
Daltonize Color correction for color blinds or Color vision deficiency (CVD)

4. Choose Simple & Responsive Design

Dieter Rams Design Principles

What do Google, Facebook, Twitter, & all the major websites have in common? They do not go overboard with the design. It only takes a visitor only 50 milliseconds to judge (based on the look) of your website.  So stop thinking about all the complex website designing ideas you have in your mind.

Just pick a theme or template that’s responsive and can serve any device.  These days wherever you step foot, you will see people staring at their mobile phone. According to Flurry Insights, we spend over 3 hours a day looking at our mobile devices.

Tools you can use

Paste your site’s URL to below tool and check whether your current site is responsive or not.

Tool What It Does
MobileTest.me Test your websites in smartphone & tablet emulators
HubSpot Device Lab A tool built by HubSpot to test your site on different devices
Am I Responsive? Test how your site looks on desktop, laptop, iPad & iPhone
Responsive.is Check your site’s responsiveness on various devices
Responsinator The Responsinator is designed to test responsive websites on different device
Google Webmaster’s Mobile Guide Find out if your site is mobile friendly and how to implement the best practices.

5. Test & Fix The Bugs

Bugs

Browser compatibility testing should be one of your key focuses while launching a website. Your key features and styles should function across multiple browsers. Keep track of the releases of major browsers that might affect your website, since browsers are constantly developing and releasing new versions.

Tools you can use

Tool What It Does
Browsershots Convenient way to check browser compatibility
Net Renderer Check Internet Explorer compatibility
Browserling Live interactive cross-browser testing
Spoon Test your website on various browsers
Testingbot Cross browser testing with Selenium in the cloud
Markup Validation Check the markup of Web documents
CSS Lint CSS code quality tool

And, while you are at it check out this insightful answer in StackOverflow.

6. Set up Analytics To Know More About Your Visitors

Installing web analytics should be higher on your to-do list. Without having any web analytics installed, you will fail to understand your audience.

By using analytics, you will be able to understand what’s working and what’s not. Based on the analysis, you can refine your advertising, spending, and content. You will be armed with gigantic amounts of data. It is up to you now to decide how you can analyze the data and turn it into usable insights.

Donald Rumsfeld Known Knowns, Known Unknowns, and Unknown

Lean Analytics

Source: Big Data, We Have a Communication Problem

Tools you can use

Check out this free analytics application, it is just waiting to arm you with valuable insights.

Tool What It Does
Google Analytics Free & powerful program to track visitor analytics
Piwik Best Open source web analytics alternative to Google Analytics
OWA Another open source analytics application to track and analyze your visitors

7. Setup Webmaster Tool

If you are not still using any webmaster tool, start using one. It is a good habit to check the webmaster once a week. It lets you see how search engines see your website. And, with lots of critical information such as, which keyword brought traffic, submit sitemap, backlink profile, crawl rate, crawl error, mobile usability, security issues, and many other measurement factors.

Tools you can use

Check out the two most popular webmaster tools

Tool What It Does
Google Webmaster Tool Monitor & maintain your site’s status in Google Search result
Bing Webmaster Tool Helps you to add your website to Bing index crawler

8. Submit Sitemap

A sitemap is a list of your page URLs that helps search engine crawlers to discover & get a detailed understanding of your website. If your website is new and not lot of people linking to it, submitting sitemap to search engines through webmaster tools is one of the best ways to get your site indexed by the search engines.

Tools you can use

By using these tools, you can create a sitemap of your website

Tool What It Does
XML Sitemaps Build an XML sitemap online
XML Sitemap Generator Generate an XML sitemap

9. Monitor Website Uptime

Your precious website is up and running, all the hard work paid off. You went to bed hoping that when you check the site in the morning you will see the awesomeness. You got up in the morning, rushed to your computer, only to find out that your website was down. To save you from those moments, there are many tools out there.

Tools you can use

Checks below tools see if this helps:

Tool What It Does
Uptime Robot Monitor & get notified when your website goes down
StatusCake Website downtime monitoring

10. Backup Your Website

Backups are extremely important. According to the survey done by CodeGuard, 24% of the respondents said, “This site is my livelihood, I’d pay almost anything for a complete restore.” Prepare for the worst, you do not know when your website will be wiped out by a malicious application. You may have stored a copy of your original website, but you will lose all the historical data of your website. If you are using WordPress, you can read this detailed guide about WordPress Backups.

Tools you can use

But if you are looking for more advanced tools, check these tools

Tool What It Does
ManageWP Manage websites from a dashboard, update, backup, install and many more features
WP Remote Monitor and manage your WordPress sites from a single dashboard
InfiniteWP Manage updates, backup, install themes and plugins
BackupWordPress Automated backups for WordPress powered websites

11. Prevent Spam

Some marketers use not so creative way to market their product or services on the internet. Every time you login to your email or look at your website’s comments section, you see them flooded with get rich quick comments.

Tools you can use

Use these free tools to tackle these issues

Tool What It Does
Akismet Prevents comment spam
Disqus Add Disqus Comment System to create a better community
Limit Login Attempt Limit number of login retry attempts to eliminate brute force attack

12. Security

The Internet is still pretty wild, although it is getting better. Nonetheless, it is safe to have a system set up to prevent hackers so that they cannot vandalize your business. Use professional tools to constantly monitor security. And, it would be really awesome, if you have someone who really know their way around website security.

WordPress Security Attacks

Source: February 2015 Cyber Attacks Statistics

Tools you can use

Here is a list of some widely known security tools:

Tool What It Does
Sucuri SiteCheck Scan your website for known malware, blacklisting status, website errors, and out-of-date software
Wordfence Best WordPress plugin for securing your website
iThemes Security Another great plugin for WordPress to secure your website

13. Focus on Website Performance

website speed and abandonment rate

Source: Page speed and website performance should be treated as customer service.

A slow website only frustrates a user and you should not forget the previously mentioned short  human attention span. Microsoft studies show, you will lose visitors, if you are only 250 milliseconds slower, than your competition’s website.

Plus, after Google has placed emphasis on site speed as one of the ranking factors, it has become even more important.

Tools you can use

Run your website through the tools below and see what you should optimize to increase your page speed.

Tool What It Does
PageSpeed Insights A powerful tool built by Google to analyze and optimize your website.
GTMetrix Analyzes web page’s speed performance
Pingdom Website Speed Test Test the load time of your page & find out what element taking more time to load
Webpagetest Website speed test from many locations and browsers
Yslow Analyze the website based on Yahoo!’s rules for high-performance websites

14. Run your website Through a Grader

Modern technology is progressing at a lightning pace. It is easy to fall behind. And if you don’t have a technical team, it’s even harder to identify where did you fall behind. Like United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once said “But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

Tools you can use

Try these tools to know how your website ranks against the current standards and measure if your marketing efforts are lacking in certain areas.

Tool What It Does
Woorank Detailed overview of your site in terms of SEO, Mobile, Usability & Social
Quicksprout Analyze website, social media and competitor analysis
SEO Sitecheckup Get a detailed SEO checkup
Nibbler Analyze SEO, Code quality, URL format, internal linking etc.
Feed The Bot Check your site against Google Webmaster Guidelines
Hubspot Marketing Grader Review your website’s marketing effort
SEOWorkers Analysis Tool Analyze and measure your website’s ranking potential
Knowem SMO Check if your website is optimized for social sharing

15. Setup Permalink

URL plays a crucial role in on site search engine optimization. Setup permalink for your URLs to set unique, short & keyword focused URL for your post or pages.  Plus, making your URLs human readable is great for user experience.

See what Matt Cutts, Head of Google Webspam Team has to say about putting keywords in the URL

Matt Cutts – Is it better to have keywords in the URL path or filename?

16. Monitor Your Brand Mention

Only one bad testimonial is enough to destroy your online reputation. You should have brand mention monitoring set up to rectify those testimonials and lead to a more positive outcome.

Tools you can use

Below tools can help you in social listening

Tool What It Does
Google Alerts Set an alert for your brand and monitor the web
Mention Set an alert for your brand and find out what’s being said about you in all the social media
Topsy Search and analyze your brand mentions on Twitter

 

17. Target Keywords & Create Valuable Content

The Hopi native American proverb says, “Those who tell the stories rule the world.” Setting aside all the philosophy, content marketing can be a great source for unlocking steady organic traffic. A study published by Conductor shows, 64% of all website visitors come from organic search.

So, you know what you have to do, target a keyword that relates to your product or service and write valuable content on that subject. While creating content, keep in mind that people do not search for your solution, they search for their problem. Find out what your potential customers are asking online, try to identify their pain point. Then, create content that helps them to solve their problems. Another reason is that generally people will not buy from you, if they do not know what you can do for them.

Still, think it is not how you should compete with big brands; Check out what Matt Cutts, Head of Google Webspam Team has to say about creating content:

Matt Cutts – How can small sites become popular?

Tools you can use

Some valuable resources that will help you in your content marketing journey

Tool What It Does
Google Trends Find out what’s trending on Google Search
Google Adwords Keyword Planner List of keywords that people are looking for
Keywordtool.io Best alternative of Google Keyword Planner
YouTube Trends Dashboard See what’s trending on YouTube, based on location & age
faqfox Find out what people are asking online
Buzzsumo Find Successful Content
Open Site Explorer Analyze backlinks of successful content
CoSchedule Headline Analyzer Construct a perfect headline for your article
Blog Title Generator Generate blog title and get ideas
WordPress SEO by Yoast Optimize your website for better search traffic

18. Setup Newsletter And Build An Email List

You have done all the hard work; People came to your website, they liked your awesome product or content, but wouldn’t it be silly if you have to rely on search engines to get them back to your website again. They may forget or maybe it is hard to remember your product name after a long period. But, it would be helpful for both you and your visitors, if you set up a newsletter sign-up form and collect their email addresses. So, whenever you have some cool information that you want to share with them, they are just one email away.

Tools you can use

Some free tools to power your email marketing campaign:

Tool What It Does
MailChimp Send 12,000 emails per month for free
Icegram Capture leads from your blog
SumoMe Free tools to grow your website

 

19. Utilize Social Media

People mistakenly identify social media as a selling tool, but this is how you should not use social media. Formulate a social media strategy and use it as an engagement tool. A tool for listening to customers, gather some awesome testimonials. Use social media as a tool to connect to potential customers. Think of all the cool Facebook pages you have liked, you liked them because they are either funny, helpful, or kept you updated about a certain industry. No one wants to like a page who shares sales pitches, like an auto responder.

Gary Vaynerchuk on Social Media’s Multiplier Effect

Tools you can use

Some of the best tools to make your social media management less painful:

Tool What It Does
Buffer Must have tool, if you are looking for a post scheduler that can handle multiple social accounts
HootSuite Another tool for managing multiple social accounts
Followerwonk Learn about people who is doing the sharing
Canva A free design tool for creating images to post on blogs, social media

20. Create an Awesome Logo

Throughout history, logos have played a key role in representing exclusivity. All the iconic brands that you can think of, have a simple, yet memorable logo. The power of a good logo is often underrated. It creates an identity, makes you look unique and separates you from the crowd.

Aaron Draplin Takes On a Logo Design Challenge

Tools you can use

Use these tools to design a logo for your business:

Tool What It Does
Hipster Logo Generator Create a simple logo without touching any photo editing software.
Squarespace Logo Free logo generator by Squarespace

21. Create a Call To Action & Test It Often

So now, you have so many visitors to your website that you can fill a stadium with it. The average time on the website is quite high, so that means that they are enjoying the content, but none of them are taking the next step (buying your product /service or whatever objective you have).

Take a look at your website again. Did you tell your visitors what to do next? It can be possible that visitors are interested, but they are confused about what the next step is. To remove this confusion and guide them towards your desired action, place a button stating what people should do next.

Michael Aagaard – How To Write Calls-To-Action That Convert

Resources You Should Check Out

Check out these awesome articles to get a clear understanding about CTA placement:

How To Design Call to Action Buttons That Convert by Michael Aagaard

Everything You Need to Know About the Psychology of the Call to Action by Jeremy Smith

21 Call to Action Examples and 3 Rules for Effective CTAs by Kathryn Aragon

In this article, we talked about some powerful techniques and how to make your website distinguishable. Although it’s not like you have to follow all of them, requirements may vary according to the size of your business and how much time you are willing to spend on it.

P.S. Oh, and just one more bonus tool to add to our list, we are excited to announce that, we launched a responsive WordPress theme named Optimizer. You can customize any part of this theme without even touching any code and people are loving it. Try it for free!
Thanks for reading! Know someone who is  struggling with their website? It would mean the world to us if you shared this with them. 😀

Towhid
Towhid
Towhid is a Web developer & HubSpot certified Inbound Marketer. Co-founder of WPD and CMO at Optimizer WP. Love all things Football and very interested in how WordPress will change the industry.

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15 Responses

  • Really interesting post!! Lot of useful links. I’ve bookmarked it, and will certainly use it to improve our website. Thanks.
    – Roland

  • What a FANTASTIC step-by-step guide… with awesome tool suggestions. I learned of several great tools here today – thanks for taking the time to put this together and sharing it 🙂 🙂

  • Awesome round up and list of tools – thank you!

  • Thanks for the great post and links.

    Under the heading of proofreading, I should point out that you have a typo in your Optimizer button on the right side of the page: “WorPress”. Just thought you’d like to know!

  • Awesome … really great list of tools and also article information. You really have done a great job.
    Thanks for nice info’s 🙂

  • Amazing articles! Absolutely awesome! Thanks a lot!

  • I’m pretty astonished to discover my employer actually does all of these with a few minor exceptions such as the awesome logo (well, how lame is that) and spam prevention tools which are currently outdated to say the least.

    Don’t think we use a lot of these tools, its more like the company devs are taking care of it all personally but I am saving the article for future references for sure, many thanks for the great effort.

  • I think you forgot PHPlist (phplist.org) in the list of e-mail marketing software. It is the one I use and it is just as efficient as the commercial solutions you mentioned.

    Just my 0.02.

  • Mathias
    2 years ago

    Great article!
    A lot of very must-have tools.
    Thanks

    You might have just said a word about AB testing which is an awesome tool to enhance engagement on your website!

  • Howdy very nice web site!! Man .. Beautiful .. Wonderful .. I’ll bookmark your site and take the feeds also? I am satisfied to find a lot of useful information right here within the put up, we’d like work out extra techniques in this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

  • It’s going to be finish of mine day, but before finish I am reading this wonderful piece of writing to increase my knowledge.

  • Really nice article and a list of helpful tools.
    Nice Compilation.

  • Awesome … really great list of tools and also article information. You really have done a great job.
    Great article!

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