By Marie Barnes

Given the technological leap in the modern era, the best thing you can do for your business is to take it online, as this broadens your consumer base. And nothing screams authentic and professional like a business with a website. So it’s always an exciting time to launch a website for your business. However, as exciting as it may be, an underperforming website can easily do some considerable damage to your brand.

As such, it’s key to make sure the website is properly set up before launching it. Here is our website checklist with 9 essential things to check before launching your business website.

1. Review Your Content

It’s common knowledge that content is king when running an online business. From videos to texts and everything in between that helps communicate the ideals and personality of your brand is essential to content marketing.

Therefore, it’s important that you make painstaking efforts to edit and proofread your texts; this includes articles, headers, “call to action” and even testimonials to ensure that they align with your intended goals.  Doing this even gives you time to revise content marketing strategies if need be. Having checked this off your list, you’ll be one step away from building a truly competitive brand.

One major boosting factor of the SEO ranking of every website is links; however, broken links do the opposite. Any website riddled with broken links gets flagged by Google for lack of proper maintenance, which lowers SEO rankings, and your website will be no different. But all this can be avoided if you observe due diligence, check your website for broken links, and replace them if any. And no application does a better job at checking for backlinks that Google analytics.

3. Replace Placeholder Images

Oftentimes, web designers use placeholders to either indicate where images should be to have a clear view of what the overall design of the website would look like. But imagine a scenario where placeholder images are left unchanged before taking a website online. If that doesn’t scream unprofessional, then nothing else will. And all it’ll take to avoid such an embarrassment is to simply replace the placeholders with actual pictures.

4. Test for Functionality

Next on our website checklist is functionality. Research shows that the average attention span of a person is 8 seconds, and that’s usually how long it takes for users to either stay on your website or move on to the next one. And it doesn’t help the situation that there are hundreds of thousands of websites in your niche on Google.

Therefore, you can’t afford a website that’s non-responsive or has subpar functionality. So, a good course of action will be to inspect and test the functionality of your website before launching it. This including checking for elements like the speed of the website, internal and external links, comments, and social media sharing, just to mention a few.

5. Store Password and Credentials Safely

By this point, many people, from designers to developers, have already come in contact with the website. It’s safe to assume that changing the password and keeping it safely stored somewhere will go a long way to shield you against any future incidents.

6. Audit SEO Implementation for Errors

A website checklist would not be complete without SEO. It’s common knowledge that search engine optimization (SEO) is very essential to every website because it’s what makes your website appear in search results. As such, you’ll be doing a great disservice to your business if you don’t give it a second or third glance before launching your website. That means you should optimize the titles, meta descriptions, and keywords of the individual pages to ensure that the pages of your website rank organically.

Needless to say, a careful audit of these essential elements will go a long way to increase your chances of appearing amongst the top 10 or 15 websites in Google search results.

7. Secure Your Site with an SSL Certificate

In a digital age where information means money, people need to feel protected before giving out details of themselves on your website, hence, you need to protect your website with an SSL certificate. Not to mention the fact that the Google Chrome browser broadcasts to people if a website isn’t secured.

So, although the security of a website doesn’t directly influence SEO search results, it’s quickly becoming an essential factor in lead conversion.  The bottom line is, nobody wants to visit a website that doesn’t assure security. So, before you launch your website, make sure to secure it.

8. Ensure the Proper Citation and Licensing of Images and Other Content

If history is anything to go by, then you know that the penalties for the theft of intellectual property can be very steep. Imagine getting sued for a website you launched not too long ago simply because of copyrighted pictures or other content. In retrospect, it’s not with it, so it’s to avoid it altogether. 

9. Backup the Website

Sometimes, a simple backup can either make or break your business and a lack thereof is an error only made by amateurs. Backing your website up is an excellent way to prevent data loss as well as shielding against malware. In some cases, you might even need to restore our website to previous settings, which will be impossible without a backup. Therefore, make scheduled regular backups at identified backup locations before launching your website.

Launching a website is one of the best decisions you can make for your business for obvious reasons. On the other hand, it can severely hurt your brand if proper care is not taken. And oftentimes, there are some most common errors that cause such problems. The good thing is, by taking our website checklist into consideration, you can avoid these errors right at the early stages before they bleed into your business.