Checklist for successful website

There is not a one size fits all solution to make your website successful or increase visit traffic. However, if you take a closer look at some of the most successful practices, there are quite a few key options that stand out. The following checklist can be used to do a check-up on your website, and make sure it contains these key settings and properties, which can significantly contribute towards the popularity of your website by visitors and web search crawlers. These improvements can be actioned by any small business entrepreneur to increase their web exposure, drive more traffic to their site, and ultimately make more sales.The Successful Website Checklist.

The Content

  1. Do you have a CMS / Website Editor? Content is first and the most important

    2.       Add a picture of the owner on either the home page or about page.

    3.       Place the name of the owner on either the home or about page.

    4.       Do you have a contact form on the contact page and the home page?

    5.       Add a Terms & Conditions page. It will make your site more reliable for users.

    6.       Can users easily find the purpose of your website within 10 seconds?

    7.       Check Spelling & Grammar. The best practice to put your text in Microsoft Word first.

    8.       Update the website regularly. Best practice to put article each day, worst 2 article in week.

    9.       Set up an event calendar showing planned occasions for the month. Events are very common for really busy people that can help to make a meeting in some definite time period.

    10.   Brief description of your company’s history. You can just put info about yourself and your career.

    11.   Major headings stand out. That is really important for SEO.

    12.   A custom 404-error page. This is not necessary, but important to have link to your home page back after such error.

    13.   Offer something for free (i.e. ebook, product samples, etc). People like to download useful content for free.

    14.   Create keyword rich titles for each page on your website. That is must.

    15.   Create user-friendly page links (i.e. www.yourdomain.com/your-link). Each blog engine should support this feature.

    16.   Make sure the important content is above the fold. It can be done by most popular articles widget.

    17.   Styles and colors are consistent. That is connected more to web design, but content should be stylish too.

    18.   Use testimonials to create a sense of trust. It is better to put counters of your readers, twitter account followers, page rank, alexa counters if has it.

    19.   Make sure your website explains how they will benefit from your site. Reader should know what he subscription will be in future.

    20.   In your contact form, ask users how they found you. Also put attachments feature in your contact form for better and fast communication with your visitors.

    21.   Make sure your online forms don’t ask for too much information. It is necessary to have validation for email address, all next features are not so important, but it is better to have first and last name, location, phone number.

    22.   Replace any ‘Click Here’ links with more descriptive links (ie. Download this PDF). It is the most common mistake for optimization your site. Because google can find a huge number of keywords like “Click”, “here”… You don’t need such links and keywords.

    23.   Add downloadable content to your website (i.e. MP3s, Videos, PDFS, WMV etc). As I already said people like to download something for free.

    24.   Make sure all your links don’t open in a new window. If this links are in your site. When link to external page it is better to have target=”blank” tag parameter.

    25.   Add a contact form to your home page. Even if it’s in the footer, this will increase your conversions. It is not always help when you have good pools and comments features.

    26.   Test everything. Do your contact forms work? Do your download links work? It is better to use some validations for broken links too.

    27.   Make sure the text size isn’t too small. Remember there are different size monitors, so not everyone will see the text at the same size as you. The common resolutions are 1024*768 and 1200*1024.

    28.   Use whitespace in your website. Don’t try to cram everything into one small space. Spread it out.

    29.   Break up large paragraphs of text with photos and sub headings.

    30.   Only use ‘bold’ to highlight important parts of the content. If you highlight too much of the content it reduces the effectiveness.

    31.   Can your readers understand the content? For example, don’t use a simile or quote that only people in your part of the world would understand.

    32.   Talk to the reader directly. For example, instead of saying, “We provide our products to over 100 people worldwide”, say, “We can provide our product to you anywhere in the world.”

    33.   Make sure each page on your website has a goal and achieves it through the content (i.e. Encourage user to fill out the contact form).

    34.   Make sure there is a good contrast between the text and website background.  The most easily read content is dark text on a light background.

    35.   If there are a lot of pages, do you have a breadcrumb navigation setup? Breadcrumb navigation is normally just above the content and it provides links back to each previous page the user navigated through to get to the current page.

    36.   Use professional good quality photos on your website. Unprofessional photos can have a negative effect on your brand. Wares sites are not good choice for this.

    37.   Use header tags (H1, H2, etc) to highlight headings instead of just increasing the font size. Also it is good practice when you put <b> and <strong> tags in something important in your content.

    38.   Make sure you provide a physical address to your business.

    39.   What is your USP (Unique Selling Point)? Do you explain this clearly to your readers?

    40. Make an offer that visitors can’t refuse. Give them something really cool for free.

Web design

1.    Homepage is attractive to look at. No W3C validation mistakes. Design is on the second place after content.

2.    Easy To Use Navigation. Everything is convenient and user can easily navigate without scrollbar.

3.    Contact details are easily visible. This includes email, phone, address etc. If you have official company address it is better to include it with google maps.

4.    Logo is clearly visible. It is better to hire web designer for logo design in different colors.

5.    Fonts are readable. The best readable font it is Verdant 12px (just stupid statistics).

6.    Create an eye-catching logo. This advice connected to 4, but here is meaning not just visible, but it should be memorizable for user.

7.    Make sure the navigation is in the same position on every page. That will help to improve usability.

8.    Any flash in the design is minimal. Flash content is bad for SEO and a lot of banners are really make site ugly.

9.    Create a tagline that will describe your website’s purpose in a single statement and place it in the header. It is good practice to put it in H1 tag and title too.

10.Compatibility – Does it work on every browser? Cross-browsernes is really important, especially for IE (IE6 must die)

11.Optimized graphics and scripts so the page loads quickly. That can be easily made with help of optimization tools.

12.Add a favicon to your website so that your users will have a nice icon when they bookmark your site. It will help find your site in many other sites, it is better to have same log and favicon.

13.Make sure any ads and banners are not too distracting. The best practice to have same color banners and your ads should be with same font and colors.

14.Keep it simple. Very simple. The best approach for success is to be so understandable and intelligible.

15.Make sure the logo links to the home page. It is always on the header and in the footer of the each page.

16.Add a search box to your site. Search can be working on comments too.

17.Don’t copy the look of another website. Be unique. That is really huge problem with blog templates, but somethimes it is better to have some really cross-browser and simple template without unique features.

18.Reduce unnecessary graphics, as they will slow down your page load time and clutter the page. You can always optimaze all images with help of Photoshop and you can save them with deacreasing of quality or resolution.

19.Add the main navigation links to the footer of your website. It is good when you have really comfortable footer coordinates copy for main page of you web site.

20. Reduce choices. Don’t overwhelm your visitors with too many choices.

21.Keep to 2-3 main colors throughout your website.

22. If using flash for the navigation, make sure you include a text link navigation in the footer.

23.Logo Redesign – Does your logo need an update?

24.Website RE-Design – How old is your website? Often a website redesign can re-ignite your website’s growth.

25.Make sure your website is not using a template design. Again, be unique.

 

 Social Media

1.    Set up a Forum for your readers to interact with each other.

2.    Create an online poll.

3.    Set up a Blog.

4.    Set up an RSS feed for your blog.

5.    Submit your RSS feeds to aggregator sites like FeedBurner, Squidoo, Feedboy, FeedCat and Feedfury. And other cool software for rss.

6.    Write an article related to your site and submit it to article sites like ezinearticles, goarticles, webpronews and articledashboard.

7.    Use Social Media. For example Facebook, Twitter, Vkontakte etc.

8.    Create a Yahoo Group and yahoo account for looking at your back links.

9.    Create a Facebook Fan Page with Like button in your main site.

10.Bookmark your website on Delicious, Digg, Google, and Twitter.

11.Sign up to Stumble.

12.Create a Technorati account and claim your website/blog. Claim your blog RSS in it.

13.Add a ‘Tell A Friend’ button to your website.

14. eNewsletter – Have you set up an email subscription list?

15.Update your blog regularly, more than 2 times in week, especially at first 3 month.

Other Features

1.    Do you accept Online Payments? Put “Buy me a bear” widget on your site for some donations.

2.    Set up Google Analytics to track your statistics. It is must!

3.    Good hosting – Is your website slow? Does your host support MySQL, MSSQL, ASP.NET and PHP? Maybe you should upgrade to a better host.

4.    Set up a 301 redirect for your non www website address. You will prevent same pages and penalties from search engine by this.

5.    Submit your website to free search engine directories (Google, Yahoo, Yandex, Rambler)

6.    Write your website address everywhere (i.e. business card, advertising, etc). Blogs of your friends and social networks.

7.    Offer 5 or more ways for people to contact you (i.e. email, skype, facebook, etc).

8.    Make sure your website does not use frames. It is useful only for Internet explorer.

9.    Create an XML Sitemap and submit it to Google. Good tools for this: http://www.xml-sitemaps.com

10. Ask at least 5 different people to give you honest feedback about the website. Especially with Page rank more than 6.

11.Respond to all emails and comments quickly.

12.Make sure your website loads quickly. It should be less than 10 seconds to load the website. Put widget for tracking your page load time.

13.Call to Action: Tell visitors what you need them to do. (ie. Click here to contact us today).

14.Make sure your domain name is easy to say and remember.

15.Don’t force users to register to use your website.

16.Make a regular backup of your website.

17.Have you used Google Ads to bring more traffic to your website?

18.Have you paid for professional Search Engine Optimization?

19.Do you have products? Have you set up an online shop so that your website can make money while you sleep?

20.Have you registered several different versions of your domain name (ie. domain.com, domain.com.au, domain.info, etc)? It pretty comfortable to have visitors from your referrer sites.

Summary

What means succesffull website for you? If there is anything in this checklist that you don’t fully understand, please feel free to leave a comment and we’ll get back to you with further explanation. Feel free to your advice in comments too. My results, Content:20, Web Design: 10, Social Media: 10, Features: 10. This list is just for my convenience and I want to check all this features after some time in my site and see progress. Tell me what your results form this checklist in successful websites?

Comments (6) -

  • Со многими пунктами я соглашусь безоговорочно. Однако не со всеми. Например, п.2 - я не считаю обязательным и важным моментом добавление фото хозяина блога. по разным причинам. Это много раз обсуждалось в сети. Кому-то просто, извиняюсь, лицо может не понравится. Кто-то не платит налоги, не хочет рисоваться, желает быть инкогнито и его вполне устраивает то, что его узнают по нику. Поэтому фото - это лишнее ;)
  • Я не согласен с вами по тем же причинам которые вы описали. п.2 - я считаю обязательным и важным. Кому-то просто, лицо может понравится. Кто-то платит налоги и знает что его узнают, желает быть известным не только по нику Поэтому фото - это нужное ;)
  • Nice list - thanks for the info!
  • Wow...a very comprehensive list,
    thank you Agafonov for the time and effort you put in writing this list.
  • It is a wonderful post and contain a fantastic list...

Add comment

Loading