How to Know You Got the Professional Website You Wanted
The Sprocket Report
Cash-strapped businesses have to make hard financial decisions, but going too cheap on your website may be ham-stringing your success. Whether you went with the lowest bidder or are using a do-it-yourself website builder, check those efforts against our list of best practices, so you can say "My website! It's just what I wanted!"
Choosing a platform
Is the Content Management System intuitive?
You’ll never actually update the content if it’s a pain in the neck to use.
How will you handle updates?
All technology becomes obsolete. Who will implement updates so your website keeps running optimally?
Erecting the framework
Do the modules or plug-ins you’ve chosen work together?
Technology created by different individuals may function differently than expected when combined – or something may not function at all.
Is the site mobile responsive?
Websites simply must be these days, but there are still a number of skins or themes available that are not responsive. Check before you choose.
Optimizing for search
Are you choosing and using the right search terms?
A little online research will help you find the best words. Include them naturally in your content, preferably within the first few lines and in your title, i.e., the H1 tag.
Did you label all of your images?
Alt tags describe images with words. This helps with accessibility as well as reinforcing the site’s relevance.
Did you fill out the page title and description fields, too?
Take your time to write these well using your best marketing words because this is what Google serves up in search results.
Have you let Google know you exist?
You can still submit your new site’s URL to hurry the process, but robot crawlers will also find you if you post the URL link on your chamber of commerce listing, your social media page or on other popular web pages.
Securing your site
Would a “keep alive” service be smart?
Especially for brand-new websites with no traffic, a “keep alive” service improves loading time so you don’t discourage your first visitors.
Who is monitoring your site’s down time?
There are services that will let you know if there’s a problem so you don’t find out your site’s been down for the last week, turning away a ton of customers.
Do you need an SSL certificate?
If you send or accept passwords, credit card numbers or other sensitive information, an SSL certificate will encrypt it to safeguard both you and your customers.
What’s your back-up plan?
Say your site gets hacked. If you can’t access a back-up from before the attack you will have to start building from scratch.
Can you upload a favicon?
That’s the little symbol you see on search page tabs. It should reflect your brand, not the web platform’s.
How are you linking your social media?
A Facebook link can let your website visitor post to their page or send them to your page. Decide where to put your social media links and what kind you want to use.
Measuring your success
Did you insert your tracking code?
Google Analytics is a free tool and very useful, but you need to set up an account and then put the tracking ID into your website’s code.
Are you filtering your results?
Spammers can really mess up your Analytics reports. It’s best practice to have two views of your traffic, one with raw data and one with spam filtered out, for the most accurate numbers.
What reports are you getting?
Decide what analytics reports will best help your marketing decisions and the display type that is easiest for your team to understand. Set it up so reports are emailed regularly to keep everyone up-to-date.
These are tasks that we routinely do for our clients. If you’re not a client, you may be wondering why we are sharing these tips with you. Because we want be partners in your success and you should know what a cheap website will cost your business. It only makes sense for you to focus on what you do best and let us focus on what we do best – building and maintaining your website. Just call. We’re always happy to help.