So, you’re ready to start designing your new website, but you want to get everything right the first time. Or do you already have a website, but you want to be sure that the elements of the website foster success? All you need is a checklist that shows you everything you need to do or avoid.
We have created a detailed web design checklist with the help of our highly experienced website developers and UX designers to help make the website design process straightforward for you. Whether you are using a content management system like WordPress or doing the coding from scratch, this checklist provides everything you need.
On your PC. Get set. Let’s GO!!!
What You Should Know About This Checklist!
To make it easier for you to understand, we are separating the content on this page into seven (7) stages of what this checklist covers. What are they?
- Domain and hosting checklist
- User experience checklist
- Functionality checklist
- Security checklist
- Accessibility checklist
- SEO checklist
- Content checklist
Just follow through on the step-by-step processes and best practices listed below to make your website attract, appeal to, and convert customers.
What You Must Do Before Starting The Web Design Project
Before you kick off designing the website, here are a few things you must do:
- Establish and understand the aim of your website
- Conduct in-depth research on your industry, customers, and competitors
- Get all your images ready
- Choose the design and layout of your site
- Create a wireframe or sitemap of your website
- Don’t forget that vital cup of coffee. You’ll need it.
Note: It is crucial to test your website after the design has been completed and before launching. If you notice a potential bottleneck, get it fixed and test it again. You can also test it after months or years of being live to keep it up to date.
1. Domain And Hosting Checklist
The first step in any website design process checklist is getting a domain ready for the site. This is the website ownership phase. Building a website is like building a house. The house needs to live somewhere. That’s the work of a domain. It serves as the street/avenue where your website resides. And on that street are certain services your house needs to function properly, like electricity, water, security, and more. That’s where hosting comes in.
So, what do you do?
- Choose a domain and hosting platform.
- Choose a domain name.
- Choose the right web hosting type and plan.
You can learn about these different types of hosting services and the pros and cons in this detailed article we created for you.
2. User Experience Checklist
Great user experience is one of the most crucial features of a successful website. It is a key feature in the development phase.
When users land on a webpage, one thought they always have in their subconscious is, “I just want to get in, find what I want, and be happy about it.”
Sadly, that’s hardly the case. Many web developers prioritize visual design over website usability. You must make it super-easy for your users to navigate your site and find the content they’re looking for.
A navigable website never loses visitors. Check off these tasks before moving forward:
- Place menu items in a logical order (Prioritize products or services)
- Place your business/website logo at the top of the page
- Add icons next to an important link
- Make buttons visible and contrasting
- Add breadcrumbs
- Ensure navigation consistency on all your web pages
- Make navigation sequences short and with only a few clicks. Remove redundant steps
- Add search functions and filters
- Keep links minimal
B. Mobile Responsiveness
More than half of your site views will come from mobile users. Optimize your website to improve compatibility and responsiveness on mobile devices using these best practices:
- Create a responsive layout
- Use compressed images
- Opt for HTML5
- Use large and easy-to-read fonts
- Space out links
- Reorder buttons (size and position)
- Avoid pop-ups
- Remove redundant content
C. Page Loading Times
How quickly your site can load will influence the click-through rate. Users are not as patient as you may expect. Implement these strategies:
- Choose a hosting platform with quick server responsiveness and uptime
- Reduce the number of redirects
- Cache your web pages
- Allow browser caching
- Cut down on unnecessary plugins
D. Visual Appeal
Although there are more important things to focus on in the web design process, it is crucial to understand that your website must be appealing to the user. Consider these ideas:
- Use attractive fonts
- Take advantage of white space. Don’t fill every space on the site with elements and words.
- Use clear CTA buttons.
- Play with colors. Ensure to properly blend brand colors with industry colors.
- Use the right amount of images. Don’t use too few, and don’t overdo it.
Your website should be user-friendly once all these design elements are implemented.
3. Functionality Checklist
A functional website can help you boost credibility, increase customer loyalty, boost conversion, retain website users, and increase your visibility on search engines. It will also help ensure your website’s visitors get what they want when they want it with no hassles.
A. Contact Forms
There’s a lot to consider when creating contact forms. Some of the benefits include reducing spam emails, increasing leads, helping you vet new prospects, making it easier for users to reach you, and many more. However, if wrongly placed and designed, contact forms can be counterproductive. Use these tips:
- Make it as short as possible
- Create a thank-you page on the other side
- Set an analytic goal for your thank-you page
- Use a compelling CTA
- Place it where the user can easily see it
B. Search Bar
A search bar on your website will help users find what they need faster. Ensure your website has one, especially if you run an eCommerce website.
- Make it bold and easy to find. Most search bars are placed on the top-right of every page.
- Place it on all your pages
- Make the input field wide enough to contain many words
- Separate the search box from other forms
- Don’t be afraid to name your search box. Use search-provoking names like find, search, or even longer terms like “What are you looking for” or “Search our site.”
- Place a submit button right beside the search bar and make it stand out
- Implement suggestive texts using related, recent, and saved searches.
Your website needs a compelling CTA to boost conversions. That CTA must be presented through a button and must be done right, or you will miss out on the chance to build a successful email list and convert your target audience. This checklist will help you design compelling CTA buttons for your website.
- Make it visible and easy to find
- Use colors that contrast everything else on your page. Make it different
- Place it in at least two sections on the page. Note, however, that you must only use one CTA per page. You don’t want to bombard your users with too many options in one session. So, use one CTA but place it in different sections of the page.
- Use compelling CTA copy.
Integrate your social media accounts with your website to expand your business network, improve analytics and reports, ease up content scheduling and aggregation, foster content management ease, and create an omnichannel experience for your customers.
- Add social media buttons to your website using the social media logos and add links
- Keep all the social media links in one section
- Add social share buttons
- Implement social-media based commenting (optional)
- Incorporate social login
4. Security Requirements Checklist
What is a website checklist without a section on security? Keep the following features active on your site to eliminate the chances of a breach or bugs.
- Ensure Sitewide SSL Certificate
- Verify the SSL certificate
- Disable insecure cipher suites
- Enable HTTP STS (Strict Transport Security)
- Enable Password Protection
- Utilize SHA256 encryption
- Enable Firewall
- Enable web server process security
- Protect the website against DoS (Denial of Service)
- Use secure cookies and HttpOnly cookies
- Conduct regular tests and backups
5. Website Accessibility And Compliance Checklist
A good website design must be accessible to everyone, no matter their condition. A good percentage of your potential visitors are disabled and also need to browse your site. Web accessibility is not only necessary but also compulsory, as you may be liable to face litigation if ignored. You want to make sure your website caters to people with disabilities, including vision, hearing, cognition, mobility, and speech.
Below are some of the features that must be made easy so that people with disabilities can use your website comfortably
- Color Contrast
- Keyboard Navigation and accessibility
- Screen Reader Optimization
- Multimedia captions and alt text
- Text Size Options
6. Search Engine Optimization Checklist
Before launching a website, it is important to make sure you have added all the features to make it SEO-worthy. Your website has to live on the world wide web, and the mouse prevalent way for users to find it is through search engines. You don’t want to get lost in the crowd after putting in all this effort.
A. Keyword Research
Your potential visitors have specific terms they use when they search for the products or services you provide. It is your duty to find those terms and target them with the content you create.
- Research and understand your industry, your USP, and your customers
- Brainstorm seed keywords in your industry and jot them down
- Understand the search intent of each keyword (informational, navigational, commercial, transactional)
- Check to see what your competitors are ranking for
- Create topic ideas and content titles from those keywords
- Find semantically related terms
- Choose the right keywords for your website and business
Your title tags and meta descriptions will help your website rank higher and also improve the click-through rates on your pages. No matter how good the design and content of your page are, the meta tags are what determine if your website gets clicked or not.
Here are some ideas to create click-worthy meta tags:
- Make it concise but descriptive
- Make it unique every time. Never copy and paste meta tags, even for similar pages.
- Use title case
- Be specific and convincing
- Match the search intent
- Keep it below the character limit (60 characters for title tags and 150 characters for meta descriptions)
- Always include the target keywords.
C. URL Structure
You want to ensure that your URL structure represents exactly what the page and website are all about. A good URL structure should include the following:
- Security (HTTPS)
- Subdomain (WWW)
- The domain name (your website’s name)
- Domain extension (.com, .net, .site, and more)
- Path to the resource
D. Alt Text for Images
Every image on your website must have an alt text that describes what the image is about. The image alt text enables screen readers and users with visual disabilities to easily understand what the image is describing. It will also help you gain some traction in your SEO efforts. Ensure to properly describe the image and add keywords to help your site rank.
E. Set Up Google Analytics
When your website goes live, you would want to monitor the performance of your website’s content. Google Analytics gives you insights into the behaviors of your users and their demographics. This helps you to understand what you need to improve, change, or remove from your site.
F. Create A Dynamic Sitemap And Submit It To Google, Yahoo, Bing, and others
A sitemap is exactly what the name suggests; a map of your entire website. You must have created this before starting the web development process. Once your site has been completed, you must send it to the search engines to make it easy to crawl your website.
7. Content Checklist/Information Architecture
Quality content is the heart of every website. A beautiful website without good content will discourage users and can even make you lose the trust and loyalty of existing users. How do you ensure your typography is top-notch? Use our checklist below:
A. Text Formatting
Text formatting helps you quickly highlight important sections on your page so that when the user sees your site’s content, they know what you want them to see and why. Now that the reader has landed on your awesome website, the content they find there is what determines if they’ll stay or leave. Add this checklist to your website development process:
- Break your content using headings and subheadings
- Use big-enough fonts
- Use plain backgrounds for your text, white, black, cream, or others
- Highlight important text using the bold function
- Use a Sans Sherif font, like Ariel, Helvetica, or Lucida Sans.
- Ensure the copyright date at the footer is correct
- Ensure the background and text color are clearly contrasting so that users don’t strain to read your content.
- Use lists when necessary.
- Make sure your website adequately uses margins, indents, and line-spacing
- Use the right alignment (center, left, right, or justify)
B. Information Architehture
Information architecture, or IA, refers to how the bits of information on your website are arranged and organized to make it easy for the readers to find and understand. This includes signposting, categorization, interlinking content, and navigation.
C. Quality Content/Copywriting
Every page on your website must be carefully written to convert users into customers. It is easier to drive traffic to your website than to lead visitors to take the actions you want. Copywriting is what helps you clearly explain what you do, how you do it, why you do it, and how you stand out from your competitors. There’s a lot to keep track of in the steps to creating the right content, and the list below will help you.
- Only use original content. Check every piece of content for plagiarism before publishing.
- Write to attract, convince, and convert.
- Keep paragraphs short
- Prioritize content quality over quantity
- Create a content distribution strategy for when the site goes live
- Understand your target audience
- Frontload important information
- Remove redundancies. You only want to tell your users what they should know.
- Break texts using images and videos.
D. Images and Videos
Images and videos will help your website gain and retain website traffic. However, excessive or inadequate use of these features can also ruin your progress SEO-wise. Whether your website is old or you’re launching a new site, you must ensure that all images and videos are optimized. Ensure that they load properly on all devices and browsers.
E. Calls-to-Action (CTAs)
Once the website has been created and the content is ready, you need to prompt your users to take the desired action. CTAs are what will help you achieve that. They are used in forms, landing pages, PPC ads, blogs, and more. Want to convert your website users to consumers? Use these CTA techniques
- Use words that provoke emotion
- Use a strong command verb (download now, discover, buy now, send us a message)
- Mention the benefits of taking the action you’re requesting
- Create urgency
- Personalize the CTAs
- Test them repeatedly till you find what works
If you want to create a comprehensive website design, follow these guidelines, and your website will attract users, get them excited about your offer, convert them, and retain them.
It is easy to get bogged down by the numerous things you must do when creating a website. There are so many guidelines for the front-end and back-end development tasks, the SEO tasks, the content tasks, the usability and website speed tasks, and many more. However, by carefully following this checklist, you can ensure your design teams stay on top of the process and create something spectacular.
Your website will look appealing, feel easy to use, convert users, and retain them. Even if you already have a website, you can have your web designer test your current website against this checklist and implement whatever is missing.
Feel free to create a web development template from this checklist to help you whenever you want to design a website in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a website design checklist?
A website design checklist is a list of tasks that website designers and developers can follow when creating websites to help ensure they have everyting in place before launching the website. Depending on the kind of site you want to create, you may not need everything on the list but it is crucial to use a comprehensive checklist that covers everything.
What are the different stages of web design?
The different stages of a website design include the research stage, structure, design, building, and testing. You can also test your website after it has been launched if you notice any bottlenecks users are facing while using your website.
What are the six (6) elements of a good website design?
Every website must have the following elements: