Ultimate Detroit Website Design Checklist (2021)
One of the questions that is asked most-frequently before a website design is ordered, aside from “Do you do SEO?” (which we do), is about how we plan and keep a site design on track and on a timeline. We understand that navigating the website redesign process can be very complex.
Designing a great website is more than creativity and making a pretty site, in fact, often “pretty sites” don’t rank that well. You must take seriously the structure of your URL, file organization and be sure to optimize your content in order to get the investment back in sales.
When you have an experienced professional design your site, it should be a revenue generator for your company. We’ve seen so many companies launch a flashy, “modern” site that, after a few months, doesn’t show returns, in the form of little to no traffic.
Don’t let that happen to you! We’re here to help you through a website design or redesign. Let us be your guide through the preparation, writing, design and launch of your website.
What to Ask your Web Design Company Before you Hire Them
Making the decision to hire a full-service Detroit web design company is a great option to help ensure a smooth process. Using an experienced, local company makes the planning for your new site, a one-stop-shop. They’ll be able to help you with a wide range of services beyond your web development, like:
- Digital Marketing
- Marketing Strategy
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Selecting the right company can be a daunting task, with the different services and capabilities that each firm offers. Be sure to ask the following questions before you hire:
- Is there a full-time project manager on staff?
Your project will go much smoother with a dedicated and reliable contact at the company. You’ll have questions and comments that will need answers, so always choose a web design firm with a qualified project manager.
- Do you have full-time developers?
A top-notch web design company should have full-time developers within their ranks. This also means that should issues arise, there is someone there to fix them immediately.
- Can they take care of your company’s specific needs?
Do you have proprietary software, special integration or other highly specific needs? Talk with any firm about these before you sign off. You want to make sure that your site, team and the vendor can work together well.
- What is the anticipated timeline?
Most web design companies are able to finish a site within 4-8 weeks, from the time they get started. This may change depending on special functionalities, or the number of pages on your website, but the timeline should be discussed, especially if it deviates from the standard timeframe.
- Are the content writers versed in SEO?
When choosing a modern web design company, SEO specialization is a must. Without the right knowledge of best practices, the foundation of your website won’t have the necessary SEO optimizations to rank well.
Your Website Design Checklist
Before you begin you should make sure you reserve your hosting service and discuss the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you’ll use to measure the success of the site with your developers. Once those are agreed upon, you can follow along with our checklist below.
- Website wireframe and mockup: This give you an idea of how the navigation and overall look of the site will be, before going into full design mode.
- Features: Do you know what features you need for your site? Think critically about what competitors are doing and whether, or not, you need those features as well. Your firm should prepare your “Requirements Document” to finalize the features you’re looking for on your new site.
- CMS Chosen: Your web designers should have discussed the options and helped you select a simple, full-featured system. These can range from WordPress to WooCommerce and more if you need a shopping cart.
- Choose a Theme for your CMS: With your CMS chosen you can determine which pre-built theme is best for your needs, to get a head start on your site. Ask to see several options.
- Domain Name: A descriptive, catchy and branded domain should be selected. This should ideally contain a branded or the keyword you want to rank for the most.
- Neatly Organized File Structure: Be sure that your developer is organizing your site in a way that is intuitive and clean. This allows search engines to crawl and index your site faster and helps you rank higher.
- Branding: Whether you’re a new business or established, your website should be consistent with the rest of your branding. A designer can help maintain your brand’s identity.
- Images: Make sure you’ve got high-quality original photos of your business, product and team. Avoid using stock images as this can deter potential customers.
- Website Testing: Once the development team has everything ready, its time to test every feature, link and image before launch.
Website Design for User Experience
One mistake that can hinder search results and overall analytics is not building the site for your user. When you’re discussing the scope of the website design with a designer, discuss what the goals for your site are. This helps the designer to:
- Create an easy-to-use flow
- Organize the URL structure
These items give users a seamless experience that is set up for their ease, and exactly how you want them to move through the site. It also provides transparency so users know what they’re seeing and who you are.
Success is in the details, so your designer should make sure you have a favicon, a tiny image in the browser, on your site!
Website Content Checklist for SEO
Creating content for your site can be the trickiest part. You have to make sure your content is properly optimized for the keywords you want to rank for.
- Do your (keyword) research
- Put information upfront
- Create helpful and useful content
Using tools like SEMRush and Moz, you can ensure your content and keywords are properly optimized, and many SEO agencies in Detroit offer no-contract or one-time SEO audits. Additionally, search engines favor informative content, so avoid hard selling all the time.
Website Launch Checklist
- Add tracking and analytics to the website: Verify the site in Google Search Console and that Google Analytics and Google Ads tracking codes are measuring conversions properly. You might also choose to use software like HotJar to track how users flow through your website.
- Exclude IP addresses for proper results: This includes the home IP of any key employees or remote employees.
- Use an uptime monitor: These can notify you should the site go down for any reason, Pingdom and NodePing both work very well.
- Keep a backup copy of your website: Also make sure to keep this updated, especially if your company manages their own web hosting.
- Create an XML sitemap: Set up your Yoast plugin or create your custom XML sitemap. Make sure it is updated every time a new page or post is added to your site.
Now that your site is live and you’ve checked for:
- Broken links
- Tested your contact form
- Checked compatibility on mobile devices
- Added social media links
It’s time to double check your on-page SEO. You should have had your developer add the proper 301 redirects to updated and relevant content. They also should have done the schema markup. Be sure to check that:
- Title tags are unique and under 70 characters
- Meta descriptions are fewer than 160 characters
- Every page has a target keyword
- All images have Alt tags
While undertaking a website design or redesign can be a big job, when it is done properly and completely, it will be a major return on investment. Congratulations!