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Website Launch Checklist
Here is a comprehensive checklist of what you need to launch your website:
- Domain Name: Your domain name is the name – or address (URL) where your website will reside. You can secure you own domain name with a registrar such as godaddy.com or namecheap.com. Some online services do offer a free domain name when you sign up with their services.
- Business Email Address: I am a firm believer of professional email addresses. When you are interacting with customers, it is far more credible to use a professional email address such as email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Plus, some email services will spam your emails if they come from a free email provider such as gmail or hotmail.
- Choose your platform. Depending on your needs and your business expansion, you need to consider the right platform:
Wix: Best All-Around Website Builder. They have the most tools and features when it comes to drag and drop website builders. Whether you want an online booking tool, insert video backgrounds, or favor to create an online store, Wix has you covered.
Squarespace: Best Design Oriented Website Builder. Their template designs are so good, they can make your website look like it has been professionally customized for your needs.
Weebly: Easiest to Use Website Builder. They’ve made it so effortless for you to use, you can build a professional looking website even if you are afraid of technology!
WordPress: Most Flexible Website Builder. You can customize your website to your whatever you want. However it is a little harder to learn for beginners.
- Choose your website hosting. Unless you have selected a service such as weebly, wix or squarespace, you will need to secure your hosting service where your wordpress site will reside. There are several website hosting services available offering shared hosting, VPS, dedicated servers, etc.
- Choose a template or hire a designer. You can go either way. You can choose a template to start with – especially if you chose to work with squarespace, their templates are amazing – you need to choose wisely your starter template. Keep in mind all the elements you need on your pages and how flexible the template is. Do you like the layout? Do you want things changed? Are you building a list and selling digital content? Will is be easy to add opt-in boxes in the content?
- Have your branding elements ready. You will need to brand your website with your logo, your colors, textures and font choices. You will also want to use the chosen imagery for your brand. That’s where a branding sheet comes in handy. You will also want to use your icons and custom graphics. Please note – all templates are not super easy to change or altered to represent you and attract your ideal client. Do a smart choice regarding your template.
- Source your images. There are some free options and paid options for imagery. You will also need to carefully select images that are high-quality and represent your brand and messaging. There are some free resources for imagery such as unsplash.com, 500px.com and rawpixel.com. Some paid services include istockphoto.com, bigstock.com and gettyimages.com.
- Choose your image editor. It used to be that photoshop was the best thing around. Not anymore. There are now a few online tools you can use to alter, resize, enhance and transform your images such as picmonkey.com, canva.com and pixlr.com Yes there are some restrictions with those image editors but most graphic treatment can be achieved.
- Choose your email service provider. We want to sell online, right? Then you will need a service that gives you the ability to build your list, manage it and communicate with it. If send your customers marketing emails and send legitimate email campaigns that you may want to automate, you will want to get an Email Service Provider. Email providers vary in the way they provide the tools to target and manage your subscribers’ lists. Mailchimp.com, constantcontact.com, aweber.com, infusionsoft.com, convertkit.com and activecampaign.com are all email service providers to name a few.
- Have a freebie ready. If you want to build your list, you will want to offer a free gift of value in exchange for your customer’s email. That can be a downloadable, a video series or anything that can add value to your customer’s life or a solution to their problem. You will also need to have your optin form ready and tested.
- Get Google Analytics. Some platforms offer good tracking tools such as clickfunnels.com or leadpages.co Some tools are also offered within squarespace.com or wix.com. However on a wordpress website, you will want to be able to track your traffic so you can better understand where your website traffic comes from and how your viewers behave.
- SEO. Short for search engine optimization. In order for google or bing to find your website, you will need to define what the pages are about and how google should index your pages. You will need to define keywords and description for google. Imagery for social media sharing. This needs to be done for all searchable pages.
- Test. Finally test your site completely before you launch it. Check all links, forms, opt-ins on all pages. Make sure your links open in a new tab or window when appropriate. This is a must before you unveil your site to the public and start promoting it.
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