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10 Things Your Website Needs Before it Goes Live

It’s here. Time to launch your new website. Your nervous, excited, anxious, and giddy. Everything is in place. Your site probably went up in just a few hours with dozens of content management systems to choose from these day. Unfortunately, that’s just the problem.

A lot of people throw websites up as fast as they can. It’s ok if you’ve got missing images, the colors are off, and latin text is on every page, right?

Wrong. Sometimes speed leads to a slew of mistakes – and you end up spending more time fixing your site, when in reality, those few days could have been spent perfecting it! When you’ve got a deadline, it’s easy to just hit publish.

To prevent this from happening again, I made a checklist with ten things your site should have before you get all excited and hit the publish button. The world is going to see you, your company, and your business for the first time. Make a great first impression.

website needs

Let’s get started:

1. Correct Contact Information
It’s pretty embarrassing to see ABC Company on your homepage. Check your footer and contact page one more time. Make sure your contact information is correct. And update it if it isn’t. Don’t be afraid to list your house or apartment number. Sometimes being small has its advantages.

2. A Basic Level of Content – Get Rid of Lorem Ipsum
Is that Latin on your website? Does it convert more of your website’s visitors into customers? If it does, I’m totally switching to Lorem Ipsum! Are you using a template? If you are, it’s probably got Latin all over it. Take some time to comb through your website and find all of the places. Check forms, slideshows, and even your title tags and page descriptions. Those are just a few places the ipsum may be hiding.

Replace it with some boilerplate text for now. A paragraph or two would work. As long as you’ve got something up that’s English, you’re good to go.

3. Three Blog Posts
Blogs are popping up all over the place. There are many reasons to start one, which I won’t get into here. Bottom line: if you’re starting a blog, it’s wise not to publish an empty one. Come up with three posts to get the ball rolling. Here are some ideas:

  • What you’ll be blogging about
  • How your company got started
  • Team Member Profiles
  • Feature Your Best Customer
  • Show how to use your product/service

It’s easy to come up with content, but it’s tough to keep it going. Once you get started with a couple of posts, you’ll have momentum. With momentum, you’ll be firing off posts in no time.

4. Working Links to Social Media
I’ve been guilty of this one – multiple times. Once you’ve got your social media accounts set up, put links on your website. Use the full URL ( so the links don’t break. Similar to tip #3, if you have social media profiles, post a couple of times before they appear on your website.

5. An About Us Page
Putting up a site with no about us page is like buying a product or service from a ghost – you have no idea who they are. Find a nice headshot of you and your co-founders and a small one-paragraph bio. You can always add more later, but at least you’re putting a face to the name.

6. Clear Headline
Many new companies put up one-page websites because they’re quick and easy. Just because they go up in a snap, doesn’t mean you can forget about your value proposition. Use your headline to answer the question “What’s in it for me?” and watch your bounce-rate plummet.

7. Call-to-Action
What do you want the visitor to do when they land on your new website? Do you want them to pick up the phone, learn more about your product, or take a tour? Whatever it is, make it clear and easy to do.

8. Contact Form
Almost any lead is a good lead. So why not make it super easy for prospective clients and customers to get in touch? Place a contact form on your website – and don’t bury under multiple clicks. It’s OK to have a spam blocker, but just the mere fact you’ve got a contact form means you’re up for a quick chat.

9. Email Capture
List-building is the secret to successful email marketing. When you launch a new site, the best thing you can do to build your list is have an email capture. First, decide what you’re going to give away (whitepaper, infographic, coupon, etc), then promote it like crazy.

10. Logo
This may seem laughable, but I’ve seen it happen a dozen times: You launch a site with no logo. The default text shows up upon publishing and you panic. Where’d your logo go? Chances are, it wasn’t uploaded in the first place. Make this one of the first things you do when you build a new site. It’ll make it look like your site is practically 50% complete!

Websites are always a work in progress. There are one hundred more fixes or tweaks you could do. You’re never done.

Use this list as a starting point to get your site launched.

Be on the lookout for ways you can improve your site. You never know if one small change – whether it’s something on this list or not – could be the key to a substantial spike in sales.

Here’s to another successful site launch!

About the Author: Michael Adams is the Marketing Manager for Fourtopper, a leading restaurant website design company. For more information on how you can bring more to the table with your website, visit the Fourtopper blog.

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