Web development is best left to the experts. They can spin magic with the code!
Having said that, blindly relying on a web developer to make an amazing website for you is unreasonable. There are a few things that you must look at to ensure that the end product is pleasing not just to you but also to your target audience and Google. After all, you want to rank high, don’t you? Here’s a checklist to help you out:
Ensure that your website is fast!
A good website is always optimized for speed. In fact, statistics reveal that 40% of visitors drop off from sites that are slower than 3 seconds. That means, your entire website must load very quickly, ideally within 1.5 to 2 seconds.
What’s more, Google rewards fast websites with a better rank.
The site has to be mobile responsive
Almost 50% of website traffic comes from mobile devices. Smartphones have become very common and handy today, and many people prefer surfing the net from their smartphones. Furthermore, they make purchases through the phone as well since it is easier and seamless.
If your website is not mobile responsive, you will lose a large chunk of your visitors who will never come back. We are sure you cannot afford that.
Your website must be secure!
As technology advances, the ways of hackers are advancing. You have absolutely no choice but to ensure that your website is absolutely safe. How, you ask?
Ever noticed that a few sites’ URLs start with https? These sites are marked as “secure.” The extra S stands for Secure Sockets Layer, which is an encryption technology. This means that hackers cannot intercept your data from an https site.
Besides, Google has made it very clear that it is sincerely going to help websites that are secure for users. This means that its algorithm will work in your favor if you have an https website. If you don’t, Google Chrome will warn the user when he tries to make a purchase. We don’t need to tell you that users take security and privacy warnings very seriously.
Have your robots.txt file in place
Robots.txt is a text file that carries instructions about crawling the webpage for web crawlers. This file plays a huge role in SEO because it tells search engines not to crawl certain internal pages (which may have duplicate content). It also tells search engines not to index a few images or PDFs. Most importantly, it helps search engines find the sitemap, which is crucial for every single website.
If you go wrong with this particular text file, you may end up telling search engines not to crawl your website at all, which means no matter what you do, your website will not appear in search results.
Don’t forget the sitemap!
A sitemap will help search engines find its way through pages on your website. It is especially important if your site is large and has a lot of content on it. A sitemap also helps new websites with very few external links.
Sitemaps also help Google and other search engines understand metadata. Metadata is nothing but information such as the changes made to different pages on the website when the webpage was last updated, et cetera.
A good web developer will ensure your website has a sitemap. Remember to crosscheck just in case.
Keywords and tags must be in place.
Around 93% of online experiences start with a simple search on Google or any other search engine.
What is it that makes you click on a particular link that appears through online search? It is the meta tag.
The meta tag is nothing but the snippet of information you see with a URL in a search engine. This tells you what the URL contains and you (sub)consciously make a decision to click and explore further. In simpler words, your website is useless on search without meta tags. Meta tags include the title and the meta description.
Title tag: This must be roughly 6-7 words and preferably include a keyword
Meta description: It should be around 120-140 characters. Longer descriptions may not show completely, leading to bad user experience.
Yoast SEO plugin lets you create these tags easily. So, make sure you have it installed.
If you have a new website, you may not need to spend much time on meta tags, but once you start getting traffic, you may want to modify the tags to increase your rankings.
There must be no duplicate content
We surely don’t need to emphasize: There must be no duplicate content on your website! Google and other search engines will directly penalize your website if it finds plagiarized content and that will cause you a world of pain!
If you have checked these off your list, your website is good to go live. What else do you have on your checklist? We’d love to hear from you!