Web Development Checklist

Before launching a shiny new website our developers run through a checklist just to make sure everything is in order. This helps us continually refine the end-product and improve our workflow.

  • Domain name
  • Hosting
  • SSL
  • WordPress health
  • Plugins
  • GTMetrix / PageSpeed
  • Images
  • Forms
  • Email
  • SEO
  • CTA

Domain Name

If you have already registered a domain name, it is worth checking using Whois domain tools when your domain expires and making sure the registration is kept up to date. If you haven’t yet registered a domain, a useful tool to check domain and social name availability at the same time is Namcheckr.com.

Hosting

We include hosting for a full year with every web package. This takes away the pain of sourcing your own secure server. Our servers are already set-up and optimised – helping reduce the development time and the overall costs of your project.

SSL

SSL helps secure your site. All our projects use SSL and this is included in the cost. Sites with SSL installed are served using HTTPS rather than HTTP. (Browsers will display a small padlock in the address window to depict HTTPS).

WordPress Health

We use a fresh installation of the latest version of WordPress with every project. While working on older sites, it is important that the WordPress core files are updated to the latest versions.

Plugins

When it comes to slowing a site down, plugins can be the main culprit. We only use a limited number of plugins for each project. Out of interest this site uses 7. However, we have seen some sites with over 30! This is one of the first things we check on older sites.

GTMetrix

This is our favourite tool when it comes to measuring a site’s performance. Check out our blog post on the subject: How we got our GTMetrix PageSpeed score to 100%. Tools that measure web performance are useful to help identify what changes need to be made to improve your site.

Images

GTMetrix is again a useful tool to check image file sizes.  Any file size above 200kb for a single image should ring some sort of alarm bell. Ideally, you want below 100kb. We normally use an image editor to crop, resize and compress images.  We also use the Smush plugin which does a great job in optimising images.

Forms

Do the forms work?  Do they have too many fields, or ask for information that is not really needed?

Email

If domain-based email is used (yourname@yoursite.com). Check that the email is working?

SEO

To get started we first consider what are the main content blocks that you would expect to find if doing a web search.  One key tip to write to make the content useful, not for SEO. If something is useful people may share or link to it, and this will boost ranking. Once you have your “useful content” in place we would recommend using the Yoast SEO plugin.  For every page of content or post,  Yoast creates extra fields and meta descriptions, so that search engines discover an extra layer of information on your content.  Make sure you don’t just copy and paste the same meta descriptions for every page.  Make sure analytics is connected, so you can find out more about your traffic.

CTA

Every site needs a call-to-action.  These are the mid-page easy-to-find buttons that lead visitors onto the next step.