website checklist

The Ultimate Website Design Checklist [Before Building a Website]

These days, if you don’t have a website, you might as well not exist. A lot of people these days are looking online for businesses before they decide to visit them in person. A website design checklist would go a long way in putting your website in front of people.

If you aren’t there, they’ll look elsewhere. This makes it vital that you have an online presence with a website. But you have a choice when it comes to websites. If you want to build a website, then this website design checklist is for you.

“Where do I even start?” Hmm, that’s a good question. Thinking about the foundations of your website is a great place to start, and it can be as simple as considering the type of website you want to build.

Before you jump right into WordPress and start building a site from scratch, I highly recommend taking a step back and thinking about what you want to build.

It’ll make it much easier to choose a design that will fit your needs, as well as help you decide on features that will make your life a lot easier. There’s a lot to think about when you’re building a website, even before choosing software.

This website design checklist will help you decide on a general design for your site and also help throughout your journey as it acts as a compass determining future decisions.

This website design checklist is for before you build your website, here is how it goes.

1. Find your Purpose

The purpose of your website should be crystal clear. Are you selling a product? Providing information? Setting up a landing page? Answering a question?

Whatever it is, your online visitors need to see it. Before you build a website, you need to determine your website purpose. When you know why you are building a website, you will know the type of website you need to build.

Here are examples of the types of websites you can build;

  • Corporate/ Business website: Company Information, Team, Executives, Contacts
  • Ecommerce Website: Online Store, Physical Products, Digital Products, Memberships
  • Blog: Blog Post, Podcasts, Lifestyle, Health
  • Portfolio: Art, Photography, Agency, Freelance Designer
  • Events Website: Event Bookings, Ticket Sales. Wedding Organizer, Festivals
  • Personal Website: Personal Brands
  • Charity Website: Fundraising, Donations, Awareness

Don’t concern yourself with the details of what goes into the website. It’s still earlier. Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. – Lao Tzu

2. Decide How you Want to Build

There are three main ways to go about building your website. When you’ve decided to build your website, congratulations! Your hard work is about to pay off.

But before you jump on it, you need to decide a few things:

– Do you want a simple do-it-yourself website?

– Is hiring a web designer or developer your option?

Do it Yourself

You can build your own website using open-source website tools like WordPress. What you will need to do is find a well-managed WordPress host. WordPress will be installed for you and you will have a control panel to manage your hosting account.

WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system. It’s powering 34% of all websites on the internet. On top of that, WordPress has a 60.8% market share in the CMS market.

I know, a lot of people love WordPress. It’s a great tool for building complex websites like news websites, corporate and blogging sites. However, it can be tough to manage with plugins, updates, and more. It’s better to know your way around WordPress to get the most of it.

There are alternatives to building your own website. Options are available for you to pick from like Blab, Wix, and Squarespace just to name a few. Blab builder offers you an easy-to-use drag and drop builder, email marketing, bookings management, a CRM, and Analytics for your Website.

Hire a Web Designer or a Developer.

A web designer is a professional skilled at building all types of websites for their client. Before choosing to hire a web designer or developer, there are a few things to work on.

One is understanding what you want to achieve with your Website. The second is setting goals and being ready to review your website at given intervals outlined in your contract with your web designer.

The Web has fundamentally changed the way businesses function. More customers are searching for products and services online than ever before, and it’s never been more important for businesses to have an online presence.

It’s not enough to be “online” — to be competitive in the online marketplace, you need a website that’s easy to use, drives customers to your business and sets you apart from your competitors.

If you’re a small business owner, creating a website may seem intimidating. You’re busy running your business, and you probably don’t have the extra time or resources to spend on website design… so why should you?

The right web designer may be the next step to what makes your website great.

3. Pick a Content Management System

If you’re building a website, chances are, you’re going to need a content management system. Don’t panic. It’s 2021, and chances are, you’re already using a CMS.

But before you start building a website, you need to decide on a CMS. There are thousands of CMSs, and each one has its own pros and cons.

Selecting the content management software (CMS) for your website is a crucial step in the planning phase. This is because it will have a huge impact on how easy it will be for you to update your site in the future.

You can find software from a few popular providers, such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. These open-source platforms make it relatively easy for you if you are a designer to make basic edits to a website.

If you are not a designer, a drag and drop builder like blab builder and Wix or Squarespace may be a good fit for you.

Here are a few things to think about when you’re choosing a CMS.

  1. Ease of use. You want a CMS that’s intuitive, so you won’t have to spend a lot of time learning how to use it.
  2. Free Trials: Never hand over your payment without trying the platform first it might not be a right fit for your business.
  3. Security: You want a CMS that’s secure. You don’t want to be compromised or lost data because of vulnerabilities in the CMS.
  4. Support: You want a CMS with an active community of users, so you can ask questions and get answers.
  5. Scalability: You want a CMS that can grow with your business.
  6. Mobile-friendliness. You need a CMS that’s mobile-friendly. The last thing you want is for your customers to have to pinch and zoom to read your content, or for your site to crash or crash when they try to view it on their phones.
  7. Brandability. You need a CMS that feels right for your brand.

4. Test The CMS Out

It’s important to test what you are going to use for your website. When you understand how well a CMS can work for you, you will make the right choice. As you make a choice try how easy it will be for you to build and launch your website.

Start a free trial or a free plan and try all the tools promised by the platform.

  • Learn how to add new pages
  • The ease of making your dream Website possible
  • Uploading images, (Ask the support team questions)
  • Is it good for SEO?
  • Can you connect your social media pages to your website?
  • Is it possible for visitors to share your Website?

It’s a good idea to test more than one CMS, you are in the planning stage so you want to make the right choice for your website.

5. Pick a Plan for your Website

When you have now decided on the platform to use to build, decide what plan works best for you. There are always at least 2 options in pricing plans. Pick one that you can afford or alternatively one that will give you the highest return on investment (ROI).

What’s important when making this decision is your budget, what you need on the website (features), and how fast you are expecting your website to grow?

Decide on Your Domain and Get Started

What is a website address you ask?

A domain is the address of your website that you users type into search engines to find it. For example, ours is thebrandshopbw.com. You can buy a domain from registrars like TeckoHost. When buying a domain, you just go to domains, search the domain you want to buy, and buy.

Tips to picking the right domain

  • Keep your domain simple.
  • Make it easy to remember.
  • Don’t use numbers and hyphens.
  • Make sure it reflects your website.
  • Be unique in your choice of domain.

This website design checklist will help you get started with your website plan and take you on a path to growth. Use this website design checklist to kick start your website project.

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Nonofo Joel
Nonofo Joel is a Brand Strategist at The Brand Shop. He frequently blogs about Branding, Website Design, and Search Engine Optimization on The Brand Shop Blog and other publications.