Website Success
Checklist.

Website Success
Checklist.

Creating or rebuilding a website?

Don’t rush in and build a website that lacks real-world impact — it’s the classic rookie mistake.
Build a website that truly builds your business.

Too often people fixate on platform, design and themes — before getting clear on the purpose of their website.
Start at the beginning. Get smart. And get ahead of the game with Flowji’s foolproof checklist.

Whether you’re building a website yourself — or getting an agency or freelancer to do it — success is within reach. Just follow the steps to grasp it.

1. Know your people.

Before you do anything, ask yourself: Who is this website really for? And what do they need right now?

These questions are crucial, and the pros use ‘avatars’, buyer personas or ‘ideal clients’ to help answer them. Because if you don’t take the time to get inside the hearts and minds of your audience, you’ll be flying blind.

Remember the saying: ‘content that speaks to everyone reaches no-one!’.

2. Clarify your strategy.

If your website isn’t part of an overall marketing strategy, you probably shouldn’t build it. To make it worthwhile, you need to understand exactly how your website fits into your marketing ecosystem.

Create your marketing plan first — then create your website.

3. Plan your pathways.

The web is the biggest haystack in history — don’t make your website a beautiful needle that no-one ever finds.

How are you expecting people to end up on your website? Paid search ads — or social media ads? Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Email marketing? Or word of mouth? Knowing how people will arrive at your site will guide your next steps.

Recommended Resource.

Read The 19 Channels you can use to get traction.
Use The Traction Bullseye to grow your business.

4. Define visitor actions.

Visiting a website shouldn’t be a spectator sport. What actions do you want visitors to take? Is it add an event to their calendar? Download a free offer in exchange for their email address?Or sign up and pay for a program, course or workshop?

Plan and build your website around user actions first. Design and aesthetics come later.

Pro tip

Build trust by offering your website visitors free resources and information that creates value and makes their life easier. Like this one!

5. Set your budget.

Most people approach their website budget thinking “how cheaply can I get out of this?” This is back to front.

Base your budget on the value you want your website to create. (And what you can afford to pay.) Remember, you’re looking for quality help to deliver a finished website.

So yes, your cousin’s best friend’s kid brother might be able to knock something up on the cheap. But the reality is, you get what you pay for.

6. Break your budget!

Websites always go over budget. If you’re building one yourself, it will go over budget.

If an agency is building it, they will promise they can deliver on budget – then down the track explain they need more money. The fact is, we all underestimate the time, money and effort required to create a good website.

7. Define website success.

Everyone wants ‘a great website’. But what does website success actually mean to you?

Be as specific as possible. Is it simply getting a basic website live? Is it attracting 1,000 weekly visitors three months after launch? Or finding 15 new paying clients each month?

Whatever success means for your business, write it down now. Be specific, be realistic — and don’t forget to check back regularly to assess.

8. Define your scope.

Websites are notorious for ‘scope creep’. One minute, you’re building a single page brochure website. The next, it needs a quoting tool, an events calendar, and an online store.

Don’t set yourself up for failure. Your website doesn’t need to do everything you can imagine. It just needs to do one or two key things well.

The previous steps have led to this decision: defining the scope of your website in service of your business needs. Notice that you set the budget before the scope? This keeps things real when defining your scope 🙂

Pro tip

Don’t get blocked by thinking every feature has to be implemented and your website has to be perfect before you launch. In the words of Ryan Levesque, “You don’t have to get it perfect, you just have to get it going”.

Get it live as soon as you can!

9. Plan your build.

Even simple websites are big projects. Complex websites can be huge projects — and can get overwhelming.

Be gentle with yourself! If your website is more than just a couple of pages — and includes things like events and booking integrations — then you need to plan the build in separate stages. Make your ‘Minimum Loveable Website’ (MLW) the first stage, then focus on finishing and launching that.

10. Set a launch date.

Deadlines motivate and focus you.. Set a launch date for your website, and work towards it.

Give yourself some flexibility — these things often take longer than planned. Avoid unnecessary stress by not planning other marketing activities that rely on your website being live by a particular date.

11. Miss the launch date!

Websites are notorious for two things: going over budget, and hitting delays. Be prepared to overshoot your launch date by weeks, if not months.

The bottleneck is almost always content. Whether it’s “getting the words out” in the first place, or refining and polishing your message — this stuff always takes longer than we expect.

12. Use project management tools.

This is especially important if you’re collaborating with others. Email is not a project management tool!

Save time, money and energy by using an app like Trello. It’s free. It’s awesome. And it gets your whole website project — and your whole team — on the same page.

Did I mention that email is not a project management tool?

13. Find a web mentor.

Whether building the website yourself, or outsourcing to a pro, you need someone who can guide you through the process. Make sure your mentor is focused on content and outcomes—the last thing you want is an old-school web designers or developers still obsessed with just ‘great aesthetics’ or ‘clean code’.

14. Create content first.

Don’t make the mistake of designing and building the website, then trying to ‘squeeze’ the content in at the last minute. Just like building a house starts with knowing what you need in each room, building a website should start with content.

Content should always trump fancy design. And it should always trump theme or platform decisions too.

Pro tip

Let your clients tell the world how great you are. Start gathering testimonials today. Preferably by video so that by the time you launch your website, you can let your customers do the talking.

15. Make content king.

Remember, fancy design is not the priority. Content is. Words, images, videos — these are the backbone of your website. And whoever builds your website needs to understand this.

But you’re the one who best understands your business, so you need to be involved in the content creation process — even if someone else’s hands are on the keyboard or the camera.

16. Develop your messaging.

Create clear and distinct messaging that your audience finds entertaining and compelling.

How do you do this? By putting yourself in your audience’s shoes. Share with them about how your business is about to transform their lives. Don’t talk too much about yourself, what you do or what you’ve done. Focus on how your products or services will benefit them.​

17. Focus on feelings.

What is the problem you are helping people solve? Imagine how your website visitors are feeling in relation to this problem. Are they stressed? Frustrated? Confused? Overwhelmed?

Then consider how you want them to feel after they discover your website. Curious? Open to new paths? Ready to act? People make purchasing decisions with feeling as much as logic, so focus on feelings.

18. Gather testimonials.

Again, you’re only as relevant as your capacity to help your customers (or audience). Think of them as the real heroes of your website, and yourself as the guide. It’s true that your credentials and experience will establish trust — but only insofar as that experience helped your customers.

Testimonials let your people speak for themselves. It’s a win-win.

19. Keep content simple.

Like this 🙂
Simple language reaches more people.

20. Hire a copywriter.

If you employ one professional to help with your website, then make it a talented copywriter.

Your sales come from messages. Messages come from words. Words come from either you or a copywriter. Your words will be the centrepiece of your whole website.

21. Spend creative time.

Content creation and messaging are crucial, and you’ll need plenty of brainstorming and quiet time.

Set aside a few hours per week to explore ideas about what your audience needs to hear, and how. This will inform the compelling content you need to create.

Pro tip

Pay attention to other websites and their messaging and copy.

Keep a notebook with you and jot down what speaks to you and what repels you.

22. Draw your pages.

Before you choose a platform, a template — or start delving into design — you need to draw your pages. Where possible, use the actual words you plan to use, not lorem ipsum (placeholder) text.

23. Think mobile first.

51 per cent of website traffic is on mobile devices—and that number is only increasing. Traditional website design focuses on desktop experience, with mobile an afterthought. Big mistake!

Draw the mobile version first, and focus on the experience of the mobile user. Then let the desktop grow from there.

24. Plan ‘scannable’ content.

People don’t read web pages. They scan—they only stop to read when something catches their eye.

So when you draw and create your website pages, use strong, simple headers, and short sentences and paragraphs.

Use rows and columns to break up the content and make it easier to digest. ‘Scannable’ content gives the visitor a choice and power they love.

25. Invest in images.

A picture speaks a thousand words, right? Well, remember this when deciding where to invest your time and budget. Most importantly, settle on an overall image theme. Every image you use – whether stock photos or originals shot by a professional – needs to fit this theme.

And please, no matter how pretty you are: your face is not the theme.

Recommended Resource.

Find freely usable images at Unsplash.
Get images free of copyrights under CC0 at pxhere.

26. Make a movie.

You’re not in the movie business, but it’s time to roll camera: video is the big shift in digital marketing. Customer testimonials, online educationals and, of course, social media advertising are all moving to video. Even a 15-second clip can reach a new audience. Have some fun with it!

Pro tip

Captivating video usually includes background footage (B-Roll) intercut with the main shots.

Start filming your team and your clients in action as soon as possible so you have plenty to cut away to during interviews.

27. Pay for experience.

If you do need to hire someone to create your website, make sure they’re the real deal! There are thousands of people who have created a single site in WordPress, SquareSpace or Wix and now call themselves web designers. You do not want them building your site! Get an experienced designer/developer—it’ll save time and money.

28. Own your domain.

Your domain is your web address. It’s like the title to your land. Purchase your domain name yourself, then keep the login and verification details as you’d keep your land title.

Domain

If you do get someone else to purchase it for you, be sure they do it in your name and that you have the login details. Now you’re in control.

Pro tip

Always use unique, high-quality passwords. Learn more about basic data security.

29. Use a CMS.

Having a Content Management System (CMS) allows you to update your website regularly—refining your message and adding new content when you need to.

You want independence, and to not be tied to costly developers. The solution? Often a website management platform, like WordPress, Squarespace, Wix or Weebly. These get better every year, and are designed (mostly) for non-technical users.

30. Pick your platform.

WordPress, Wix, Squarespace — or something more boutique?

The key is to pick a website platform that will grow with your business. One reason to stick with the major players is longevity. They’ll most likely still be going strong in a few years, when you’re due for a website review.

31. Own your web hosting.

Every time someone visits your website, they connect to your web host’s servers. This is where your website “lives”.

People often delegate their web hosting setup to a third party (usually whoever is building their website). But if your name’s not on the account, you’re not in control.

Keep the login and verification details as safe as you would your house title. It’s a fundamental you can’t afford to overlook.

For WordPress hosting we recommend SiteGround.

32. Learn About SEO.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) increases unpaid visibility of websites in web searches (overwhelmingly Google). It’s totally separate to paid advertising on Google or elsewhere. SEO happens both ‘on-page’ and ‘off-page’.

On-page SEO means tweaking both the written content and HTML code on your pages in order to rank higher on searches. Off-page SEO refers to links and other external signals (and demands another blog post to fully explain!).

33. Use a Page Builder.

Some WordPress developers hate them, but page builders are hugely empowering for everyday users. The ‘drag and drop’ functionality lets anyone create a webpage — and break content up into user-friendly, scannable chunks — with no coding knowledge required.

Platforms like Squarespace and Wix come with page builders. WordPress offers a variety of page builder plugins, including Elementor, Divi and Visual Composer.

Even if you hire a pro, make sure they use a page builder so you can make changes later.

34. Follow layout principles.

Proximity, WhiteSpace, Alignment, Contrast, Repetition.

35. Be consistent.

Whatever design theme you choose, consistency is key. Don’t chop and change.

Inconsistent website design is distracting. It looks amateurish. And it sends the message that attention to detail doesn’t matter to you.

Want to build trust with your audience? Be consistent.

36. Make your website fast.

Page load delays are an absolute website killer. Google itself learned this the hard way — once experiencing a 20 percent traffic drop as a result of a mere 0.5-second loading delay.

Nowadays page load speed is a Google ranking factor, so you can bet your competitors are working on this. Serving content to users fast is a top priority.

37. Make your website secure.

Hacking destroys websites and businesses every day — and increases every year. Don’t be the next victim. Your security starts with knowing the particular protections your web platform needs.

38. Test and test again.

It only takes an hour or so to test your website, but sorting out issues created by not testing can take all day—especially if you have an aggressive launch plan.

Create a Prelaunch Checklist! Test every button and every link. Make sure that forms can be submitted, purchases made, and free offerings downloaded. And of course, checkout how it looks on mobile.

39. Promote your website.

A website without traffic is just 1s and 0s. It’s the visitors who bring it to life — and no one’s stopping by unless you invite them first.

Remember planning the pathways in #3? It’s time to put the plan into action. Whether it’s SEO, content marketing, event marketing, viral marketing, Facebook or Google ads, social engagement, affiliate programs, surveys, or community building — invest resources to drive traffic to your site.

Recommended Resource.

Read The 19 Channels you can use to get traction.
Use The Traction Bullseye to grow your business.

40. Promote your website.

This is NOT a typo! Repeat, repeat and repeat again. Nothing is as important as promoting your website. Driving traffic should be a key weekly task, well-resourced with your time, energy and money.

Pro tip

Rather than trickle out little bits of promotion here and there, schedule it all within a short time frame for a more explosive impact.

41. Educate and entertain.

Most people who visit your website aren’t ready to commit. But they do want to know more — and this is where engaging content is essential. Teach people something, and their trust will grow. Entertain them, and they’ll stick around.

Congratulations! You’ve just got yourself an audience.

42. ‘Split-test’ your pages.

A ‘split test’ or ‘A/B test’ presents two forms of any given page to users — then tracks which page performs better. This is a secret weapon of smart players in online marketing. It’s not easily done with platforms like Squarespace and Wix, but some WordPress plugins can make it a breeze.

Alternatively, use a landing page builder like Instapage, Unbounce or Leadpages.

43. Measure, learn, update.

Imagine your website as a living entity that needs you to keep in touch and look after it. Learning how to tweak and improve your website with analytics is a continuous process.

Tools like Heap, Hotjar and Mouseflow are especially useful to help understand visitor interactions. 

Pro tip

When reviewing analytics data, focus on “Engaged” visitors rather than all visitors (which can be misleading).

Engaged visitors , for example, might include people who stayed on your website for more than 30 seconds or visited more than 2 pages.

44. Love your website.

You’ve built the garden beds. Prepared the soil. And planted the vegetables.

Job done? Far from it. Without continually tending to your garden, you’ll have nothing to harvest — and all that hard work will be wasted.

It’s the same with your website. Don’t just build it and forget about it. Keep showing it love. Keep producing fresh content. Keep updating. Keep promoting.

It’s up to you to keep your website — and your business — growing. Do it, and you’ll reap the rewards for years to come.

Perhaps you’ve just begun dreaming of a new website. Perhaps you’re already ticking off steps along the way.

Regardless, we hope Flowji’s Website Success Checklist gives you the knowledge — and confidence — you need to bring your website to life.

In the meantime, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you need more info on one of the steps? Or have we missed something important?

Wasting money on the web?

Become your greatest online asset with the world’s best DIY web guide.

The Website Success Checklist is your complete guide to a DIY business website that changes your life without wrecking your head! Bring Flowji’s wisdom into the room and get smart before you get started.

  • Step-by-step wisdom
  • Demystify DIY websites
  • Plot a clear path to success

Subscribe to get regular tips on how to create a successful website and get instant access to the free Website Success Checklist PDF.

Wasting money on the web?

Become your greatest online asset with the world’s best DIY web guide.

  • Step-by-step wisdom
  • Demystify DIY websites
  • Plot a clear path to success

Subscribe to get regular tips on how to create a successful website and get instant access to the free Website Success Checklist PDF.

Click here if you would like the Website Success Checklist but prefer not to leave you email address.

1 thought on “Website Success Checklist”

  1. I’d just would like to give you a huge thumbs up for this great post.
    I think it’s going to help me on my website journey 🙂

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Don’t make a mess!

Make a website that makes a difference.

The Website Success Checklist is your complete guide to a DIY business website that changes your life without wrecking your head! 

  • Step-by-step wisdom
  • Demystify DIY websites
  • Plot a clear path to success

Subscribe to get regular tips on how to create a successful website and get instant access to the free Website Success Checklist PDF.

Wait! Ready to create a worthwhile website?

Download the WSC and get Website Success tips delivered to your inbox.

The Website Success Checklist is your complete guide to a DIY business website that changes your life without wrecking your head! 

  • Step-by-step wisdom
  • Demystify DIY websites
  • Plot a clear path to success

Subscribe to get regular tips on how to create a successful website and get instant access to the free Website Success Checklist PDF.

​Embarrassed by your website?​

Make your next website the one your business deserves.

Download the Website Success Checklist.

Wait! We understand that you’re busy.

Why not download the Website Success Checklist PDF to read later?

The Website Success Checklist is your complete guide to a DIY business website that changes your life without wrecking your head! Bring Flowji’s wisdom into the room and get smart before you get started.

  • Step-by-step wisdom
  • Demystify DIY websites
  • Plot a clear path to success

Subscribe to get regular tips on how to create a successful website and get instant access to the free Website Success Checklist PDF.

Click here if you would like the Website Success Checklist but prefer not to leave you email address.