The Ultimate Website Design Checklist for 2024

This website design checklist will guide you through the most crucial steps you’ll need to take to ensure your online presence is set up for success.

After all, we’re living in a world where every business or entrepreneur needs a digital identity. Whether you’re building a portfolio to attract clients, creating an ecommerce store, or just designing your own blog, a solid presence is crucial.

Around 59% of customers say they prefer browsing beautiful websites to plain ones, and the majority of your audience will abandon your company entirely if they feel your site doesn’t live up to expectations.

Fortunately, thanks to a wide range of website builders on the market today, creating a compelling site doesn’t have to be as complex as it seems.

Today, we’re going to provide a simple, step-by-step guide to some of the core steps you should include in your website design journey.

Let’s dive in.

The Pre Web Design Checklist

Although it’s easier than ever to jump straight into designing your own site today, thanks to builders like Wix, BigCommerce, and Squarespace, it’s important to ensure you’re fully prepared first. Here’s what you should do before you start designing.

1. Conduct extensive research

First, you need to do your research. Decide what the purpose of your website is going to be, and who your target audience is.

Examine your current marketplace and ask yourself what kinds of site and content are generating the most attention from customers. What sort of audiences will your website attract, and what kind of value will you give them?

Creating a set of user personas to work with can be an excellent way to ensure you understand all of the core goals and pain points of the customers you want to reach. Outline the key demographics of your customers, their behaviors, and their preferences.

During this stage, it can also be helpful to conduct some competitor research. Find out which sites already exist that offer the same benefits and features as your website.

How are they reaching their audience? What customers do they fail to serve? What kind of design strategies have they used?

2. Define your goals and objectives

You should already have a basic idea of what your website is going to be used for. However, it can be helpful to establish some specific goals and objectives too.

Start by defining your business, and what it has to offer your target audience. Ask how your website will empower you to deliver a better quality of service to your customers.

What does your site need to be able to accomplish? Are you building an online store, portfolio, or a community site where you can host events and courses for your customers? Do you want to focus heavily on content creation, and if so, how can you ensure you’re producing the right content for your target audience?

Determine how you’ll monitor the success of your website. What metrics will you need to keep track of to determine whether your site is a success? You might look at things like traffic and engagement rate on Google analytics, or conversion rates with built-in ecommerce tools.

3. Outline core website functionality

Once you understand the purpose of your site, and the target audience you’re going to reach, it’s time to figure out what kind of features you need to embed into your site.

This will help you to plan your website design, and also ensure you can select the right website builder or platform for your specific needs. For instance, if you want to create a truly unique online experience, you might consider using an open-source platform like WordPress, or a headless tool.

If you’re looking for ecommerce functionality, you might choose a hosted platform which already has all the tools you need to manage payments and transactions built in. Outline:

  • Crucial pages: Which pages should be included in your site, such as a gallery, “About us” page, contact page, checkout, and shopping cart?
  • Website functionality: Does your site just need to publish SEO-optimized blog posts to the web? Or do you want to create a community platform, ecommerce store, or online course?
  • Building requirements: Do you have the technical knowledge to design a website from scratch, or do you need to leverage a specialist toolkit to help you?

Design Checklist

Once you’ve outlined the core components of your website, and what kind of audience you’re going to be reaching, the next step is to start developing your design. You can use wireframe tools, graphic design solutions, and even website-building platforms during this stage.

4. Develop your visual brand

94% of a customer’s first impression of your company will depend on the design you choose. Your site needs to reflect the core elements of your brand, so it’s important to think about how you’re going to connect with your customers with the right visual components.

Create a company logo that conveys the core values and vision of your company. If you don’t have a business logo already, you can hire a professional designer, or consider taking a DIY approach with an online tool like Canva. Some website builders like Wix also allow you to create logos on the platform.

Think about the color palette you’re going to use throughout your website. Remember different shades can have a different emotional impact on your audience.

Blues and greens are often associated with reliability and trust, while purples and pinks connect with compassion. You can use basic color palette pickers online to inspire you if you’re having a hard time.

Decide on a handful of fonts to use for your website too. The typography options you choose should be easy to read, clear, and relevant to the personality of your brand. Stay away from overly decorative or cursive fonts.

5. Plan your website layout for UX

Next, it’s time to think about how you’re going to organize all of the elements of your website into a structure that makes sense for your target audience. Think about how your customers are going to use your website, and imagine how they’ll navigate through your pages. Make it easy for customers to find the information they need with clean menus and search options.

Ensure you label all of the parts of your website correctly, avoiding any confusing language, and ensure the sub categories and pages on your site all appear where your customers would expect to see them. It’s worth researching some other websites in your niche if you’re struggling with structure.

Remember, your site should also be accessible. This means ensuring you have the right level of contrast in your colors, and that customers with disabilities can use screen readers if necessary.

Tools like Figma can help you to test out a comprehensive, accessible wireframe before you add it to your site.

6. Ensure comprehensive compatibility

When designing your site, it’s important to ensure customers will be able to access it on any device or platform. Use cross-platform compatibility checkers to determine whether the structure and design of your website works well across every browser, from Chrome to Firefox.

Platforms like LambdaTest can also help you test web and mobile applications across a range of browsers, different devices, and operating systems.

Make sure the websites you create are just as easy to access on mobile devices as they are on desktops. Remember, the majority of today’s consumers are leveraging smartphone browsers more than ever. Everything should still be easy to navigate on a smaller screen.

Content Checklist

With the visual elements of your web design strategy figured out, the next step of the design process involves creating content. You’ll need to invest in creating high-quality content not just for core pages like the “About” page, but also to help you rank in the search engines too.

7. Develop high-quality content

Make a list of all the pages on your website, and determine what kind of content they’ll need to include. Each page should be carefully crafted to deliver the best possible user experience.

Your “About” page should tell a rich story about your company’s origins. Your “Contact” page should help customers to connect with your brand, and direct them to FAQ pages. Even your homepage needs to be designed to engage customers with the right words and phrases.

As you’re building your content for each page on your website, think carefully about the user personas you built above. Ask yourself what kinds of terms and language your customers would use. Creating a set of tone of voice guidelines for your new website could be helpful if you’re going to be working with a range of content creators.

Alongside your core website content, you should also think about developing a strategy for blogging or content creation. This simple digital marketing strategy will help you to boost your presence online, and keep your customers on your site for longer.

8. Build your SEO Strategy

Even if you’re not filling your site with dedicated blog posts, you still need a SEO strategy. All of the copywriting you use on your website needs to be optimized to connect both with your customers, and the search engine crawlers. Remember, 46% of product searches start on Google.

Research keywords you should be adding to your site based on your industry and target audience, using tools like Ahrefs and SEMRush, then embed them into your website content carefully.

Your content management system should allow you to add keywords into your metadata, blog posts, title tags, alt tags, and any other part of your site.

Think about how you can boost your SEO strategy by creating engaging content that drives attention from your target audience. Blogging regularly can help to increase the amount of website traffic you receive, and lead to a more successful website.

Finally, make sure you’re leveraging the right tools during your website development process to ensure you’re found by Google. Create an XML sitemap, take advantage of schema markup, and consider using third-party tools and apps to help optimize your content.

9. Proof-read and Edit your Content

Before you publish anything during the website design process, it’s important to double-check the quality of your content. The last thing you want to do is send the wrong messages to your customers by publishing pages with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.

Proofread your content carefully, or ask for help from a content professional. Make sure you double check the presence of any apostrophes, commas, and hyphens.

Ensure the content is structured in a clean and easy-to-read manner by using headings, subheadings, and bullet points.

If you’re using keywords in your content, make sure you’re not just stuffing them everywhere. This can make your copy sound less appealing to human readers. It’s also worth double-checking your style of writing matches with your target audience’s preferences, and your brand’s personality.

Technical Checklist

At this point, you’ll nearly be ready to plan your website launch. However, it’s important to do some last-minute checking before you go live. This quick technical checklist should help to streamline the web design process, and ensure you don’t have to redesign your entire site.

10. Test website speed and performance

Using the prototypes you’ve built for your website, examine each page and determine whether everything is loading and working exactly as it should be. The load time of your website can make a huge difference to both user experience, and your SEO strategy.

If your site takes any longer than a couple of seconds to load, you could risk losing 40% of your customers. Use speed checking services to examine the loading capabilities of your website across different browsers and devices, to ensure you’re delivering a consistent experience.

If your site is loading too slowly, you might need to work with your design team to reduce some of the weight in the templates you’re using, or adjust the CSS and HTML components. It might also be worth compressing some of the images and components used on your web pages.

11. Check for broken links and errors

While you’re examining the usability of your website, it’s also worth double-checking for any errors you need to fix before you go live. Make sure your internal links and external links are all pointing to the right place, and that there are no broken components anywhere.

If you’re using integrations or plugins with your website for things like email autoresponders and contact forms, make sure they’re working as they should be. Check the functionality of any forms on your website, and ensure your call to action buttons (CTAs) are working on all devices.

Google Webmaster tools are extremely useful for this process, as they can help you identify links with errors, find pages with missing titles, and even track down duplicate meta tags.

12. Make sure your site is safe and secure

Finally, ensure your site is secured, and capable of keeping information protected for your target audience.

If you’re using a hosted website builder, this should come with security functionality already built in. However, you may need to implement additional tools, such as two-factor authentication and malware checkers if you’re worried about security.

When you’re buying your domain name or hosting service, make sure you’re going to get an SSL certificate for your website too.

This helps to establish encrypted connections between websites and users, and allows for the transmission of sensitive data.

An SSL certificate will also give you an HTTPS URL, which can boost your credibility online. Remember, you’ll also need to update any plugins and patch your website frequently to avoid allowing hackers any access to your content.

Get Ready to Launch

These days, it takes more than just a social media presence to ensure your business can stand out online. Investing in the right web development strategy, and designing a compelling online presence will ensure you have the best possible chances of connecting with your audience.

Follow the checklist above to make sure you tackle everything from keyword research and search engine optimization, to user experience and functionality before you launch your website.

Remember, you can always consider working with a professional on your design strategy if you’re struggling. But if you want to go it alone, you can check out our other articles for tips on the best web design tools and platforms to use in 2023 and beyond.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *