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Website Checklist

I thought I'd share my personal 'Website Checklist'; a checklist for building, launching, and optimizing a website. It started as a combination of several website checklists, and has been revised many times over the last several years. This is by no means the most comprehensive list, as there are so many useful resources on the web, but this is what works for me. Hopefully it will be of some use to you.

Version: 2.3.4


Concept phase

Domain name

Try to avoid using hyphens in the domain name

Back-end

Server technology

Use HTTPS

Back-end techniques

Write/use PHP7 compatible code
Use static URLs, try to avoid using URL parameters
Use hyphens instead of underscores in URLs and file names
Prevent directory listing in the .htaccess file

Front-end

HTML, CSS & JavaScript

Doctype declared (HTML5)
Language declared
Character encoding declared (UTF-8)
No nested tables
No frames
No Flash content
Avoid inline styles for CSS
Obfuscate email addresses

UI/UX & responsive design

Choose a good front-end framework
Make sure the design is responsive
Meta viewport tag
Don't rely on hover for showing/hiding content
Make sure images are Retina-friendly and responsive

Performance

Concatenate and minify JavaScript and CSS files
Reduce external HTTP requests
Use CDNs (if you aren't planning on concatenating and minifying everything)
Compress images with the right format at the lowest acceptable quality level
Leverage browser caching

SEO & SMO

Technical

Unique title and meta description per page (no duplicate meta descriptions)
To increase the chance of Google displaying the actual meta description, make sure it contains the targeted search keyword.
Use rel="canonical" to avoid duplicate content
Good text to HTML ratio
Use alt (and title) tags for your images
Add JSON LD structured data
Add Open Graph metadata
Add Twitter Card metadata

Content

One focus keyword (or combination of words) per page
Good keyword density & consistency
Good heading structure (h1, h2, h3, etc.)

Wrapping up

Front-end

Generate a favicon in different formats
Create a Google Analytics property and implement the tracking code
Add a robots.txt
Generate a sitemap.xml
Specify the location of the sitemap in the robots.txt file
Create a custom 404 page

Back-end

Disable debug modes for production
Redirect (301) www to non-www (or vice versa) in .htaccess
Redirect 404 errors to custom 404 page in .htaccess

Optional

Add an Apple touch icon
Add a humans.txt

Pre-launch checks

Responsive / mobile-friendly

Mobile-Friendly Test

Validation

W3C Markup Validation Service
W3C CSS Validation Service
W3C Link checker
Google Structured Data Testing Tool
Open Graph Object Debugger
Twitter Card validator

Performance

PageSpeed Insights
GTmetrix

Post-launch

Google Search Console

Add the site to Search Console
Verify it by connecting it to its Google Analytics property
Set a preferred domain
Submit the sitemap.xml

Promotion

Add the site to social media profiles
Link building

Author: Arne Hendriksen
Published: 14-04-2018 14:32
Last update: 13-10-2018 13:30
Tags: development, hands-on