Designing a small business website is a lot of work. We know because it's kind of our full-time job! And while certain things are really hard to miss like an engaging header image and compelling copy other things are a lot easier to forget than remember. Again - speaking from experience here!
So today I'm sharing with you our final check cheat sheet to help you cross those T's and dot those I's like a pro!
This one is so often and commonly forgotten that at the time of this writing our website does not have one. . .
Forgotten Website Item #2: Copyright Date
If I had a dollar for every "active" website I've come across with copyright years dated from before my 2nd grader was born you wouldn't be reading this blog right now. The copyright date is simple enough to remember in the beginning but updating it is not so much.
Pro-Tip: when you set up your copyright use [year] instead of the next year and it will automatically update itself.
Pst.... don't tell my sexist, tax-evading, condescending ex-client in the Caribbean I told you that he was of the mind my simple female brain couldn't handle code tidbits..... We <don't> miss you Ben!
Forgotten Website Item #3: Creator Tag
Down there by the copyright you will find the creator tag. This is usually something l like "Web Design by The Clever Catalyst" or "Site Managed by Dr. Cap". If you have a web developer they will handle that themselves. If you are the designer -however - even if you aren't a professional designer you should tag yourself!
It may not seem like much but that extra lit bit can help you look that much more polished.
Forgotten Website Item #4: Favicon
Jumping back to the top of the site if you see that ugly little WordPress W or Wix logo it's time to fix that. The favicon is the tiny little logo/image on the browser tab. You can shrink your logo in Canva and get a favicon set up in less than 10 minutes.
Forgotten Website Item #5: Basic SEO
If you just said a few four-letter words.
I feel you! SEO can make even the most data-savvy person go cross-eyed. BUTT... you'd be surprised how much impact a simple Metadescription and alt-text tag can have on your search engine position.
If you're using Wix or Squarespace the page builders will have a small section for SEO. there you can set a keyword, metadescription, and a few other aspects.
If you're in WordPress I recommend installing a plug-in like ALL in One SEO, Yoast or another SEO tool. Each of those will populate its own checklists inside your builder and will allow you to make happy faces green by checking the items off the list.
The added benefits of one of these plugins (Yoast is my favorite) is that you will learn from them as you go and eventually you will be able to optimize a page without referencing the checklists.
Forgotten Website Item #6: Google Analytics 4 & Search Console
You may not think you need Google Analytics installed on your website right now. Maybe you don't get enough traffic to warrant it. Maybe you don't care about your traffic. And while these may seem like valid points - I hate to break it to you but they don't hold any water.
You can think about these like your social security number. When you were born your parents applied to get you a social security number. Does a baby need a social security number? No, of course not. But one day they will and when that day comes having an established social security number can be incredibly handy!
Whether or not you want Analytical data now is not really relevant. The real question is are you sure you (and anyone you bring into your business) will not ever need to reference historical data on your website?
Setting up Google Analytics takes less time than it takes to brew a cup of decent coffee and once connected if you want to ignore it for a year - it can only collect data for you!
Pro-tip: If you're using WordPress install Google Site Kit. From there you can create a brand new GA4 asset and connect it to the site in literally 3 clicks. Sitekit also allows you to connect and install Google Search Console which shows you what search terms are being used to find your business in Google.
If using Wix or Squarespace you will need to create the analytics property (Make sure it's Google Analytics 4 - they are retiring universal codes next year) and then just plug it in the designated SEO tools place.
Forgotten Website Item #7: Form Notifications
If you use Wix, Squarespace, or another plug-and-play builder like that you can likely skip this one entirely. If you use WordPress - stay tuned.
If you use forms on your site you will need to go into the form settings and make sure you have the form notifications set up. Sometimes these will pre-populate some of the form felids with tags like [Admin Email] and [Site Name]. I highly recommend overwriting those tags with manual entries like "Christi@clevercatalystllc.com" and "The Clever Catalyst" and also running a few test runs first.
9 times out of 10 those tags alone will cause your email to block the email as spam and you will never get the notification AND even once you remove those tags you should plan on checking your spam for a few weeks and consistently marking these as "Not Spam" until your email gets the point.
Chances are if you have a form live on your site you care about the entries. So let's make sure we're getting them.
And the list goes on. . . .
Are these the only forgetting small business website items? Of course not. That is, however; as much free advice as I can afford to give away today so I'll let that be my queue!
Not interested in handling these and all the other thousands of checklist items that come with building an effective and engaging website?
The Clever Catalyst has Website Packages that include all the things starting at only $1,100 and with payment plans as low as $275/installment. No long-term contracts. No monthly subscription charges. No fine print. Literally none.