The SEO Checklist for a Brand New Website Launch

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The SEO Checklist for a Brand New Website Launch

Dec 11, 2023

When launching a new website, it's crucial to integrate SEO best practices from the outset. 

This approach ensures that the website is designed with search engine guidelines in mind, which helps to avoid any significant overhauls or time-consuming fixes later on. 

It's a proactive step that aligns your site's technical structure and content with the criteria that search engines use to rank pages. 

By doing this, you're not only making your website more accessible to your audience but also setting a solid foundation for future online marketing efforts

This initial investment in SEO can streamline your path to better visibility and user engagement, making it an essential part of the website launch process.

SEO Checklist for New Websites 

Launching a new website? This SEO checklist covers everything from selecting a suitable domain name to optimizing your content with relevant keywords, ensuring your site is ready to make a great first impression in search engine rankings.

You can hire an SEO agency like Spacebar Collective or manage these tasks yourself for a more hands-on approach. Either way, this checklist is your roadmap to a well-ranked, visitor-friendly website.

Choosing the Right Domain Name

The domain name is your website's address on the internet. Pick a domain name that is easy to spell,  remember, and gives an idea of what your website is about. Avoid hyphens and numbers, as they can confuse users and be more challenging to remember.

Choosing a Hosting Service

Your hosting service is where your website lives on the internet. There are different types of hosting, like shared, dedicated, and cloud hosting. 

Shared hosting is a good start for new, small websites. It's affordable but slower. Dedicated or cloud hosting is better for larger sites as they are faster and more reliable. Some popular hosting services include Bluehost, SiteGround, and HostGator.

Keyword Research 

Conducting thorough keyword research is a foundational step in SEO that informs you about the phrases and words your audience uses to find services or products similar to yours. Tools like Google's Keyword Planner are valuable in discovering relevant keywords and have a good balance of search volume and competition.

Securing Your Website

Security should never be an afterthought. Protecting your website and your users' data from the start is essential. Use SSL certificates to encrypt data transferred between your server and your visitors. Many hosting services offer these for free or at a low cost. 

Regularly update your software, use strong passwords, and consider security plugins like Wordfence for WordPress.

Ensuring Mobile Responsiveness

Search engines, particularly Google, emphasize mobile responsiveness when ranking sites. 

A mobile-friendly website adapts to different screen sizes, providing a good viewing experience for users on smartphones and tablets. This means having a responsive design that adjusts content layout, ensuring buttons are easy to click and text is readable without zooming. 

Site Structure Optimization

For your website to be user-friendly and easy for search engines to understand, it must have a clear layout. Start by making sure your main pages are simple to find and use straightforward names like “Home,” “About Us,” “Services,” and “Contact Us.” 

Under each main category, you can add more specific pages. For instance, under “Services,” you might have different pages for each type of service you offer.

Picking the Right Themes and Plugins

Themes determine the look of your website, while plugins add functionality. For WordPress, choose a responsive theme. 

Astra and OceanWP are great choices. For plugins, start with essentials like Yoast SEO for search engine optimization, Akismet for spam protection, and WooCommerce if you're setting up an eCommerce store. 

Establishing a Content Management System (CMS)

A CMS like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal can make managing your content much easier. It allows you to publish, edit, and update content without knowing how to code. Choose a CMS that is intuitive for you and meets your website's needs.

Creating Content

Before launching your website, make sure you’ve written webpage content. Don’t forget to include relevant keywords. It's also a good idea to write and publish a few articles about your services or products. This helps visitors learn more about your business. 

Optimizing Meta Tags and Descriptions

Meta tags are snippets of text that describe a page's content. Each page should have a unique meta title and description that includes your focus keywords, as this helps improve your visibility in search results.

Implementing Social Media Integration

Social media can drive a lot of traffic to your website. Include social media sharing buttons on your content to make it easy for visitors to share it. Also, ensure that your social media profiles are visible on your website so visitors can connect with you on different platforms.

Checking Website Speed

Improving your website’s speed is essential because a slow website can make visitors leave before they get a chance to look around. 

You can use tools like Google's PageSpeed Insights to keep tabs on your site's speed. Just enter your website's address, and it'll show you the speed and offer advice on improvements. For instance, you might need to lower the resolution of your images or cut down on the number of things loading at once.

Remember, a good target is to have your website load in less than three seconds. WordPress has handy plugins like WP Rocket to help speed up your site.

Key Takeaways

Investing time in SEO for your website from the beginning is crucial. It ensures your site is SEO-friendly, and you don’t have to make major changes later.

Here's a brief overview of the key steps we've covered in our SEO checklist:

  • Select an easy-to-remember and relevant domain name.

  • Select the right hosting for your site size and traffic expectations.

  • Find and use keywords that your audience is searching for.

  • Implement security measures to protect your site and user data.

  • Make sure your site works well on all devices.

  • Create a clear and easy-to-follow layout for your site.

  • Choose themes and plugins that enhance your site’s functionality and SEO.

  • Use a CMS that's easy to use. 

  • Write clear, keyword-inclusive content for your web pages.

  • Craft unique and keyword-rich meta titles and descriptions for each page.

  • Add social sharing options on your website.

  • Ensure your site loads quickly and monitor its speed regularly.

The opinions expressed in our published works are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the National Association for the Self-Employed or its members.

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