Keep Your Website Developer in Check

How a client completely lost their site. ( and what to do about it…)
February 5, 2017
Example Web Development Request for Proposal
April 5, 2017

Your website is important to your business. It is the online face of your company and it what makes the first impression for your business. Your site may look amazing but did your developer actually do a good job? There are many behind the scenes items that can be overlooked in the design or redesign of your website. Below is a simple checklist to keep your developer in check. This is a list of items that if not made sure of, could result in lost sales, revenue or even closure.

This form can be downloaded as a PDF here:  SMB Website Checklist Form Download

SMB Website Checklist

Basic Form to Keep your website developer on track and to keep you from losing business!

Your Rank in Search

If you rely on business from your organic search rank and you are redesigning your site, it
is very important to take note of your position in search before and after the site is
launched. Use a 3rd party tool to track your rank for 5 -10 top keyword phrases that bring
people to your website in search. For instance, if you are a wedding planner in
Washington D.C. then one of your keyword phrases would be “Wedding planner in
Washington D.C.” A good tool to use is Rankinity.com https://rankinity.com/

__Done
__Not Done

Responsiveness

Open your site in a browser on a desktop computer then take the corner of browser
window and slowly shrink the width of the browser. Does your site content look good at all
times? Check for overlapping text and images. Enter your site URL in the address below
to check if your site passes the mobile friendliness test: https://search.google.com
/search-console/mobile-friendly

__Yes
__No

URLs

Before your new website is launched, take a record of your website links or “URLs”. For
each page copy the link which would look something like “https://your-site.com/aboutus.
html”. These links should stay the same after the new site is launched. If not, there
should be re-directs to the new links.

__Yes. the links are the same and or there are redirects to new links
__No, the links are different and there are no redirects present.

Google Analytics

If you currently use Google Analytics, then is the new site tracking the visits. Many times,
your GA tracking code is not added to the new site. If you do not have Google Analytics,
then this must be added.

__Yes. Google Analytics is added and tracking my traffic
__No

SSL Security

This is a common overlooked item in development. Check your website address bar. Your
site should start with https://. If it starts with http:// then your site is not loading securely. If
you site does show https:// make sure to click on the Lock icon to view if your site is
loading fully secure. If there is a message saying your site is not loading fully secure,
there are coding errors. Tell your developer to turn back around and address the issues.

__Yes. My site is loading fully secure.
__No

Website Load Times

How fast does your website load? It is important to know this because a slow loading site
means a loss in sales. Google will rank you lower. A slow loading site is many times the
result of poor development and bloated WordPress themes. Visit this address and copy
your site URL to check the speed. If your below an 85% then your business can be in
trouble. https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

__Yes. My site is above 85%
__No

XML Sitemap

Request the link to your XML sitemap once the site is completed. Make sure your
developer has submitted this sitemap in Google Search Console.

__Yes. Sitemap is present.
__No

Google Search Console / Bing Webmaster Tools

Request admin access to Google Search Console & Bing Webmaster tools. Make sure
your site is validated through these free services. Do a scan for errors on these pages.
GSC will make it clear if things are not right with your site. Ask questions about items that
look off.

__Yes. My site is submitted to GSC & BWT
__No

Meta Tags

Your meta tags are what you see in Google search. Typically you see the title then a
small description for each search result. It is important to optimize each page with a
unique Meta Title and Meta Description. Request access to your page Meta tags so you
can edit them appropriately. Ignoring this could mean a drop in business.

__Yes. My Meta tags are properly optimized.
__No

Online SEO Tools

Run your site through an online SEO audit tool to see what could use improvements.
Take notes and ask questions about the red flags. WooRank is a free service that make
things clear to understand and how to take action on items that need to be addressed.
Some items make go beyond what your developer does but it is important to address
them. https://www.woorank.com/#features-home

__Done
__No

Browser Compatibility

Your site may look great in your Google Chrome browser but does it look right in Safari
on Mobile? Or in Firefox on desktop? There are so many different browsers and screen
sizes it is hard to ensure your site is loading properly on all devices. There is an online
tool that can take screenshots or even browse your site with any browser or screen size
out there. Take notes of issues you see and have your developer fix them.
https://www.browserstack.com/

__My site looks great!
__No, there are issues : (

Website Backups

Make sure your site is creating a backup and automatically sending the backup to a
remote Dropbox.com account in your name. This may not be possible with some website
types but at least make sure you have physical copy of your site or a copy somewhere
other than the server it resides on. This is insurance in case there are hosting issues or
your site is hacked and erased. This can happen to anysite at anytime so make sure
there is a clean copy.

__Yes, my site is creating backups
__No

Website Security

Ask your developer what is being done to ensure your website does not get hacked.
Make sure plugins are being updated and only trusted plugin are being used. Ask your
developer to add a plugin to strengthen the security of your site.

__Yes, my website is safe.
__No

**END – UPDATED 4-2017**

Use this list to make sure what you are paying for is quality work and what is done will not negatively affect your business. We rely more than ever now on our online presence so we hope this checklist will help you and your business.

Jason Houston
Jason Houston
Jason Houston is a web developer at Complete Web based on the island of Nantucket Massachusetts. He actively monitors the status and health of over 20 accounts to maintain position in search and to ensure each business is doing everything possible to increase revenue. Feel free to ask Jason a question at: jason@mycompleteweb.net