For many small business owners, DIY’ing your website is a viable option to getting your information out there. With a plethora of accessible drag-n-drop website builders like Wix, WordPress, Elementor, Shopify, Squarespace, Weebly, and the like, the accessibility to make your own website has never been easier.
That being said…
Designing a high-converting and attractive website and then optimizing your website for SEO is a highly technical process. While we cannot address every single aspect of what it takes to do so, we can give you our DIY Website Checklist – 13 best practices to get you started if you designed your site yourself.
That being said part 2…
We (of course) recommend you hire a professional web designer to build you a well-branded and sales-focused website. We (of course) can help you with that. 😉
Why is optimizing your website important for getting more exposure on Google?
Google prioritizes well-designed and SEO’ed websites. So, the more optimized your website is for SEO, and the better the user experience, they higher you may rank on search engine result pages.
There are many factors that Google uses to rank websites. This quick checklist is an excellent starting point to double-check your work. Have at it!
13-Point DIY Website Checklist
- Make sure every page on your website has only 1 (one) H1 heading tag. Your H1 heading take is the main topic of the page and having more than one can be confusing for search engines. So, be sure to use heading tags properly, and only use one H1 tag.
- If you are using a drag-n-drop website builder, take the time to set up your fonts and typography. Oftentimes, newbie website builders will just choose their “H1” style and then adjust the size and color at various parts of a page. However, the font is still tagged as an “H1” header which can lead to multiple H1 tags on a single page, which….is no bueno.
- Use your keywords from your keyword research in your headings and page titles. If you download our Free Google Guide, we walk you through how to start doing your own keyword research.
- A page example could be: “The Best Eye Doctor in Westerly, RI for Athletes”
- All your meta descriptions and Schema markup added to each page. The meta description is a short, typically 160 characters or less, description of each page. This is the snippet that shows up under a search result when you do a Google search. Having this description properly optimized with your keywords is very important to getting ranked well. If you’re using WordPress for your website, we recommend the RankMath SEO Plugin to do all of this.
- Your business name, address, phone number and hours on your home page. Often this is abbreviated as your “NAP”. This should be very clear as soon as you land on the website.
- Create a simple and easy to navigate menu at the top of your website. Your main navigation menu ought to be simple and easy, using clearly defined words that your customers can recognize immediately. An example of a nav menu would include:
- About Us
- Contact Us
- Avoid getting fancy or overly creative with these words. Just tell your visitors exactly what they can expect when they click on a menu item.
- I recommend keeping your menu to 5-7 items. These main pages can be broken down into child pages, but you want to keep your most important information about your business here.
- Have a clear CTA on every page. Examples could include: “Book an Appointment” button, or “Call Now”, or “Download our FREE Services Guide”. Direct your customers what you want them to do on every page of your site.
- Optimize your sites loading speed. Earlier this year, Google began to use your website’s loading speed as a factor in your search engine rankings. In short, a faster website gives you more SEO points than a slower website. Again, there is far more to this than we can get into here, but for starters, head over to GTMetrix.com to get an idea of how fast your site loads.
- Add the name of your business in your image file name, in the “alt text” on your website, and descriptions to the main images on your website that show your actual business. (Just don’t completely stuff your images with all your keywords as search engines don’t like that either.) If you have a photo of the front of your business on your website, name the actual image file: “store-front-of-eyes-on-nigrelli-eye-doctors-in-westerly-ri”. Your alt-text could read: Store front of Eyes on Nigrelli, eye doctors in Westerly, RI.
- Create a footer template to be used on every page that includes:
- Quick links to all your most important pages (you can simply use the navigation menu items we discussed above.)
- Your business name, address, phone number, and hours of operation.
- Your business logo.
- Your social media links.
- An embedded Google Maps location with your business name, not just the address.
- Add Google Reviews to your home page. Whether you are using WordPress, Wix, SquareSpace, or Shopify, there are several ways you can do this. The idea here is to show your testimonials and reviews right away. Don’t be shy to do so – 80% of customers read reviews before making buying decisions.
- Use high quality images on your site, preferably done professionally. It’s more than having pretty pictures on your site, it’s about capturing your customer’s attention and highlighting your brand in its best light possible. If you cannot get professional photos done, the new iPhones and Androids actually have excellent cameras, and if done in good lighting, you can capture some semi-professional shots with just your smartphone. Stock photos should only be used sparingly and not as the feature photos.
- Choose 2 fonts, 3 at the very most. Avoid using more than 2 or 3 fonts. And be very careful about cursive or script fonts as they can be difficult to read on smaller devices like iPhones. If you’re getting started, choose from browser supported fonts like Google Fonts. You can find all kinds of resources online for Google Font Pairings. Here are some resources to get started finding font pairings:
- Link your content to other pages on your website. This is one of the easiest ways to tell search engines which pages on your site is important and it’s called internal linking. If you have an article about “How To Choose The Best Glasses If You’re an Athlete” on your site, and you place a link to it on several pages, search engines will think “Oh, this person linked this article 4 times, it must be important” and will index the article accordingly. Be sure that every one of your pages is linked to from another page.
- Include a “Get Directions” button that links to Google Maps. Include a page on your website about how to get to your location and use local landmarks to help navigate. Link out those local landmarks to their corresponding websites. For example, if you are located inside a shopping center, include the name of the shopping center in your directions and hyperlink the name of the shopping center to their website. If you don’t want to make a separate page for these directions, be sure to at least add this information to your “Contact” or “About Page”.
BONUS DIY Website Checklist:
- Create a free newsletter software account. Get a free newsletter software to start collecting email addresses of your website visitors. You can use free software like MailChimp, but our go-to choice is MailerLite.com.
- Set up a “Subscribe To Our Newsletter” pop-up or form. Create a subscribe pop-up form or include this in your footer. A simple “Subscribe for updates” will suffice until you can complete the next step.
- Create a free opt-in giveaway on your site in exchange for email addresses. Using your Ideal Client Avatar, create a free 5-10 page PDF, report, checklist, how-to, or Top 10 list to give away for free on your website in exchange for your visitors email address. You will then need to sync this with your free email account software to get this sent out automatically. Answer a series of questions in our Free Google Guide to identify your Ideal Client Avatar.
Here’s a screenshot of pg. 37 of our free guide you can download. Where you can find this checklist along with a comprehensive step-by-step on how to get more exposure online.
You can download just the DIY Website Checklist PDF if you like.
If you’ve made it this far, pat yourself on the back. Not very many people would take on the task of building their own website, and if that’s what YOU did – heck, you should be proud, go-getter.
While I love encouraging people to express their creativity with their business online, keep in mind there are a lot of technical minutia that goes into building a beautiful, high-conversion driven website. DIY’ing your website when you first start out may make sense. However, in the long run, we behoove you to consider hiring out this aspect of your business to skilled professionals who can create a cohesive and well-branded website that puts your business in the best light possible, while also attracting your Ideal Customers.
Interested in outshining your competition online with a new website redesign? Fill out our Contact Form to get in touch about what you had in mind for your business!