I have built a lot of awesome web sites in my time. Odds are you have probably visited one of my awesome web sites in the past. Suffice to say I have learned a lot the past 15 years of my life while building these awesome web sites. My gift to you, is this awesome list of steps to follow when launching your next web site. As long as you’re able to make great content (which is by no means an easy task), following these steps will ensure that your web site becomes truly AWESOME!
Click on any step for additional details to be shown. The relevant tools & services are notated for each step.
Usually searching for Synonyms and using your creativity is more than adequate for identifying a solid brand & domain name. Just try to keep it as short as possible, use real words, ideally include target keywords if possible, shoot for a .com and avoid hyphens.
I recommend using Namecheap to search for the domain name. I’ve found that searching for a great domain in GoDaddy and not purchasing it immediately can lead to suddenly your great domain name no longer being available in a short timeframe.
I recommend using KnowEm to search all the popular social networks simultaneously and to check if there’s a registered trademark already existing for your newly identified brand name.
I recommend Namecheap for buying & managing domain names (cheaper than GoDaddy & no constant upsell nonsense).
If you’re lazy and serious about your brand I recommend utilizing the KnowEm service to secure the accounts for you.
I recommend HostGator for web hosting (great for both cheap shared hosting & VPS hosting) if appropriate given your needs.
I recommend Google Analytics; fortunately the service is still free and I’d be pretty shocked if that ever changed.
If you use Google Analytics the Comprehensive Google Analytics Advanced Segments Template Collection I’ve created will be useful for gaining deeper and more actionable insight into your web site visitors.
If you have no design skills you may consider a logo contest on 99designs
Utilize this social media sizing cheat sheet to save you some time when creating all the necessary graphics for this.
Use this template to create the iOS App Icons & create a transparent 32×32 PNG image and rename it as “favicon.ico” and place it in your root directory as your favicon image.
If it’s a relatively simple web site that may or may not have a blog –> Consider using WordPress
If it’s a bit more complicated than a simple web site & blog, but still relatively straightforward –> Consider using Joomla
If it’s a complex web site that isn’t going to be custom –> Consider using Drupal
If it’s a simple eCommerce web site –> Consider using Magento Go
If it’s something else –> Consider identifying web sites that are similar and utilize the Chrome Sniffer Chrome Extension to identify what technologies they run on for additional ideas.
Usually the free templates & themes are low-quality. If you happened to choose Joomla or WordPress you can use my Theme Sniffer Chrome Extension to identify what themes or templates other web sites are running if you are fond of them. I’ve found that one of the best resources for solid, premium themes for most of the major content management systems is Theme Forest. I would highly recommend utilizing a responsive design, as mobile is here and its becoming increasingly more important every day and will for the foreseeable future. 99designs is an option for a custom design as well.
you can use robots.txt to prevent search engines from indexing it while you’re building it, just create a text file named “robots.txt”, add the following 2 lines of text to it and place it in your root directory (just don’t forget to remove it once you launch the site):
User-agent: * Disallow: /
A great text editor can make all the difference. I highly recommend Sublime Text, it’s free but I would highly recommend donating once you realize how amazingly helpful it really is! It’s worth every cent given the amount of time it will ultimately save you.
Consider that 61% of mobile web site visitors will leave your site immediately if it isn’t mobile-friendly. That’s too significant to ignore. Use Google’s free GoMoMeter tool to ensure your site is as mobile-friendly as possible.
I recommend using the Google Chrome Web Developer Extension to do this. In the extension simply go to Resize > View Responsive Layouts to do this.
I recommend scanning the web site with GTmetrix to identify improvement areas.
I recommend using Adobe Browser Lab to easily see how your site renders in multiple browsers, versions and operating systems.
I recommend performing a free load test using Load Impact to make sure your site doesn’t crash or decline significantly in performance with 50 simultaneous users. You don’t want your site to go down when it goes viral for the first time!
If you create great content, you want people to be able to consume it in whatever format they would prefer. A lot of people like to utilize RSS feeds to subscribe to the web sites producing content they are interested in. If appropriate for your site, be sure to utilize FeedBurner so you can more effectively promote and track your feed.
You want to make it as easy as possible for search engines to index as much of your content as possible. This is accomplished with an XML Sitemap. Usually your CMS will support this natively or with a plugin. If not, or if you’re not using a CMS you can utilize the XML-Sitemaps.com service to do this automagically for you. Once its ready make sure to submit it to both Bing Webmaster Tools & Google Webmaster Tools.
If your site is going to be fairly standard you can save a bunch of time doing this utilizing Termsfeed.
I recommend utilizing AddThis so you can track social shares
There are plugins available for a lot of content management systems that allow for this. If you have an RSS feed, then you can plug in the URL for it at Respelt and quickly get all your content spellchecked this way. One of the easiest ways to avoid Grammarly Lite Chrome Extension while writing your content in order to identify it before it’s published.
I recommend creating an annotation in your Google Analytics account so you know what day your site launched officially.
I recommend Site24x7, they provide free uptime monitoring on up to five sites with 10 minute interval checks.
Aaron Wall’s 101 Ways to Build Link Popularity should keep you busy for a while.
Share the hell out of your great new content as you publish it. Tweet it, like it, plus it, linkedin share it, pin it, submit it, syndicate it, buffer it, social bookmark it, post it, comment it, link it, email it, etc.
Utilize HubSpot’s Marketing Grader and get recommendations to further improve your new web site.
Scan your site with WooRank for even more recommendations to further yet improve your new web site.
If you don’t enjoy working on your web site, you’ll soon get bored of it. You need to enjoy it in order to keep it going and make it a real success, so try your best to keep it interesting. Stick to what you love. The best products are created by the people who use them most. Do it for yourself and you can’t go wrong.
Time for you to make an awesome web site & while you’re at it…be awesome and share these 37 steps with your friends & colleagues via your favorite social networks below!