Designing a business website is a complex and overwhelming process. One mistake, and you could be facing privacy or accessibility lawsuits with enormous financial settlement implications. Besides legal issues, there are some other consequences you may face when you don’t execute your website design projects excellently.
However, with a comprehensive website design checklist, you’ll have all you need to build a website that meets your prospect and customers’ needs and expectations while meeting your business objectives and satisfying legal requirements.
This article provides a detailed guide to 9 essential elements of a website design checklist you’d need to build a relevant, functional, and legally compliant website for your brand.
What is a website design checklist?
A website design checklist is a set of items and considerations that website designers and project managers evaluate to create and launch a well-designed and functional website. It helps the designers keep track of the website design process, ensuring all essential aspects of the design are addressed.
A comprehensive website design checklist comprises various elements, from the website layout to content, source code, design, technical, marketing, etc. These elements and many more combine to ensure the website meets all necessary requirements.
Why you need a website design checklist
A website design checklist is a vital part of your brand design checklist. It enhances your branding and business efforts in many ways, ensuring you have a website that appeals to your target audience and enhances your business goals.
One of the major reasons why you need a website design checklist is that it provides a structured framework that guides your website design process. This ensures that all necessary elements, plans, and tasks are implemented and executed accordingly.
A website design checklist is also vital to maintaining brand consistency. It ensures that your website is designed in line with all other branding elements, like your logo and color palette, and that your brand essentials, such as your vision, mission, and core values, are factored in during the design process.
User experience is also an important reason why you should work with a website design checklist. It ensures that your website is not only visually appealing but also accessible and easy to use. This is essential to meeting your target audience’s needs and avoiding web accessibility lawsuits.
Since you’re designing a brand website, SEO and visibility should be top of mind. A website design checklist is vital to designing a discoverable website, enabling you to attract high-quality leads from search engines.
9 essential elements of a website design checklist
Without extensive research, you can’t build a well-designed and functional website that captures your brand objectives and meets your customers’ needs. A comprehensive website design process checklist factors in user and competitor research.
Your design team must know what drives your audience’s motivation and the brand adjectives and phrases to use in building a website that resonates with them. This process can also be made simpler with a comprehensive competitor analysis. Look into the highest-ranking websites in your industry, examine their designs’ strengths and weaknesses, and use the insights gained to optimize your website.
Furthermore, your design team must factor in your website goal. Is it an e-commerce website, a traditional business site, or a blog? Whichever it is, it must be considered and included in the checklist.
2. Design and Layout
A comprehensive website design checklist contains a detailed layout, design elements, and plans. This is where you consider the website templates to use, where to source them, or whether to build your website from scratch.
The most crucial consideration is building a website with an excellent user interface. This involves creating and testing all the interface designs to see their responsiveness.
You can start by deciding which pages must be included in your website, from the homepage to “About Us,” “Contact Us,” and the products or services page. It is also here that you put measures in place to make your website layout responsive for all devices and screen sizes.
Also, lay out the text and date fields, checkboxes and toggles, error messages, and navigational elements (i.e., sliders, search bars, tags, icons, breadcrumbs, etc.).
Content is a vital part of your website design process checklist because, regardless of the type of website you’re creating, it needs text, images, and other branding elements to convey your brand message.
A website optimized with great content creates a strong connection between your brand and your target audience alongside the brand color palette.
Ensure you create high-quality, engaging website content that aligns with your target audience’s needs, making attracting and converting them into customers easier. Ensure you use short and non-fluffy sentences and avoid complicated sentence structures. You must also use bullet points to make your sentences readable and scannable.
And most importantly, leverage storytelling in your website content. People love stories, and your target audience is no different. It makes your content relatable and engaging.
Comprehensive website content includes images and brand elements like logos, typography, and color palettes. Ensure to use high-quality images and brand elements that give your target audience a vivid illustration of your stories.
Even more, ensure you optimize the images and other media for fast loading times without compromising their quality.
4. Source code
Adding source code considerations to your website design checklist is vital, as they ensure the website’s technical foundation aligns with the design and user experience objectives. A quality source code ensures a balance between your website’s visual aesthetics and its functionality.
You must consider the website’s overall performance, especially regarding loading time, cross-browser compatibility, web accessibility, SEO, and web security. Another thing that makes source codes a vital part of the website design process checklist is that it simplifies identifying and fixing bugs in your code.
It also enhances easier integration of your design elements and makes it easier to implement post-launch updates without disrupting the overall functionality.
A quality source code ensures you have a well-organized code that’s easier to maintain and update as the website evolves. This is especially useful when expanding into a global brand, incorporating a multilingual marketing approach, or expanding your audience reach.
To build a website that ranks well on search engines and attracts quality leads, you must consider search engine optimization from the onset. It is vital that web developers prioritize it when building a website design checklist for clients.
A robust SEO strategy provides extensive guidelines on optimizing meta titles and descriptions for each page on the website.
It also ensures proper implementation of heading hierarchy, descriptive and SEO-friendly URLs, and link redirect management.
If you’re not tech savvy and not outsourcing your website design process, you might want to get some SEO plugins, such as Yoast SEO, AIO SEO, Rank Math, MonsterInsights, etc., to help you with some tasks in this section.
However, some content marketing systems (CMSs) have built-in SEO functionalities, making it easy to carry out all SEO functions from one platform.
For a more extensive result, you can also get standalone, comprehensive SEO tools like Semrush, Moz Pro, Ahrefs, etc, to enhance your SEO marketing efforts.
Semrush is most content marketers’ preferred choice. However, if you can’t afford Semrush at the moment due to budget reasons, there are Semrush alternatives and free trial SEO tools you can start with until you raise a budget for Semrush.
The technical structure of a website is its backbone and the foundation on which everything else is built. This aspect of your website design checklist begins with getting a domain name, a reliable web hosting service, a content marketing system, and vital website plugins.
Ensure you choose a domain name that is short, catchy, and easy for your target audience to memorize. Your domain name should include or be the same as your brand name for brand consistency and reliability.
Once you have a good domain name, choose a reliable content marketing system that matches your budget, skill level, and business needs.
Website plugins are also vital here to add more features and functionalities to your site. You can have plugins for different needs, from SEO to analytics, e-commerce, social media, payment processing, email marketing, etc.
You must also implement a solid SSL certificate to protect the content of your website. Besides securing data and guarding your website against online theft and other cybercrime, an SSL certificate also boosts customer trust.
It assures your target audience that you protect their safety and privacy by protecting their data.
Website accessibility is something most designers and developers often overlook. However, it’s as important as every other element on the website design checklist.
In fact, expert designers never miss adding or suggesting it in the website design process checklist for clients while also noting the obvious implications of neglecting it.
There are many vital questions you must answer here if you want to consider accessibility when designing your website.
- Can everyone easily use your website, irrespective of any disabilities or impairments they may have?
- Does it follow the web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG)?
- Are there alternative texts for images and a proper semantic structure?
You must ensure you answer all these questions and make provisions for them to ensure you have a highly inclusive website that caters to the needs of the section of your target audience that is differently abled.
While marketing isn’t a vital part of your website design checklist, setting your website up to track user behavior and conversion from the design stage is a great step for your business. This involves making SEO and digital marketing provisions in your web design checklist.
Get the best SEO tools that enhance your website’s ability to rank for your chosen keywords and attract visibility from your target audience. Also, consider bidding for specific keywords your competitors are bidding for.
Furthermore, use the necessary analytics tools to study and gain insights into your website’s performance at every stage. Tools like Google Analytics, Google Trends, Kissmetrics, etc., will be valuable additions to your website design checklist.
Legal and privacy compliance is another important consideration on your website design checklist. This is vital to ensuring your website users are comfortable with their activities on the site.
They must know how their data is collected, stored, processed, shared, or sold to third parties.
Therefore, you must ensure compliance with several data protection laws, such as GDPR, CCPA, PIPEDA, etc.
What is a website design audit checklist?
A website design audit checklist is a set of tasks and considerations you can use to assess your website’s design, functionality, and overall performance. It’s similar to a website design checklist, other than the fact that it’s used to review an existing website.
A comprehensive website design audit checklist is vital to identifying the different areas of your website that need improvement.
Here are vital elements your website design audit checklist must include:
- Design and visual elements
- Content quality and relevance
- Technical considerations
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Accessibility and compliance
- Security and data privacy
- User interface and experience, etc.
Build a fully compliant and user-friendly website with a comprehensive website design checklist
A comprehensive website design checklist enables you to build a website that’s fully accessible, compliant, and easy to use, reducing churn rates and making it easy for your leads to convert.
It brings all your brand’s visual elements to life, helping you build a strong emotional connection with your target audience.
Working with a website design checklist is vital for building a website that leaves no stone unturned during the design and development process.
Hopefully, this article has given you detailed insights and equipped you with the nine essential elements you need to set up a website that meets the needs of your target audience and enhances your business goals.