03/28/2016 05:06 EDT | Updated 03/29/2017 05:12 EDT

Building A Website? Bring Out The Checklist

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Flat design vector illustration icons set of website SEO optimization, programming process and web analytics elements. Isolated on turquoise background

When I started my own business, I knew how important it was to have a website but I didn't understand how much work went into building one. Not only do you need to build a website for your business, you need to constantly be updating and maintaining your site to keep up with the fast-pace of the Internet. Here I'm thinking all you need is a hosting site, a domain name, and maybe a template with some photos and content. But that's far from the case.

Websites are always evolving and it's stressful keeping up with the changing times.

It's crazy. One day a link on your site might work and then the next day it's suddenly broken and your pagerank is in the pits. My personal worst nightmare? A visitor to my site who receives an "error, not found" message.

Yes, maintaining a website can be incredibly stressful.

But as I've developed my own business' website, I've picked up a couple of tip and tricks to make optimizing my website simpler. In addition to several website check-lists I use, I try to keep a to-do list on my computer to remind me to check on my site from time to time.

To make it easier on yourself, consider breaking your website checks into multiple stages: pre, during, and post launch. Optimizing your business website is actually a bunch of tiny steps that lead to a massive end result.

Right off the bat, I'll advise you to review all of your website content thoroughly. And I mean thoroughly. Go through every page of content and scrutinize every detail as if it were under a microscope. A huge pet peeve of mine is going through websites that have blatant spelling and grammar errors in the headers. These are some of the first words your visitor will see! Where is the care?

If spelling and grammar are your first priorities, then overall web design should be a close second. Your site should be more than just good looking -- it needs to function smoothly across a variety of digital devices. Have you ever tried loading a website but it takes forever to load, or the videos don't properly play and the pictures are missing? Website responsiveness is everything. If my kids have to wait more than a few seconds for a site to load, they'll simply "x" out of it and that's exactly what potential customers will do if your website isn't lightning fast. Like one to two seconds fast.

Before you launch your website, it's critical to test all elements of your site. If you have submission forms, make sure they actually store and receive data. Optimize all your pages so they load quickly and any pop-up windows actually pop-up when they're supposed to. Google's algorithm is constantly updating, so your website needs to be properly structured for SEO success. Remember to set your website up so it's ready to capture web data and analytics. This information will come in handy when you need to redo your website down the road.

Still with me so far? Websites are great for building your business presence online, but it's also an art that requires close attention to detail. Start by building a checklist of things to bring your website to life, such as content and design, then move on to functionality and analytics. When you break an enormous task like building a website down into smaller goals, you'll realize the process isn't so bad after all.

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