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Your Essential Website Checklist for 2021 Your Essential Website Checklist for 2021

Your Essential Website Checklist for 2021

Since the year is almost over, it’s time to make sure that your website is ready to make a great first impression to potential and returning customers in 2021.

Your website is your online headquarters. It represents your business in the digital space, and it can help a potential customer decide if they’ll do business with you or not.

You have to make sure that you consistently update it, making sure that each aspect–SEO, design, functionality, and content–is up to speed.

In this blog post, we’re going to discuss essential things you need to accomplish to make sure your website is ready for the new year.

Let’s get started.

Do keyword research.

When you do keyword research, you’re trying to determine which keywords potential customers will use to find your business.

If you’ve never done keyword research before, now would be a great time to start.

If you’ve done it before, you might consider updating your list of target keywords. You might’ve changed your target audience since you first did keyword research or maybe some of the keywords are no longer relevant to your business.

Get started by getting to know your target audience. Who is your ideal customer? How old are they? Where do they live? Where do they spend most of their time online and offline?

What are their common pain points? How can your product or service help alleviate these pain points?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll know your target audience a bit better. You’ll be able to identify which keywords they’ll use and what kind of content they’ll respond to. For example, a sixteen-year-old high school student may use different keywords than a sixty-five-year-old retiree.

Once you know who you want to reach, you can choose keywords better.

There are plenty of keywords research tools you can choose from. Ubersuggest is a free option while SEMRush and Ahrefs are highly recommended by experts. Carefully research each tool and select the one that fits your needs or budget.

Most of the time, you will have to enter a target keyword. The tool will then show you the following data:

  • Keyword Volume – The amount of traffic a keyword gets during a given period.
  • Keyword Difficulty – This is how difficult it is to rank for a keyword. Usually, the higher the keyword difficulty, the harder it is to rank for. It also depends on how crowded your industry or niche is.

Using the previously mentioned tools, you can also discover more keywords. Once you have a list of keywords you’d like to target, search each one on Google to make sure the results are relevant.

Let’s say you’re a freelance writer who’d like to find more clients in Sydney. You can enter “freelance writer sydney” on Google, and the search engine will show you your competitors. On the other hand, the keyword “freelance writer jobs” will show you job listings for freelance writers.

By looking at the search results, you can tell which of the two keywords can lead potential leads to your website.

Improve your website speed.

Speeding up your website could help you in two ways.

First, page speed is now a major ranking factor in Google’s mobile search engine results pages. Yes, it still has to work hand in hand with creating excellent content and a host of other ractors, but it can give your rankings a boost.

For example, both you and your competitor published equally informative content. You’ll have better chances of ranking higher in search engine results pages if your website is faster.

Next, having a fast website could also improve your conversion rate. Studies show that users leave a website if takes longer than a few seconds to load.

If users leave your website right away, you won’t have the chance to tell them more about your business or to convince them to purchase something from you.

Determine how fast your website currently is with PageSpeed Insights and Pingdom Website Speed Test.

PageSpeed Insights is a free tool created by Google that measures your website speed using data from Google Chrome users.

Pingdom is a similar tool. The mai difference is, you can choose the location the speed test will be conducted from.

For both tools, all you have to do is enter your URL and click on Analyze (PageSpeed Insights) or Start Test (Pingdom). They will then scan your website, rate its speed, and provide improvement suggestions. 

Upload a new sitemap.

A sitemap is a file that contains a list of all the pages in your website.

Search engines can still find webpages without a sitemap. However, if you upload a sitemap, you’re making it easier for search engines to find, index, and eventually rank your webpages.

You’re also making sure that search engines are indexing new or updated versions of your webpages.

If you’re using WordPress, you can quickly create a sitemap using the Yoast plugin. Once you’ve installed and activate the plugin, click on SEO on the sidebar and select General. You will then see an option that says XML Sitemaps. Set the toggle to On.

Once that’s done, you can view your sitemap at www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml.

You will then need to upload your sitemap to Google Search Console. If you already have a Google account, you can log use that to log in.

If you haven’t added your website to Google Search Console yet, click on Add Property under the dropdown menu. You will need to prove you own the website, and Google Search Console lets you choose from several options. You can connect Google Search Console with your Google Analytics account or download an HTML and upload it to your website.

After you add your website to Google Search Console, click on Sitemaps on the sidebar. Enter your sitemap’s URL and click on Submit. It will Google Search Console to a day or two to completely “read” your sitemap.

Audit your website.

By conducting a website audit, you’re checking each aspect of your website to make sure it’s functioning properly.

If you’re looking for a free website audit tool, we highly recommend SEOptimer. They offer a premium audit, but the free version alone gives you plenty of information about the current state of your website.

SEOptimer gives your website an overall score, and then scores your website on different categories. These categories include SEO, Rankings, Usability, Performance, Social, Security, and Technology.

Aside from that, it also provides a bunch of recommendations that can improve your website’s overall performance.

You’ll be able to see how many keywords you’re ranking for, how optimised your webpages are, how your website looks on mobile, and so much more.

By the time you’re done going through the audit, you’ll most likely have a ton of ideas for improving your website.

Need help getting your website ready for 2021? Cornerstone Digital is a web development company in Sydney. We’d be glad to help you turn your website from decrepit to dazzling. Call us on (02) 8211 0668 or email us at [email protected]

Darlyn Herradura

A self-professed book and digital marketing nerd, Darlyn Herradura focuses on building trust between customers and businesses with the written word. She understands that creating valuable content is the best way to get found online and happily spends her time doing that.

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