Things to Review Before Going Live
Launching a new website is always exciting – you’ve put so much effort into its development and the world is going to see it soon! Obviously, you think your website is flawless but don’t get carried away – your product requires a thorough test before and after it goes live. Find a comprehensive website launch plan template before you proceed with its release.
Here are the main points that should be included in your checklist for launching a new website:
- • Content and Search Engine Optimization;
- • Design;
- • Analytics;
- • Website Browser Testing;
- • Pre-Launch Checks;
- • Day of Launch Testing;
- • Post-Launch Testing.
Content and Search Engine Optimization Check
Let’s start with the content. This is the first thing you should do when following your “How to launch a new website checklist”. Take some time to review all your website content and make sure everything looks good and works properly (there should be no broken texts, images or videos). Run a spell-check to see if there are typos or other errors. Remember that this website represents your business and any spelling or grammatical errors will hardly make users think your company is reliable. Here is the list of small content checks to make so that you do not miss anything:
- • Formatting (paragraphs, headers etc.);
- • Copyright date;
- • Company contact information;
- • Media files (all images and videos are in right places and displayed properly);
- • Rights to all content (make sure everything is licensed);
Once you checked all the content on your website, you can move to the search engine optimization part. If you think that SEO is only about proper meta tags, sitemap, robots and URLs, you are wrong. This part includes much more than you could expect! So, what SEO points should be included into a website launch list?
- 1. The “Coming soon” page- This is the very page that will speak for your brand and bring you leads. It takes search engines a while to rank a new website, so start optimizing your “Coming Soon” page to save time. This page should include all essential information that will help users see who you are and what you do.
- 2. Create social media profiles- Social media platforms are great for attracting leads and presenting your brand to the world. The larger social media community you create the more people will be aware of your website launch.
- 3. Prepare at least 10-15 blog posts- Content sells, and the better content you have the more traffic it will bring to your website. Besides, web crawlers will visit your website and you should give them a lot of high-quality content.
- 4. Optimize all pages- Make sure each page of your website is optimized and has proper meta tags, URLs, headers and subheaders.
- 5. Consider guest blogging- When you have a lot interesting content to share, you should try guest blogging. Search for websites that offer guest blogging opportunities and start generating traffic to your site.
When going through your "What makes a good website" checklist, you will definitely see good design mentioned as one of the core features, and it’s true. Design as well as content is what makes users decide whether or not they want to deal with your company.
The first thing to do on this stage is to ensure that the final version of the product corresponds to the approved mock-ups. If everything is good here, you can go forward and do the following:
- • Check website pages compatibility across all web browsers and devices;
- • Check HTML/CSS. CSS must be optimized across all pages;
- • Favicon is displayed properly.
Analytics is everything and it requires attention to every detail. What you need to do is to set up everything properly so that you have correct records from the very beginning. Create an account in Google Analytics (GA) and add GA code to your website’s configuration code. Please note that adding GA tracking code may vary depending on your content management system configuration. Once you are done, you are ready to start tracking traffic to your website.
Website Browser and Device Testing
The most common browsers today are Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, and Mozilla Firefox. It’s necessary to test your website compatibility with these browsers before going live. If your product works properly in Google Chrome it doesn’t mean the situation will be the same with Internet Explorer. You should also make sure your website works well on all devices (especially, if your product has responsive design). As most people use mobile devices for web surfing, you should guarantee them excellent user experience on their smartphone or tablet (obviously, besides desktop). What are the main points to check?
- • Code validation (HTML and CSS);
- • Performance across all browsers and platforms;
- • Mobile compatibility;
- • User interface;
- • Behavior (ensure users will face any difficulties errors).
All these things will give you an opportunity to find browser compatibility issues and fix them before your website is released. To save time and more, the process of testing automated, you can use special cross browser testing software such as BrowserStack, Litmus, Multibrowser, Sauce Labs, Browser Sandbox, and others.
Your main responsibility on this stage is to make sure all users get the same experience across all browsers and devices. However, before you start design testing, ask yourself whether you need to support all browsers. For instance, there are a lot of companies who do not support Internet Explorer as traffic to their website from this browser is very poor. Analyze Google Analytics data and decide whether you need to support everything.
Final Pre-Launch Checklist
So, you are finally at the finish line! All major tests have been completed and now it’s time for the last checklist. Your main goal here is to make sure you haven’t missed anything and that you covered all the points that have been previously mentioned. If you feel like there is anything missing then feel free to check it as many times as you need to, it never hurts! Just as a reminder here are some things to double check and some additional tips on how to test a website before launch:
- • Content;
- • SEO;
- • Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools;
- • Web browser compatibility;
- • Device compatibility;
- • SSL certificate (this is security issue that needs to be considered).
Day of Launch
The day has come! Stressful months of development, brainstorming and testing are over – you are launching your website! What an exciting event! You have been racking your brains trying to figure out how to launch a website with minimum errors. However, if you thinks you can relax now, you are wrong!
Stay focused on the process. Most likely something will go wrong, so you have to be sure that errors will be fixed as soon as possible. Don’t get nervous, just keep calm and watch the process.
As the leader, you create the mood in your team. It all depends on you whether your team will be focused or lost and stressed out. Be confident and everything will be great!
Finally! It’s time to say “We did it!” and breathe out all the website release stress you and your team have been experiencing lately. You definitely did a good job, and deserve to have a drink.
It can take up to 48 hours for your website to become live. Once it’s all done, there is some work for you to do:
- • Ensure that Google Analytics is collecting data;
- • Check search console configuration;
- • Use Webmaster Tools to request “fetch as Google” and “render” to have search engine index your website faster.
We hope all these tips will help you to launch a website and successfully present it to the world.
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