Before pushing your site live, here are five tips to ensure a successful launch.
1. Prep your audience with a temporary page
If it is a brand new site, having a splash page with a message such as “coming soon” will keep your audience engaged until the new site is live.
In addition, it is great to have an email list signup, both to maintain contact with your audience in the interim, and also to promote the new site once it’s live.
2. Proof until the cows come home
Proofing is not just about grammar. Here are a few things to check for on every page of the new site.
- Duplicate content
- Correct functionality of links, forms, buttons, hovers and anchor text
- Design – consistent headings and body copy, symmetrical placement of photos and other media
For general content, and especially the most important pages, create meta descriptions with relevant keywords and titles. See that content is marked-up semantically (i.e. <h1>, etc.).
3. Test in multiple ways, with multiple people
Depending on the size of the site, testing can take an average of about one or two weeks. Have two to three people help test the site on the most up-to-date browsers. Ideally, these people will come with fresh eyes, not having seen the site before.
As you review the functionality, test the site on multiple devices for speed and overall performance. Is something too slow to load? Does the resolution look correct in mobile, resolution-wise and symmetrically? How do pages look when you print them out? Have your developer fix problems accordingly.
4. Launch it quietly
Want to spend your weekend fixing errors and monitoring the new site? Didn’t think so. Unless there are special cases, we live by the rule to don’t launch on a Friday. Early in the week is best, so you have time to guide it into cyberspace during regular business hours and keep a semblance of work/life balance.
After everything passes the test, you can push your site live without promoting it. Make sure the site functions just as well live as it did in test mode. Here are the most important things to do in the process of going live:
- Change all hard links to ‘live’ URL/domain
- Make sure all old urls have redirects
- Repoint the Domain Name System (DNS) to the new site
- Back up everything
- Review title tags, meta descriptions and similar items with SEO
- Ensure there is no more test content on the site
- Respond to feedback through social media, Google alerts and more
- Check Google Analytics for problems, popular pages, etc. and make any necessary adjustments
- Continue optimizing it for search by submitting to search engines and checking for relevant search results
- Check for updates on your CMS platform to make sure everything is still working properly
Congrats! Now that you’ve launched your site, create buzz and start getting leads.
Want to experience the thrill of launching a new website? We can help.