Launching new websites is one of my very favorite things to do, but I always want it to go smoothly for everyone, so there’s definitely a must do list for a smooth transaction. Here is my checklist for things you must do before you go live.
Proofread, proofread, proofread. I don’t know how many times I’ve had panicked emails from people who didn’t thoroughly proofread their content and found embarrassing typos or errors. Proofread it, ask your friends and family to proofread it, and make any text corrections.
And not just on your desktop computer. Test it on a phone. Test it on your tablet. Have your friends test it. Make sure it looks great on every device, make sure all the links and buttons work. Test your forms and make sure you get those messages. There’s nothing worse than launching a site and then realizing a week later that you aren’t getting emails! It does take time to click on every call-to-action, every button, and every link to test, but it’s worth the time investment to be sure your site is ready.
Set up Google Analytics
If you don’t already have a site with analytics, you’ll want to set up a Google Analytics account so you can track stats on your website from day one. It is super important to know what kind of traffic your site is getting, to know who is coming and what they are doing. This data provides valuable insight on what’s working and what’s not working on your site.
Set up Google Search Console
This is in conjunction with your analytics account. Analytics will provide you a lot of data, but search console takes it a step further. You can find how people are getting to your site, but also know if there are any indexing issues. Google search console will alert you if they find malware. They’ll alert you if you have pages not found. You can submit your sitemap to be sure Google knows where your pages are.
Plan your Marketing
If you build it, they will come is not actually a thing. They may come. But they may not come. How are you going to increase traffic to your site? How will you share that you have a new site? Are you on social media? Will you send an email blast? Think about how you will drive traffic to your awesome new site and put a plan in place.
Plan for Maintenance & Backups
I am a backup freak. I want backups on top of my backups. Backups here, backups there, backups everywhere. Not too long ago a client came to me and was in a state because she couldn’t find some images created by her son. I was able to quickly pull up a backup I had made of the site (because I do that) and send her all those images. They had been deleted from her site, but I still had them. But don’t count on your web designer/developer to do this. Your site needs to be backed up regularly, and those backups need to be saved in multiple locations. We offer support plans that can take care of all this for you.
Think about Security
These days, you can’t be too careful. I’ve seen even the smallest, hardly visited site get hacked. Why? Because they could. WordPress is great, but it has to be maintained and secured to prevent potential hackers from getting access. Preventing a hacking is WAY WAY BETTER than cleaning up a hacked site. Less embarrassing too. Plan for how you are going to keep your site secure before you launch.
Prepare for bugs
My goal is for every website launch to go super smoothly, but prepare yourself that you may encounter bugs. You never know when some minor thing pop ups or details need to be ironed out. This is perfectly normal. I always encourage my clients to wait a few days after launch before they start marketing their website to the world, so you have time to deal with any issues that may come up.
Launching a new website can be both exciting and stressful, but if you plan properly, it can go smoothly and effortlessly!
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