Before you get too anxious to reveal your business’s new website to the world, there are some extremely important things you need to go through before launching your new site.
Website Launch Checklist
As with any other important event, meeting, date or task, there are certain things you must have done to create the best possible first impression. You might have many chances to impress your visitors, customers, family, friends and also the search engines, but your first impression is the most important as it usually determines the long term success of most websites.
Test Your Website
The most monotonous, mind numbing task in this checklist is the first and the most important – website testing. It is crucial that you meticulously go through each and every page, link, interaction and form on your website to assure that everything is working as it should.
It would be nice to think that your website development company did this for you and you have nothing to worry about. However, at the end of the day, your website is an online representation of you and your business, not your web design company, so it is ultimately your responsibility to make sure your website works how you want it to.
Quick Website Testing Checklist
1) Cross Browser Testing – Your website needs to work and look good in these browsers (Firefox, Internet Explorer (6, 7 and 8), Chrome, Safari, Opera)
2) Link Testing – All of the hyperlinks and navigational links on your website must be directing to the appropriate pages and must not be broken.
3) Form Testing – All of the contact forms on your website should be submitting properly. It is recommended to have these forms send your contacts to a lead database and to your email so you have a couple backups if one or the other is down.
4) Interaction and Media Testing – Any interactive elements on your website need to be tested. Things like dropdown menus, flash presentations, videos, and other media all need to be checked for usability and accessibility.
Proofread Your Content
One of the worst things a website owner can do is to have content on their website that has not been proofread for spelling, grammar and punctuation. Surprisingly, this is one of the most common oversights on many newly launched, and even live, websites.
Content is one of the most important elements of any website. It helps a website rank in the search engines and it proves to visitors that your business is the best resource for what they are shopping for or researching. The fastest way to discredit your business is to have poorly written content on your website. Even the smallest grammar error could turn a visitor off so take the extra time and go through every single word, sentence and paragraph on your website before launching it.
You absolutely must get users (preferably those in your target marketing) to test your website from a design and usability standpoint. Hopefully you did this during the development and design of your website to avoid any setbacks or redesign work by your web development company.
Don’t just think that because you or your marketing person says that your website is the perfect design for what you want that it actually is. Remember, the end user (your visitors) are the people you need to ultimately cater your website to, not yourself.
The best feedback you will get on your website will be from others, not yourself or your web design company. By collecting this feedback before you launch and implementing some of the common things people are asking for you will save yourself time and money down the road with website changes and you will also increase the effectiveness of your website right off the bat.
Website Analytics and Tracking
You are just about ready to get your site launched. One thing you definitely want to make sure you add to your website is a solid Analytics and Stats Tracking program. This program will allow you to properly track the visitor trends on your website such as daily new visitors, average time spent on your website, the most visited pages on your site and much more.
This information is extremely valuable in the long term success and optimization of your website. By being able to recognize these trends you will be able to adjust your website appropriately and, in many cases, proactively.
Remember that optimizing your website is a process, not a project. This includes search engine optimization and website optimization. By having these stats and information handy at all times you will be better positioned to make your website as effective as possible.
RECOMMENDATION: Unless you are familiar with and already tied to a specific stats program, then we recommend using Google Analytics. It is one of the most robust systems for stats tracking and it is free.
Select a Launch Date
If you have completed each of the steps above, preferably a couple times, then you are ready to launch your website. The final thing you should do is to select a launch date. It is usually a good idea to not launch your site on a day like Friday when your web development company may not be available on the weekends in the case that something goes wrong.
Announce Your Website Launch
When you have your launch date, stick to it. Tie all of your marketing together by announcing your website launch. You want people to get excited about your new website so market it as you would a new product or service.
Here is a short list of effective ways to announce your website:
1) Write a Press Release and submit it to online PR websites
2) Submit your website to the search engines
3) Submit your website to social networking sites
4) Submit your website to business directories
5) Put your new website URL and launch announcement in your email signature
These website launch tips are just what you need to make sure that the first impression your new website makes is the right one. We wish you the best of luck with your new site launch.
If you have any questions on any of the steps above or need more detailed information or advice please do not hesitate to leave a comment below or send us an email.