Taking your website online for the first time can be quite exciting. You have probably spent hours and hours working on it with your developer and now the time has come. However, not planning properly the new website launch almost always means that there could be some issues you haven’t noticed.
It is essential for your brand that the website launch goes without any problems. Not checking every little detail before launch could cost you not only time but also a lot of money. The best way to avoid this is to have a detailed website launch plan.
While some people think of taking a website online as a simple action, it involves many smaller activities. Everything needs to be running smoothly to ensure a perfect new website launch.
If you are not sure how to plan for the website launch, you could create a simple checklist, just like those you make for shopping or while traveling. Having a checklist is a simple way to navigate through steps and make sure that nothing is forgotten.
To make it easier for you, we have compiled a thorough checklist that you should go through before you take your website online.
Favicon is a small icon or logo that appears in the browser just before your website address. It is a small piece of branding, but very important. People often tend to forget to add one, because it looks unimportant. Luckily, most of the modern themes enable users to add favicon easily.
When you feel that your website is ready to launch, it is a good idea to create a backup of it. If the live version of your site crashes, having a backup enables you to revert your website to last stable version quickly.
If you have already bought the domain and web hosting for your site, you should publish a “Coming soon” page. You can hype up your new website launch by adding a countdown timer, to get people excited. If you didn't buy a domain yet, and don't know what to choose, you should first know the difference between .com vs .net
On the other hand, if you are doing a redesign, it is a good idea to let your visitors know why the site is down, so that they know you're not having a hosting issue, and when it is going to be back online.
It is recommended that before new website launch, you check if all resources from third parties have appropriate licenses. If you are using someone else’s images or content without consent, you could face a copyright lawsuit.
Visitors don’t like grammar and spelling mistakes. This could potentially damage the reputation of your brand. To avoid this, take some time to check thoroughly all written content on your website.
Developing a website can have many stages, from initial coding to testing. However, sometimes the transition from testing to final version doesn’t go as planned. Often URLs can be mixed or not appropriately directed, so it is essential to perform checks of all links.
If you have a smaller website, this can be done by just clicking the links one by one and seeing whether they are working. On the other hand, if you have a more complicated website with lots of links, this process should be automated.
Often during development, many different ideas are tested, which could include plugins, pages or images. Don’t forget to remove all the extra stuff that the website is not going to use. They will not only take up server space but could cause the site to load slower. Also, optimize images so they load extra fast.
The loading speed of the website is crucial for success. A few years ago, because ofa 0.5-seconddelay, Google almost instantly lost 20 percent of traffic. You should try to deliver content to visitors as fast as possible.
Another reason to focus on making your website load faster is the fact that Google used loading times as part of their ranking system.
It is common practice to have a custom 404 page. You want this page to never appear to your visitors, but even when it happens, it should have the same design as your site. This error page is especially important when you are performing a new website launch since there could be some dead links.
Furthermore, you can take it a step further and add some links or funny animation to an otherwise ugly page.
Search engine indexing is often turned off during development because you don’t want anything indexed until the site is finished. However, it is essential that you remember to enable it after the site is live.
Syndication automation is a simple feature that can make your life easier. Basically, it shares every new blog post automatically to your social media channels, so you don’t have to.
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate adds another layer of security to your website. If you don’t have one, web browsers might mark your site is insecure.
Luckily, it is easy to get an SSLcertificate these days, so there is no reason not to have it before your new website launch.
The performance of your website is equally important on all platforms, browsers and operating systems. That is why you have to, during development, check how it works everywhere.
When it comes to mobile devices, you have to make sure that your website works as it should on both Android and iOS operating systems. Having a responsive design enables your site to change resolution depending on the size and resolution of the display of the device. This simple feature can save you a lot of time and money if implemented during development.
It is a similar situation on computers – you have two major operating systems, Windows and MacOS. However, there are quite a few different browsers. Responsive design can also help you ensure that your new website will display correctly. There are apps online that can help you emulate your website on a different browser, which can be very helpful during development.
Before creating content for your new website, you should invest some time into keyword research and keyword mapping. You don’t have to do this for all your pages, but at least for those that you find important. After you finish keyword research, add keywords to all your landing pages.
Search Engine Optimization or SEO can take a lot of your time, but it is crucial for the success of your new website. It is essential that every page has a unique title and a meta description. For SEO, this step is important.
If you are not sure whether you’ve already done this, use an app like Screaming Frog. This program scans your site to check whether you have entered a unique title and meta tags for every page. Ideally, this should be done before your new website launch.
Nothing can slow down your website like large images. They make your site beautiful, but they shouldn’t affect the performance.
There are hundreds of free online apps (like TinyPng) that can help you optimize your images, without compromising the quality.