Staying calm before the launch of your website
This is the last of my three blogs about getting your new business website up and running, and this one is about the all important ‘launch’! If you’ve come here after reading the first two, there’s a good chance you’re already knee-deep in the process and juggling requests from your agency with the demands of your business. It’s as hectic as it is stressful, right? Which is the perfect recipe for things getting overlooked.
Whether you’re the hands-on type and planning to manage the new site yourself through a platform like WordPress, or you’ve given that task to your agency, there are some steps between design and launch that aren’t always given the attention they deserve. And that can lead to roadblocks down the line. So here’s one final list for your careful consideration and, trust me, this one’s created from experience.
Holding page or not?
If this is your first site on a new domain, we say yes. As well as providing an opportunity to get users on board before launch, the longer your domain is in use, the better. Plus it saves a heap of admin on go-live day.
Collate your accounts
Of course you already have accounts for email, Facebook, YouTube, MailChimp, Google, etc, etc. But do you have the passwords? Do you know who set them up? If they’re going to be integrated into your website, you need all of that info to hand.
Prepare your updates
“Updates? We’re not even live yet!” Yes, true. But fresh content is the lifeblood of a website. And at this stage of the project it’s not uncommon to have new or different ideas for content and blogs. Rather than add them in now, make a plan to regularly update the site with new content. Google will love you for it. We have a handy little guide on how to get an ROI from your website.
Plan your maintenance
It’s not just the content you need to keep up to date. Technology moves so fast that even if you do nothing to your site, the world will change around you. So tools, plug-ins, software may all need to be updated regularly. Whether that’s your job or your agency’s, ensure it’s planned in, or your site is vulnerable.
Consistency is key
This one’s all about housekeeping. Are your headings, templates and designs consistent throughout the site? Are your images optimised for web? Do all of the links link to the right place? These are little things that will come back to bite you on the bum.
Is everything covered?
There are European regulations that set out how you can obtain, store and use your visitors’ data. Your agency should know all about it, but if you’re asking visitors for their information in any way, shape or form, you need to be up to speed on the rules.
Test, test, test.
Before your site goes live, get as many people as you can to test it thoroughly. On different size screens, different devices and with different browsers. Make a snag list and fix any bugs. There will be some. There always is.
Hit the big red button
Except, there isn’t one. Taking your site live is a little less instant than that. If you’re launching a brand new site, you can typically set a launch date. But if your site is a redesign, it can take up to 48 hours to be visible all across the internet. So factor that in, and make sure somebody is on hand to fix the bugs you missed during testing.
After all that you’d think you’d be able to put your feet up and relax. But sadly, you can’t. A website isn’t like a house, where you make plans, build it and move in. Instead it’s more like a garden. It requires, feeding, pruning and regular attention to get the very best out of it. I think that’s a good thing, and part of what making it ‘live’ means. So happy gardening. And if you need some assistance, we love getting our hands dirty.
You can also check out our eBook for launching a new website.