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Creating a Website Launch Checklist

Streamline your web design project

If you are currently preparing a new website or redesigning an existing one, you’ll know that it is both an exciting and daunting task. Like a well-oiled engine, there are lots of moving parts. To keep the project running smoothly, make sure that you pay attention to all of the little details; the creation of a website runs smoothly, but only if communication is effective and understanding between clients and developers is solid.

Here’s our step-by-step guide to ensure that your website launch is a success.

Make an Itinerary

Prepare a checklist titled ‘project management’ for your website. Create a website launch checklist, detailing what content and calls-to-action you need on the website.

Section your checklist to three parts:

  1. Content,
  2. Design, and
  3. Development.

From there, list the specific tasks, set deadlines, and assign them to the respective professionals. This will act as a comprehensive plan of action, leading up to the set launch date.

Prep a Staging Site

A staging site acts as a mirror image of your final website, hosted privately, away from the public domain. Staging sites are used to prepare content and make any necessary edits ahead of the live-launch of your final website.

The Testing Process

Once you’ve got your website made and fresh content uploaded to your staging site, start running tests to ensure that the website works as it should. Make sure that you test each and every component of the website, double-checking that everything flows and that there are no bugs.

If there are any bugs, bounce it back to development for a fix.

Start Operation Testing

When you’re ready to start your final testing, bring a halt to all content and coding processes, and test the following aspects of your website:

Website Running Speed:
  • The speed of your website affects the user experience and everything that comes with it – including the conversion rate, as well as your Google web search ranking.
Images:
  • Double-check that all of the images within your content are consistent in both quality and size. Also, ensure that your designers have included alt text tags with each and that the images are compressed for the web as these play a key part in the webpage load time.
Check your SEO:
  • Search Engine Optimization is the most important factor of a website that wants to rank well on search engines. Make sure that every web page features a unique meta description and appropriate title tag. Everything on your site should be optimized, but your priorities should be the titles, headings, and body content; the titles of each image and respective alt texts; and the URL for each page.
Mobile Optimization:
  • Most people browse the web via their cellular device. With that in mind, you need to make sure that your website is accessible and appealing to both desktop and cell phone users. Also, Google’s algorithm rewards your website with higher search engine rankings if it is optimized for both. So, get that right.
Test The Forms:
  • Forms are an important part of a website, and if yours incorporates any, make sure that they work correctly. Check that the forms lead to the intended webpage, or that they successfully trigger an email.
Test Your Links:
  • There isn’t much that’s more frustrating than clicking on a link and being redirected to the wrong page. Test all of your links to ensure that every button matches up.
Check Your Content:
  • Proofread all of your content, checking for grammatical errors, and keep an eye out for any ‘stock’ placeholder text on any templates, making sure that they are all replaced with your content.
Make Sure Your Formatting Is Correct:
  • Font codes are easily positioned in the wrong segments of websites during the coding phase. Double-check that your webpages do not fall foul of this common mistake; make sure that everything looks consistent and there aren’t any random anomalies.

Think Safety First

Safety is a big factor for businesses on and off the web. Make sure that your website features an SSL certificate. An SSL assures users that your website is encrypted and, subsequently, any data exchanged on your website cannot be intercepted by hackers. Google now incorporates SSL certificates into its rankings, and so, it’s a great plus if you have one.

Map Out Your Site Correctly

All websites have an XML sitemap, which is a file of code hosted on your site’s server. The XML is what Google’s search engine looks at, and it lists every relevant URL that your website uses for the structure.

Check the Legality of Content

Copyright rules everything, these days, from music and imagery to content. Make sure that your website doesn’t have any copyright issues or trademark infringements, and consult a legal team about writing a Privacy Policy for your website. The Privacy Policy will detail the information that you collect from your users, like cookies, and how you use the collated data, ensuring transparency between business and audience.

Run the Stress Test

If you are expecting high volumes of traffic on your website post-launch, you should run a stress test before releasing. The stress test will simulate virtual visitors, showing you, roughly, how much traffic strain your website can take before it loses the ability to run correctly. If you allow your website to reach a faulty state, at any point, users will start to disengage from your brand.

Post-Launch Preparation

Neglected websites are the worst. When yours goes live, it will be fully-functional, attractive, and well positioned. This can change quickly. To avoid looking like an uncaring business, prepare to make enhancements for post-launch.

Create a document and list anything that you couldn’t manage ahead of the launch but would like to add to the website. After the launch, pay attention to the needs of your user-base; plan to incorporate additional features as and when needed.

Keep in Contact

You need to keep a positive relationship with all of the relevant members of your team and stakeholders. If any issues arise further down the line, these guys will be your go-to squad, there to rescue your website.

The Final Tick on Your Website Launch Checklist

You and your team will have worked incredibly hard to reach this point, but it isn’t over just yet. The day of launch will be a busy one, with the entire team present and ready to rectify any initial unexpected issues that your website may encounter. Also, make sure to submit your XML sitemap to all of the major search engines on which you’d like to be featured. Spread the word about your website launch via any and all media platforms, and then, tick off the final box your website launch checklist.

Summing Things Up

If you think this process sounds intimidating, we can help. At Agency Partner Interactive, our web design and digital experts can walk you through each stage of the process, as well as provide digital support services such as digital marketing and IT strategy consulting. Contact us today and let’s talk about how we can help make you successful.

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