Tip Of the Month: Website launch checklist: what to do before launching your website

Let's speak friendly digital! Marie Nadal Sharma, Founder & Director of Them You & Me shares tips about demystifying website design.

Designing a website is a lot of work. It’s a combination of many small yet significant tasks that lead up to the big day – your website launch! In fact, it’s easy to get nervous as you get closer to the launch date because there’s just so much to get done!

A website launch checklist is very handy and helps ease your mind. It also ensures a smooth launch when your website goes live. The thing is, you may already know what’s to be done and have a clear plan of action, but it is only human to forget something or to leave it for later. That’s why a checklist can help.

Tick the boxes to make sure you haven’t overlooked anything.

 

1. Read your content again

When we spend too much time on something, our mind tends to miss errors like spelling mistakes and typos. Proofread everything...sometimes it helps to read the content of a page backwards - from bottom to top. 

When it comes to content, also check for its quality, its usefulness to your audience, a uniform tone of voice and grammatical accuracy. 


2. Where is your contact page?

Your contact page doesn’t just offer a way for visitors to reach you. It adds credibility and builds trust. Check to see if it is easy for your website visitors to find your contact page because people act on what’s in front of them and will not search for something throughout the website. Make it easy for them. Why not a form with an option to select?
 

3. Is your navigation user-friendly?

Try to think like your customer and use your website navigation. Does your menu lead your visitors to the information they are looking for? 

Navigation should be effortless, showing your visitors the main sections first, with conveniently placed dropdowns that lead to more specific content. 
 

4. 404 page

You probably shouldn’t expect 404 errors on a new website, but it’s best to be prepared with a custom-designed 404 page that is on-brand, with a link back to the homepage of your website.

You could also set up email alerts to track such 404 errors in order to fix them at the earliest. 
 

5. CTAs 

Call to action buttons are vital – they help your visitors move forward in their purpose on your website. Are your CTAs clear? For example, ‘Buy now’, ‘Register today’, and ‘Get started’.

Do the CTA buttons stand out? Are they easily noticed? Do they trigger an action?
 

6. URL structure

URLs are more important than you might think. Make sure they are named correctly.

For example:

www.abc.com/leadership-coaching-for-business-owners

vs

www.abc.com/services-test-1

No doubt the first URL is better. 

A URL should describe the content of its page, be logical, and easy to remember. It’s also a huge plus when it comes to SEO. 
 

7. SEO

While it may sound daunting, implementing SEO from the start will ensure Google indexes your website the right way. Think in terms of user content for your keywords and make sure your pages are structured the right way

Perform keyword research and decide what you want to rank for.

 

8. Sitemap indexation

A sitemap is a file that lists all the important pages of your website that you want search engines like Google to index, that is, to take into consideration.

I can almost hear you say, ‘where do I find my sitemap?’ Now, most SEO plugins provide a sitemap automatically depending on the CMS. A sitemap will often be www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml

You’ll want to find your XML sitemap for your website to check that you have it, and that it is valid. Then, make the URL available to Google by submitting it to Google Search Console. Now, give it a try!
 

9. Backup

It can prove expensive and time-consuming if your website is down, or needs to be restored without there being a backup. You can create your own backup strategy or use a backup service for your website. 

When you install a backup solution, test it before your website launches. It will save you a lot of time and additional work.
 

10. Security

Always take security seriously from the very beginning. Use strong keywords, and never the same one for other platforms or apps. You want to prevent the entry of malicious bots and hackers.
 

11. SSL certificate

All websites that store visitor information are required to have an SSL certificate. SSL builds a secure environment for both visitors as well as website owners, so make sure you get it; don’t take the risk of having your website penalized.

 

12. What we forget often – legal all the way

There are certain legal aspects regarding which your website designer will advise you to talk to a lawyer or the legal department of your company. These include:

  • Privacy Policy
  • Cookie Policy
  • Terms & Conditions or Terms of Service

Certainly not an enjoyable aspect of your pre-launch checklist, but totally necessary.


13. Clean up the backend

Before you launch your website and start adding to the backend, remove test pages, unwanted plugins, template blog posts, and other aspects that you do not need anymore. 

 

14. Test everything

It goes without saying that before you launch, you’ll need to check every CTA button, link, form, social media icon and other website features.

Avoid broken links as they can be the cause for a missed connection, communication and even sale.

 

15. Check your website on different devices

Ensure that your website looks great and functions well on other devices, especially on mobile. Your website is mobile-friendly if you can navigate easily on the device and interact with your website without any issues. 

 

Once you’ve run through this website launch checklist, you’re almost there! Don't forget to add the Google Analytics tracking code to understand how your website performs from the very start.

 

At Them You & Me Digital, we’re passionate about designing websites that are creative and effective. If you have any questions about your website or other aspects of your digital marketing, please get in touch with us. 
You can also visit our website to learn more about our services.

Close

FOCUS Magazine Issue 74 Out Now!