Guest Author: Paul Wheeler
So you’re about to launch a new site? Congrats! We already know that a ton of work has gone into it to get to this point… But the process is not quite over yet. Before you hit the “publish” button, there are a few things to check and double-check.
Here’s our big 10-point checklist for launching your business site for the first time. Tick all these boxes, and you can expect your launch to go smoothly… And business to boom from there on!
1. Check All Functionality
And we mean everything. Every clickable point should be checked to make sure it works and your user ends up where they need to be. It might be a little time-consuming but don’t neglect this part.
You can always “outsource” this to a few people. Get some family and friends in on it and give them free rein to run through your website and test every element of it. They can make sure all clickable links go to the right place and even send an email through the contact form to make sure you receive it.
You may need to check things like plugins and other back-end features. But make sure all your bases are covered—you don’t want to discover later that something doesn’t work and you haven’t been getting emails, for example.
2. Verify Content
Check through all the content on the site and make sure it’s up-to-date, accurate, and relevant. This isn’t just for blog posts—even your website copy should be double-checked.
Whether you wrote it yourself or got a copywriter to do it for you, it’s worth the time spent checking everything. This includes things like contact details—email, phone numbers, and addresses—as well as any relevant information for your niche or industry.
If you do have blog posts on your website, make sure all stats, claims, and numbers are accurate. Also, make sure credit is given where it’s due, both for text and pictures.
3. Set up Analytics
Neglecting analytics before launching your site is like forgetting to check your petrol gauge before getting in your car. You have no way of knowing how your car is doing… Or if it’s at risk of dying soon!
Enabling analytics on your new website is essential so you can track how it’s performing from day one. This will give you insights into what’s working, what isn’t, and what you might need to change.
Install whatever analytics software you’d like. Google Analytics is an excellent choice, as it’s user-friendly and freely available.
4. Test SEO
Regardless of whether you’ve got a blog or not, your SEO needs to be on point if you want to rank on Google. That means you need to do some keyword research to look at what your target market is searching for on Google.
Once you’ve found your target keywords, you need to set your site up to be SEO-friendly. This involves strategically placing your keyword throughout the page and getting your technical SEO set up too—meta descriptions, title tags, and so on.
Don’t forget to submit your site to search engines, otherwise, all this effort will go to waste! Download an HTML sitemap and submit it through Google Console and any others you want.
5. Check That All Social Media Is Set Up
Make sure your social media icons link up to the right places. Once your site is live, you’re going to get traffic that’s interested in what you have to offer, and there’s a high chance that they might click on your social media icons to keep up with the news.
Make sure your links are active and that have no “dead links”. This sometimes happens when you add a social media plugin that gives you certain icons—for example, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—but you don’t have profiles for all of them.
If you don’t have a YouTube channel, for example, get rid of that icon—don’t just leave it sitting there.
6. Test Payment Gateways
If your payment gateway doesn’t work, you won’t be making sales! Make sure this is sorted before anyone pops on your site—not only will you not be making money if it’s not working, but you could chase away potential customers who truly want what you offer.
Customers won’t stick around if they have trouble with your website, especially if they want something you’re selling and it won’t allow them to pay. Make sure this is all good beforehand—you might have to make a test purchase yourself.
7. Check That Security Has Been Set Up
You don’t want to put a site out there into the world if it’s not secure. Not only does it leave you open to cyber attacks, but it also leaves your customers open to privacy violations… And once your company has that reputation, it’s hard to change that.
Make sure things like an SSL certificate, secure login, and customer privacy are in place before you click “publish”.
8. Test Responsiveness
Try your new site out on multiple different devices to make sure it’s responsive on each one. Desktop computers, laptops, smartphones of varying types, and even tablets. If you spot any strange-looking elements, go back to the drawing board to smooth it over.
9. Run a Stress Test
The purpose of a stress test is to make sure your site can handle traffic and data. It places your site under an unrealistic load to find its “breaking point”—valuable information that can help you figure out if you need to scale it up now or if it’s good enough for the traffic you expect.
10. Test Backups
Don't forget about backing your site up from the start! Your web host should do this for you. Your site may be new, but crashes can happen at any time… And you don’t want to have to go through a second full process of creating your site if something does happen.
Regardless of whether your website is on WordPress, Squarespace, HubSpot, or something else, these boxes need to be ticked for a smooth, successful launch. Take this list seriously and don’t skip one of these items… And you should see a successful launch and even more successful running of your site thereafter.
Our team of professionals at Connection Model can provide you with a comprehensive approach that will take into account all aspects of your website, from the technical to the creative. Get in touch today!
About the Author
Paul Wheeler runs a web design agency that helps small businesses optimize their websites for business success. He aims to educate business owners on all things website-related, on his own website, Reviews for Website Hosting.
Written By: David Carpenter