Let's face it, starting a new website is stressful and exciting at the same time regardless of how experienced you are.
It is a complex process to build a website that requires attention to the most minute details like broken links, misspelled words, etc. Hence, planning and communication amongst different teams are essential to ensure that everything is in place before the website launch.
Of course, it is natural for things to go wrong and be overlooked, for which it is essential to have a detailed checklist of sorts to refer to before each site launch.
Read ahead to see what resources you need to launch a website.
1. A Responsible Team
Since this type of work requires a lot of planning and teamwork, it is essential to make a checklist for the project management to include the details you need and their deadlines.
Assign a role to a team or an individual as it takes diverse expertise to launch a site. This includes designers to select images and the entire layout of the site, marketers to write content and a technical team to handle the development at the backend.
Creating a team is essential. You can achieve this by using a responsibility assignment matrix (RACI matrix), making it easy for everyone to understand each team member's role and who to consult for a specific decision.
2. A Staging Site
A staging site is a replica of your site with a private server used to prepare and test code changes and content before they go live. You can use this identical environment to edit and test updates. This is extremely useful so that you don't end up messing things on the actual website or your site crashing after launch.
You can then use the Content Management System (CMS) to sync the templates and content on the staging site and the live site to get the same working environment.
3. Testing Procedures
It is to test your website and ensure that everything works efficiently, and don't forget to put in place a system to track enhancements and bugs.
An individual should be given the responsibility to prioritize bugs and filter the creative feedback they get. Instead of manually asking people for their feedback, create a more efficient process using Google Forms.
4. A Post-Launch Improvement List
Even with your best efforts to create a well-functional and well-designed website, there are always chances of it not going as planned. People or clients may not react positively to it, resulting in a loss of effort and money.
To be safe, use a growth-driven design which is a website creation method. Make a list of everything you want to add to your website but can't get it done until the launch date. Once the site goes live, gauge the interaction between the users and the website to add elements and features by utilizing user tester tools.
5. Rigorous Testing
Start to test by freezing the amendments to the code and content. Before you go live, some of the things to check for are:
- Site Speed Test: The speed at which a web page loads dramatically impacts the user experience, search result ranking, and conversion rates. Use a tester for site speed to get an overall idea of its load time.
- SEO Optimized Content: It is crucial to ensure all of the site's content is SEO optimized with titles, headings, meta descriptions, body content, URLs, alt text, and image titles in place.
- Test Links: Ensure that the links you place end up where they should to avoid confusion.
- Check Images: To save page load time, double-check that all images on your site are compressed for the web.
6. Website Security
A website's security is essential, and an SSL certificate provides encryption to stop hackers from intercepting your data. This reassures your visitors and boosts the site's SEO because of SSL inclusion in Google's search rank algorithm.
With an SSL and a secure site, you can move it to a new server. In the absence of an SSL, buy, set-up, and install one. Make sure you do this well before the website's launch since it can take approximately two weeks to get it into action.
7. XML Sitemap
An XML sitemap is a code file on your server with all the necessary URLs present in your website's structure. This feature helps web crawlers to figure out the site structure to crawl it better and optimize your website's search.
In the case of websites, you can never be too careful and attentive to details. Hence, you should be prepared for anything to go wrong and possible solutions to tackle it.
By following our guide, you can not only ensure a smooth website launch process but also expand on it in the future with features currently missing from your site.
With Definity First, you've found dedicated experts to help you onboard your team and grow your platform even if you already use HubSpot. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help your business excel.