Launching a website has some fundaments which ever business I believe should follow, last thing you want is there to be issues in the first few weeks of the site being launched.
1. Make sure all of the links work
Now this is every link on the website, whether its a static website or Content Management System (CMS) you need to make sure all the links are working plus have been updated to the new path (if you have built the site on a dev platform before hand). Please check your in page text, links in the pages (header and footers also).
2. Check your website speed
There is nothing worse than a new user/customer finding your website, and it takes 6, 7, 8 seconds to fully load on any device. You’ll lose customers before you even start.
Site speed can be checked via Google’s own Insights tool (https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/) – and you should be aiming for 75 at least and above. Mobile is usually more important for a high score due to the amount of people browsing on 3G or 4G connections, but don’t ignore your desktop rating.
Your server/hosting can play a massive part in your site speed, so make sure you host your website with a reputable host, ideally don’t go for the cheapest option and your find many factors that can cause speed issues later on. Your site speed and security depend on great hosting – my personal recommendation is Nimbus Hosting (we have been with them for over 4 years now, based in the UK ).
3. Ensure your 404 page is set up properly
A quick way to lose new customers is for them to land on a dead page on your website – a 404 page should be instructive and helpful in getting you back to where you wanted to be. It happens, sometimes content gets moved – and if you’re launching a replacement website, then your URL structure may have changed somewhere along the lines. You need to make sure if someone lands on your site and can’t find the page they’re looking for, they have options of a 404 page showing to easily redirect them to an page.
4. Set up any 301 redirects you might need
You maybe launching a complete new website, which you won’t require 301 redirects, but if your replacing an existing website then you could find there to be pages you no longer use and require to redirect to a new page with a different url structure.
5. Check your site works on all browsers and devices
It sounds odd, in this day and age to have to think twice about making sure your site works on mobile. But it’s important to ask the question. Does the site work on my desktop, how about in Safari – and what about on a PC in Edge? How about on an iPad in landscape mode – you need to be sure your site doesn’t fall over in any viewport
6. Install Google Analytics
You want to know what traffic you’re getting, where it’s coming from and what they’re doing on your site when they get there. Analytics will give you all of that information. Getting the script in place is the first port of call, but then actually use it too. You can take courses on how to get the most out of your data, or watch a few YouTube videos on the subject.
7. Optimise your Meta Data
Page titles and meta descriptions are very important to your SEO. If you get those right, and there’s substantial content on your page, then you have a good chance of ranking highly. If you’re not sure about these, get your web developer to talk them through with you. I recommend Yoast as a plugin for WordPress sites, which allows you to easily manage the meta data of each page or post within the editor.
8. Create social media accounts for your brand
Pick the channels that best suit your needs. There’s nothing worse than a twitter account with 2 tweets from a year ago. It stinks of a company that isn’t active. You should only pick channels that you can keep up to date regularly. Tweet daily, Post on Instagram a few times a week – know the subscribers and make sure you keep them up to date, with relevant content and posts.
9. Create and Schedule Backups
Good hosts will sort this out – but your web developer might be able to help too. You need backups of your site. What if you make loads of edits and 3 days later you get hacked, or the server dies – you lose all of that data. You need daily backups and the importance of these cannot be overstated. Get your host or web designed to sort backups before you go live. It’s a life saver!
10. Monitor Up-Time
You need to know if your site ever goes down. The last thing you want is a customer calling to tell you your site is down. There are loads of great tools, one of which is Uptime Robot, that can help track if your site goes down. But you need to be on top of it – your site goes down, your business goes down.