Launching a new website is exciting! The process of putting together your business’s digital home is a detailed one, with many moving parts. It can be easy to get so wrapped up in the general activities of getting it up and running that you forget the deeper, smaller details that make a big difference.
As launch day gets closer, take the time to check each item on this list to make sure your visitors are getting the best experience from day one. Just a few hours spent on these points will avoid problems down the line that can cost you visitors, fans, and sales!
Your website is the first impression our visitors will have of your product or services. These first impressions are shaped by your website’s design and content, which play a crucial role in your success.
Make sure to proofread all the content for spelling and grammatical errors, as these add to your credibility. The content should be well-organized, with clear, concise language that’s easy to read. All information should be accurate and up-to-date.
Your website should be easy to navigate, so that visitors can easily find what they’re looking for. All pages on your website should be complete with all the relevant information, especially:
- About Us
- Product or service page
- Contact page
If the pages aren’t complete, you may find that your site has a high bounce rate because it lacks the information people want.
Testing your technical functionality is an important step. You want to be sure that all of your links work, that your website’s HTML and CSS code is valid, and that all of your forms and payment gateways work.
This will help prevent any errors or crashes, which can frustrate users and diminish your business’s online credibility. It’ll also make sure that your visitors have a smooth experience with a site that’s easy to use and navigate.
Test your website on a variety of different devices and screen sizes. It should also adapt to different resolutions easily while remaining visually appealing and easy on the eyes.
Statistics have shown that more than half of all the web traffic is from a mobile device. Your website needs to have a responsive design and automatically adjust its layout and content to fit the screen size of the device it’s being viewed on.
Other benefits to having a responsive website include:
- You can reach a wider audience as people can access your website on the go
- It provides a better user experience as people don’t need to zoom or scroll to see the content
- Improved search engine rankings, which can help drive traffic to your site
Your website’s performance is key to retaining visitors. A visitor can decide within a few seconds of landing on a page if it’s relevant to their needs or if it has the information they’re looking for.
Test your page loading speed before launching, with Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom, and WebPage Test. Make sure all your images have been optimized for faster loading times, as this can make a huge difference.
The performance of your website has a direct impact on search engine rankings, ensuring a good user experience so you won’t lose customers.
Before your website goes live, view it on different major browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. This will let you see how your website loads, looks, and functions on each, as every browser interprets websites differently.
If there are any changes to be made, do them before you launch your site so it will function well on various browsers. Double-checking this one step can help you reach a larger audience and reduce your bounce rate.
Your website’s security is crucial to the success of your business and you need to identify any security vulnerabilities before launch. If you do find any, you’ll be able to fix them and prevent any issues that could be exploited by hackers.
Not only can a data breach damage your business reputation, it can lead to losing customers and revenue; plus, you could be held liable if your website is not secure and your visitors’ data is stolen.
Here are some specific things to check when evaluating your website’s security:
- Make sure your website has an SSL certificate
- All security plugins have been installed and configured
- Enable two-factor authentication
- Make sure your website is using HTTPS
You can use tools like Sucuri SiteCheck, Qualys SSL Labs, and Acunetix to check your website’s security.
Optimizing your website and its content before you launch is vital for gaining visibility online. SEO readiness ensures that your website is optimized to be indexed and ranked by search engines like Google.
It also helps to attract organic traffic to your website and make it more discoverable if a visitor is looking for something specific. Here are few things to look at as you evaluate your website’s SEO readiness:
- Optimize each page’s title tags, meta descriptions, and headers with targeted keywords
- Ensure that URLs are user-friendly and structured to include keywords
- Set up custom 404 error pages and implement 301 redirects for any changed or outdated URLs
- Set up an XML sitemap and submit it to search engines
- Leverage browser caching
- Use the correct robots.txt file to control search engine crawlers’ access
Most web hosting companies, like A2 and iPower hosting, offer free web analytic tools that provide valuable insights into your website’s performance. Before launching your business website, check that the analytics tools tracking codes have been correctly implemented.
This will allow you to monitor information that can help you target your audience more effectively. Depending on the data you want to track, you can also use third-party analytics tools, like Google Analytics or MonsterInsights.
These can help you learn more about your audience, what the popular pages, posts, and products are, and how well the last marketing campaigns performed.
Think of a backup and recovery plan like having insurance for your website. It’s your safety net in case something goes wrong, like an update that doesn’t install properly or a server crash.
With proper backup and recovery, you’ll be able to restore your website to how it was before the issue happened without losing important files. Before you launch your website, make sure the following is in place:
- Cloud-based backup service, a local backup solution, or a combination of both
- Establish a backup schedule that suits your website’s update frequency
- Set up automated backup processes
- Regularly test your backups to ensure they can be successfully restored
Check that all your social media accounts have been integrated with your website and that social sharing buttons have been added. This will give visitors to your site a chance to share your online presence.
Your social media accounts are a great way to build authority, drive traffic to your website, reach a larger audience, and build brand awareness. It also provides an opportunity for you to track what content is resonating with your audience and which social media platform drives the most engagement and traffic.
Before your website goes live, it’s crucial that you double-check all legal compliance and privacy policies to make sure your website is adhering to all necessary regulations.
Here are some key legal compliance and privacy policies to be aware of:
- Data protection laws
- Cookie laws
- Copyright laws
- Trademark laws
- Spam laws
- E-commerce laws
Knowing what things to check before launching your business site is half the battle won. Spend a few hours making sure these are all in place, and you can look forward to a smooth launch and many happy website visitors ahead!
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 at his own website, Reviews for Website Hosting.
Jon Crain has written hundreds of website design and marketing article blog posts.
He is the sole owner of Pittsburgh SEO Services LLC which is a small business in Pittsburgh PA that specializes in affordable wordpress websites and digital marketing campaigns. Jon Crain has a marketing degree specializing in digital marketing and holds multiple internet marketing certifications. Jon Crain has over 25 years of experience along with managing hundreds of website projects and marketing campaigns. He also has won a variety of awards over the years from Tribune Review, Post Gazette and other publications.