When we’re ready to launch a new website for your business, it’s paramount that’s it’s ready for the public. Over the years, we’ve helped launch many different types of websites and have dealt with a wide array of issues that can occur if not remedied before launch. We know how to avoid the most common website issues and how look out for the ones that occur most frequently. Everyone involved in the design and development of a website must be prepared to react properly to any issues that happen on launch day, which is why the following list of things to keep in mind when launching a website should help you navigate the common hurdles within this process and get your website up and running in no time.
Conduct Extensive Website Testing
Testing your website extensively before it goes online is not automatically going to ensure that no issues arise when the website launches, but it helps you substantially lessen the amount of problems you run into. As most websites are accessed by a variety of devices, it’s essential that you conduct testing for your website on each device. Do this testing well before the website is meant to go online, as waiting too long could mean that you won’t have time to fix any issue before the launch date. The best way to identify bugs and other website issues is to have a large number of people on various devices testing the website before going live. While testing doesn’t eliminate all bugs, it does increase the chance that the ones you encounter are minor in severity.
Factor SEO Into Your Website
There’s almost nothing more important to the success of a website than optimizing it for search engines, as failure to do so will lower the chances that your site appearing in the search results. There is a wide range of ways in which you can integrate search engine optimization into your website. Given the fact that our focus is on the design and internet marketing, we can help you identify some of the more common mistakes when launching a website that can adversely affect your overall ranking.
Focus on Security
When you are getting ready to place your website online, it’s essential that you focus on security when doing so, which is achieved by making certain that you use HTTPS, which is the secure version of HTTP. This means that every time someone enters your website, the URL will begin with HTTPS before a colon. Websites that don’t use HTTPS can be reduced in ranking by Google, which already handicaps your potential at increasing your customer base.
Enforce the Preferred URL of Your Website
One of the easiest mistakes to make when developing a website is to forget to decide whether or not your website URL will include a WWW within. Although it doesn’t matter if the URL is equipped with WWW, not making this decision means that there will automatically be two versions of your website, one that doesn’t include WWW and one that does. Google and similar search engines interpret this as duplicate content, which is why it’s recommended that you redirect to one or another.
Implement Tracking Codes
When you place a website online, it’s important that you include codes that will allow you to track how the site is performing, such as Google Analytics or the Facebook Pixel.
Create Required URL Redirects
In the event that you already have a website in place and are replacing it with a new one, you will want to make sure that every facet of your current website redirects to your new one once it has been launched. If you fail to do so, the pages on your old website that Google has indexed will lead to a 404 error when someone attempts to access them, which means that the page won’t be found. Google and similar search engines are not exactly fans of this error and could rank all of your content lower, which is why you need to be certain that any old URLs are redirected to your new website.
Back Up the Website
If this is the first website you’re developing, you might not have any experience with failing to create backups and losing all of your work, which is a frustrating situation to say the least and can set back your timeline substantially in regards to getting your new website online. Everything needs to be backed up, whether you’re looking to transfer some pages or content from an existing site to a new one or are about to launch your first website. You want to have backups of all of the content before you start to launch your website, as there are a myriad of things that can go wrong during this process to cause you to lose this content. You could copy the files to an incorrect destination or overwrite some of your current files with old ones, both of which are errors that could suddenly erase months of work if you have no backups. To avoid this issue, backup your content to the cloud, external drives or better yet have a staging website.
Don’t Overlook the Importance of Hosting
While the overall quality that exists within the website that you’ve been developing is of the utmost importance to your success once you’ve brought it online, the host service that you choose for your site is just as important. Cheaper hosting options tend to lead to a mediocre user experience for anyone who visits, which is why you should heavily consider investing into a hosting service that’s known for delivering fantastic support, a high level of security, and speedy performance. There are several factors to consider when looking at the many options you have for a host, including:
Will the website be scanned for malware? Don’t choose a host that doesn’t provide this type of scan, as having your website infected by malware puts the information and details of your users at risk.
Will the host backup my website automatically? If the answer is yes, find out how often these backups occur and what it takes to restore your current website to a backup if ever an issue occurs.
Will security updates be handled by the host? If you don’t have the time or expertise to perform these security updates yourself, look for a host that provides this feature.
Is a web application firewall integrated into the website? If you want your website to be as secure as possible, it’s important that this feature is included.
Is caching incorporated into the website in order to lessen the strain put on the system and improve performance?
Does the website exist on many different servers? You don’t ever want your site to be placed on just one shared server, as the failure of this server could mean lengthy downtime for the site.
If any of the aforementioned questions don’t come with satisfying answers, don’t hesitate to consider a different host for your website.
Make Sure Your E-mail System Works Properly
Although it might not seem like a difficult thing to get working, transitioning your current e-mail system to a new website can be very tricky if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s essential that your e-mail service remains intact when moving to a new host, which is why you need to identify the service provider for your e-mail system and focus on migrating it unless you’re changing the system altogether. If you’re considering a new service, you should know where the DNS is handled, whether it’s by your host, the domain registrar, or a different service. No matter which of these manages your DNS records, it’s important that they are aware of the details pertaining to your e-mail system so that it transfers correctly when launching your website.
How to Handle Post Launch
Before you launch your website, you will need to have the post launch period mapped out so as to avoid making costly mistakes during the process. If you haven’t planned on what to do in the days and weeks following the launch of a website, you are bound to run into a myriad of issues. There are a variety of things you should consider when planning for this period after launch:
Who has control over the site? You can’t let just anyone control and manage your website once it’s placed online, which is why it’s essential that the ones you provide with this access are trained developers who understand how to handle the database and code for your site.
Updating your code and fixing any bugs. You will need to make a plan before the launch of your website that details how any necessary fixes will be handled and how your site will be tweaked once it has launched. For instance, you might want to make an agreement for scheduled maintenance with the web development company who built the website.
Ensuring quality control when implementing content updates. The best way to build and sustain a customer base to your website is to continuously provide content that’s high quality. This content needs to come in regularly via additional pages, new posts on your blog, or some extra resources for the site visitor. Anyone who is handling these updates should be experienced in doing so. When making updates, do so outside of the live website, such as a staging site, so that you can test them before placing them online.
We hope this guide is helpful with the launch of your new website. Contact us about our web design services and we will handle all of this for your company.