Countdown to Launch: 7 Things to Do Before Launching Your Website

Are you getting ready to wrap up a website project? It’s exciting to have the finish line in view after weeks — or even months — of planning. To make sure your go-live day happens without any hiccups, we put together this checklist you can run through right before you launch your website.

Eradicate small mistakes.
Proudly launching your website only to find a typo a few hours later can be embarrassing. Have your team do a full quality assurance check. Do all the links work? Are there any typos or missing words? It’s easy to look over your errors when you’ve been staring at them for weeks. Ask someone on your team who has never seen the website before to do a final review to ensure you don’t miss anything.

Ensure ease of navigation.
Once visitors land on your site, is it easy to find the pages they’re looking for? Are there clear next steps following each page? Do a few test runs and examine how a visitor typically interacts with your site. If it takes them more than a couple of seconds to find the information they need, consider re-organizing.

Test on mobile.
So far in 2020, consumers view websites via mobile over 50% of the time. If you don’t optimize your site for mobile, you’re drastically limiting your audience by alienating half of consumers.
Make sure to use a tool that lets you preview your website on multiple mobile operating systems. Don’t assume your layout will adjust automatically. Many don’t adjust at all or change poorly, leading to a bad user experience. The only way to know for sure is to look.

Prepare for errors.
Nope, not typos! You should’ve gotten rid of those already. We’re talking about error pages. Inevitably, users end up on pages they aren’t supposed to or don’t exist. To avoid losing those visitors altogether, make sure you have a custom 404 error page that redirects confused visitors.

Craft your visitors’ next steps.
Don’t leave the next step up to your visitors. Always make it crystal clear what action visitors should take next. Consider what stage of the buying cycle they’ll be in when they reach each page and make a sensical call to action (CTA) for what they should do next.

A home page, for example, should encourage visitors to check out your service pages or learn more about your company. However, your services pages should encourage visitors to read even more resources about your services or contact you to purchase.

Optimize for search from the start.
Install an SEO plugin (there are different options available depending on who you host your site through) and get Google Analytics set up. You don’t want to miss any traffic data, so it’s key to have all your data collection tools set up from the beginning.

Use your SEO plugin to optimize your website pages for search from the beginning. SEO is a long-game, and the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll begin seeing results.

Ensure your content complies with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
W3C developed the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to make websites more accessible to individuals with disabilities, such as those with visual impairments. There are four pillars of content accessibility:

  • Perceivable — Visitors should be able to perceive your website’s information quickly. Making your site perceivable includes adding alternative text to images to ensure assistive technologies can understand all content on your website.
  • Operable — Visitors should be able to use and navigate your website easily. It should be obvious where to find pages and simple to operate.
  • Understandable — Website content should be straightforward for visitors to understand. Any uncommon words should be defined, and default language should adjust by visitor location.
  • Robust — Your website should adapt to any browsers, operating systems, and assistive technologies now and in the future.

Meeting all of the above requirements not only ensures that your site checks a box, but it also guarantees that anyone who visits your website will be able to get the most out of it.

Ready for launch!

The moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here! Once you’ve double-checked all seven items, your website will be ready for launch.

Get ready to start driving traffic to your excellent new site and be prepared to make a few adjustments as visitors start poking around. No launch is perfect, but following this checklist will help you get as close as possible.

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