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Your essential website launch checklist

Excited to launch your new website?

Your website’s nearly ready, it’s been beautifully designed and built, you’ve been working hard on the content and now you’re ready to go! We get it… there’s nothing more satisfying than getting rid of your clunky old website and putting your shiny new one out into the world.

But there’s a few final steps that are worth taking the time to do properly to make sure your new website is as healthy as possible. Launching a website without checking the essentials can lead to broken links, lost enquiries, or your website falling down the search engine rankings.

Here’s our top tips for launching your new website, covering all the essentials.

Testing

This goes without saying (hopefully!). Presumably your website build has been through a rigorous process to check that the functionality works across the whole site. Remember to test your new website on different browsers and sizes too. What looks great in Chrome might not look as good in Safari, so it’s best to fix that before you launch.

Be sure to test your website on mobile. Mobile traffic is increasing year on year, and that’s not going to change, so make sure your site looks its very best on all mobile devices.

Remember that Google loves a fast website. Make sure you use their site speed checker to pick-up on any glaring issues.

Oh, and if you need to reduce your image sizes to improve the load speed then our favourite compression tool is Squoosh.

Content

Your content on each page should be double checked for spelling and grammar and all links should be working. Ask someone else to look over it with fresh eyes… no one wants to launch a website full of lorem ipsum!

Contact form testing

You’ve created your lovely new site, and you’re expecting more customer enquiries once it’s launched.  If a potential customers makes an enquiry through your website, you want to make sure they make it into your inbox. Test your contact form to ensure it’s working properly, and that enquiries are going to the correct email address.

SSL certificate

Adding an SLL certificate to your website authenticates it and keeps your site and data secure. Google penalises website without SSL certificates, so make sure yours is in place and up to date.

Cookies

With recent GDPR laws, all websites should have a Cookie Policy and Privacy Policy, explaining to users how you use their data, and give them an option to opt in or opt out.

Redirects

If you’ve got a whole new website, with new pages and content, chances are you’ve already created a migration plan to ensure your website doesn’t fall down the search engine rankings.

If you’re changing your domain name or URLs, be sure to implement any 301, 302 and 404 redirects from your old pages to the new content, and keep the user journey as seamless as possible.

404 page

A 404 page is essential to any new website build, especially if you’ve changed sitemap, or created any redirects from your old pages to new ones.

If a user lands on your 404 page, make sure there’s a relevant call to action to help them get to where they want to go, even if it’s just back to your homepage.

Site Analytics

Remember to add your Google Analytics code to your new website, it provides valuable insights into your website data, such as visitor numbers, page rankings and, user behaviour and will help shape your website and SEO strategy.  The same goes for other tracking tools, such as Google Tag Manager, Facebook Pixel, etc.

We’d also recommend setting up your specific website goals at this point too, making sure they’re tracked properly on the new site. If you had Analytics and goals on your previous site, you’ll be able to see how your new site is performing in comparison.

Submit your sitemap to Google

The last step is to submit your sitemap to Google – this tells Google that your old site has been replaced with the new one, keeping your domain authority and helping with your SEO. By giving search engines the most up to date version of your website, it can help your website get discovered and better serve users’ web searches.

It’s time to launch!

Once you’ve double checked all the above points and you’re happy with everything, you’re ready to launch your new website!

 

Launching a new website can be a daunting process, but by following these steps, you’ll have a healthy, error-free website. A new site can do wonders for your business, especially when coupled with a winning digital marketing strategy to get you in front of the right audience.

If you need help on any of the above, or you’re getting ready to make a start on your new website, then get in touch, we'd love to hear from you.

About the author

Fiona

Fiona

Fiona is part of the client services team, helping managing our client's marketing, branding and website projects.