12 Things To Tick Off Before You Launch Your Website
Whether this is your first or hundredth website launch, having a website launch checklist is beneficial. Check these 12 things before you launch your website.
1. Make Sure You Have a Working SSL Certificate
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates are essential for successful websites. Have you ever clicked on a website and been warned that your connection is not private? This is what could happen to potential customers clicking on your website if you do not have a working SSL certificate. It goes without saying that this is detrimental for business and will dissuade many people from accessing your website.
Most will set up an SSL certificate for you. However, this is not a given. No matter what web host you are using, you should double-check that you have a working SSL certificate. Having an SSL certificate allows you to reroute all the website's traffic through HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). This will secure any data entering and leaving your website and will signal to other people that your website is secure.
2. Have a Backup Solution in Place
No matter how much time and energy you have put into designing your website, things can go wrong. So, you must always be prepared for the worst. The best way to do so in the world of website design is to have a backup solution.
There are various ways you can back up your website. It can be done manually, or through your web host or a third-party service.
3. Integrate Analytics
To have a successful website, you need to be able to analyse your website’s visitors. You can do this with an Analytics Solution. Analytics Solutions will provide you with insight on the traffic to your website, visitors’ demographics and behaviour, and more.
Google Analytics is free and gathers loads of data for you to use and analyse. For example, you’ll be able to see whether your website is underperforming by checking pages with a high bounce rate. Then, you can optimise those areas to ensure a better user experience.
4. Check Your Site’s Internal Links and Navigation
No matter how aesthetically pleasing your website is, it must be easy to navigate. Internal links have to work. If users cannot find their way around your website, they will be discouraged from using it. It also makes your business look bad as it indicates a lack of attention to detail.
It is essential that your navigation menu does not have any glitches. This is the starting point for most users and it’s often a deal-breaker if they cannot work the most fundamental part of your website.
After you have checked your navigation menu, make sure that all your internal links are in good form. Rather have fewer internal links that work than too many that are glitchy. So, start simple. You can always add to your website over time.
There are 5 key pages that new websites should always start with. These are the Home Page, About Page, Products/Services Page, Blog, and Contact Page.
5. Be Prepared for 404 Errors
404 errors arise when someone tries to access a page that cannot be found. Should this occur, you want to ensure that you have a clear, effective 404 page.
Set up a 404 page that will alert visitors to the problem and guide them on how to resolve it. Ideally, your 404 page should use clear language. It should also include a link redirecting customers to your home page and contact information should they get stuck.
Proofreading seems so obvious that many forget to do it before launching a website. This is exactly why we’ve included it on our website launch checklist. You don’t want to put so much time and energy into a website only for it to come across as half-baked because of typos.
When you have written something, it is difficult to look at it objectively and pick up on spelling and grammar mistakes. There are many online tools that you can use that will pick up on typos. However, online tools lack a human touch. Therefore, it is advised that you get at least one other person to read through your text before you launch.
Proofreading is not only about spelling and grammar mistakes. You want the tone of your writing to reflect your website’s brand. Identify the purpose of your website and ensure that the tone of your writing will help you achieve it.
You will also want to ensure that you are using the right font, colour, spacing and headings with your text. This will ensure that your website comes across as cohesive and well-thought-out.
7. Check Your Website on Mobile Devices
Most websites are designed on computers. However, approximately 53% of web traffic comes from mobile phones. So, make sure that your site is mobile-responsive and optimized for small screen sizes. Ensure that the text is not too big or small and that all parts of the website are easy to click on.
8. Check Your Website on Different Browsers
Another thing to account for is the fact that websites might present differently on different browsers. There are so many different browsers out there and you cannot be expected to check your website on every single one.
However, this does not mean you should not check your website on the most common browsers. These include Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera and Firefox. Simply Download these browsers and see how your website functions on them. This way, you’ll be able to sort out any problems that occur with specific browsers before you launch.
9. Check Your XML Sitemap
Your XML sitemap is the file of URLs that search engines should index on your site. By checking your sitemap, you can ensure that all your key pages are indexed correctly so that they will appear in the search results for a relevant query.
To check your XML sitemap, you can use a plugin or an online service that will crawl your site to put together your sitemap. Once you’ve checked it, submit it to the search engines. 10. Add Metadata To Your Pages Metadata is what search engines use to determine the relevance of your website. It influences how optimized your website is for search engines. This affects how search engines will prioritize your website in search results.
First, you need to check your title tags. This is the title that will show up on someone's search engine results page. You want to keep these short (ideally below 70 characters) and make sure that they’re a true reflection of the page’s content.
Second, you need to check your meta descriptions. These will show up below your title tags. They are descriptions of what your page or post is about. You want to keep these short or else they will be cut off. It is recommended to keep these less than 150 characters.
You’ll also want to make sure that you include the keyword you want a page to rank for in both the title tag and meta description of that page. This helps search engines to know what your content is about so that it will rank higher for relevant searches.
11. On-Page SEO
Before you launch, make sure that your content and pages are optimized for search engines. Your content should be clear, concise and easy to read. Make sure that you also optimise each page or blog post for the keywords you want it to rank for.
- Other on-page SEO elements include:
- Check the Title and Headings tags are correct
- URLs should reflect the hierarchy of the website
- Optimise your images and add alt text to them
12. Check Your Technical SEO
Last, but not least, you need to make sure that you don’t have any technical SEO errors as this can affect your search engine rankings. Note the following on your website launch checklist:
- All title tags and meta descriptions should be unique and contain a relevant keyword
- Make sure that you don’t have any duplicate content
- Check that all URLs are working properly
- Make sure that there are no broken links
- Check that you have good page speed
Ready, Set, Launch!
Launching a website can be a nerve-wracking experience. There is so much that can go wrong that it is easy to forget to check for important things. Luckily, we have compiled this website launch checklist to help you check everything before your launch. Once you’ve checked these things off, you can be more confident in your launch knowing you’ve set yourself up for success!