Launching a Website
Your website is the front line for your marketing and communications efforts. You update it with useful information to be a source of up-to-date answers and solutions for clients, members, etc.
And often times (some more often than others) launching a website, you overhaul it with a new design, new features and better information.
If you do this, it’s just right! Generally this is a difficult but rewarding endeavor. Unfortunately for many, this is also a time when things go wrong.
Here are 5 things to do when launching a website, so they can help you make sure that everything is covered.
Yes, it seems obvious, but there’s always something missing. This usually happens when the person creating the content is the same person checking it out. If you can, enlist the help of someone who is not a visitor to your website and have them read each page. Look for spelling mistakes, poor grammar, inaccurate info, etc. You may be surprised by what they find.
Have you done search engine optimization (SEO) in the past? Is this a good time to do at least some basic SEO? Do you have proper page titles, correct HTML markup and keyword rich content?
3. 301 Redirects
Often when you relaunch a website, you have restructured the site’s content and organization. When this happens, some of the links and their names will change. Google and other search engines, assuming your website is indexed, will have these old pages in their databases for future search references.
A 301 redirect tells search engines that the old page has been replaced and tells them how to get a new page. Your website developer or SEO specialist can help you with this.
4. Old Content and Bad Web Links
The cause is usually a lot of existing content will be reused. This content will include images, links, references to articles, links to other sites, etc. Some of this information may no longer be valid. The last thing you want to do is launch a website with broken images or bad links/information. Take some time and make sure this issue is logged.
For links, make sure the link you are aiming for is still valid. Sometimes a link may still be active but the content on that page may not be relevant to the content from which it was linked. It may also be something that is no longer important or full of outdated or even incorrect information. Take the time to do this check as it cannot be detected when proofing.
5. Test and Retest
Before you publish a website, it’s a good idea to post in a test area on a live web server. If you’re only testing it locally or on a separate test server from the web server, you may be missing out on some technical potential.
This is especially important with websites containing forms, surveys, database functions, etc. Make sure everything works the way you want it to.