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9 Things You Need To Review Before Launching Your Website

WebsiteLaunchListBlog

So you’ve been working on a new website and you’re almost ready to launch. Finally. Your team and your customers have likely been anticipating this moment for a while now. But now matter how long it’s taken, there’s a list of things you’ve got to review before launching your new site.

Your development team will have their own checklist, but your list is just as important. Here’s a general list that you can use to ensure you and your site are ready!

№ 1 – Content

Run Spell Check. This is especially important if your content includes industry terms that would be embarrassing for you to have spelled wrong. If you have a lot of industry terms that aren’t in the dictionary, this may require you to review each page yourself.
Run an eyeball check. Have at least two people (preferably those with high-quality writing skills) review your content for grammar, punctuation and extra long sentences or confusing wording. Need a little help? Try the Hemingway app.
Check all Calls-To-Action to make sure they’re concise and compelling.
If you’re also launching a blog as part of your website, make sure you take the time to write a few articles before launch. If you don’t have any blog content ready by launch, consider adding the blog at a later date.
Make sure your 404 page is in place.

№ 2 – SEO

Note: This may be part of your developer’s pre-launch list. If you haven’t discussed onsite SEO implementation with them, now’s the time. This will make your site more favorable with Google and other search engines. If you’re using a CMS like WordPress, you can do a lot of this yourself using a plugin like Yoast SEO.

Make sure you have high-quality descriptions and/or keywords in the following:
Title Tags
Meta Tags
Page titles, headers and sub headers
Image Names (name before uploading!)
Alt Tags
Also make sure your permalinks are descriptive (i.e. yoursite.com/pageID=241/ VS yoursite.com/about-us)
And make sure you’ve submitted a sitemap (a list of the pages on your site to search engines. Here’s one way to do it with WordPress.)

№ 3 – Design

Make sure approved designs match your website.
Make sure all watermarked photos are replaced with purchased copies or new imagery that you own the rights to.
Check all buttons to make sure they work correctly.
Make sure the placement of copy, images and other elements looks correct on multiple devices.
Check fonts, sizes, colors and the overall aesthetic for any glaring issues.

№ 4 – Analytics

Make sure Google Analytics is installed and functioning. (It’s free!)
Set up any Goals for pages or processes you want to track.
Make sure you have a reporting system in place, or you know what to look for when reviewing your analytics (we recommend you take a look every 1-3 months, dependent on traffic – more often with more traffic).

№ 5 – User Experience Walk-Through

Define 2 or 3 personas of users that might visit your site. Pretend you’re in their shoes and walk through your website. Is the information you want easy to find? Is the content relevant to your wants and needs?

№ 6 – Marketing & Social Media

If you have social media accounts, make sure they’re linked somewhere on your page.
If your social accounts are brand new, just like the blog, make sure you’ve shared some content before linking to them from your website.
If you’re using social media widgets on your site, test their functionality.
Make sure you’re monitoring your social pages daily for customer comments, messages and reviews. You may want to set up an Online Reputation Management system to keep track of this data for you.
Once you’ve tested your live site thoroughly, announce your website launch on all your social and digital marketing channels. You may want to wait a week or two before announcing to make sure everything is running properly.

№ 7 – Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Define what metrics will let you know that your website is successful and performing correctly. This may include items you can track with the help of analytics like time spent on your site, number of pages visited, or number of form submissions.

№ 8 – Testing

Click all links and submit all forms to make sure they work and go to the right pages.
If you have an eCommerce system in place, test purchases to make sure all facets from shopping to receipt are functioning.
Different Browsers (Safari, Firefox, Chrome, IE)
Different Devices (Desktop, Tablet, Mobile Phone)
Friend & Coworker Testing
Check 404 page and 301 redirects
Make sure backups are functioning
Test Page Speed. (Google and Pingdom have good tools for this)

№ 9 – Post-Launch Review

Schedule your next review of the website. Set it up a week or more after launch to give yourself time to work out kinks and receive initial feedback. Look at analytics, user feedback and overall performance to determine any adjustments or changes you might need to make.

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Guest Post by Kate Jones

Kate Jones

Kate co-leads the team at MB3. As a long time Account Exec, she has managed a variety of clients, from local Mom and Pops to giant Global Brands, working on both planning and creative sides. With more than 15 years of experience in both traditional and new media, Kate offers a holistic view and elevates client conversations from a simple site to robust piece of a client’s marketing plan.