The idea of launching a website seems so simple, yet in fact it’s often easier said than done. There’s no magical button to press and then “poof” the website is live and you’re worry-free. There’s a lot of work that still needs to be done after your website launch.
You’ve made it. After hours of discussions and months of work, you’re finally ready to launch your brand new website. So what’s next? If you’re like many good business owners, you’re probably already thinking five steps ahead: planning about your sales funnels, creating content campaigns, improving traffic, collecting data, and so much more.
Here are my tips for ensuring your website launch goes smoothly, so you can easily transition into your digital marketing campaign.
Give Yourself a Grace Period
After your site is live, don’t publish your press release just yet. Instead, focus on testing, testing, and testing again. I’ve yet to see a website work perfectly immediately after it launches. Even functions that ran properly on the development server can glitch between moving it to its live domain. There are so many different parts that are working together on your site, it’s common to encounter broken links and lost functionality. If you hold off on announcing your new website until after you’ve given some time to double-check things, you’ll be able to fix small issues before they become an issue with your users.
Live Test It
Who are some of your key stakeholders? These are the people you want to be looking at your site. Reach out and invite some of them to test your site. Ask them to perform tasks that you would want your users to be able to complete, and then listen to their feedback. Maybe this means having them schedule an appointment, find a service you offer, or sign-up for certain subscriptions. The best feedback you can get about your website will be from the people you hope to reach with it.
Always Test Your Shopping Cart
Hopefully this goes without saying, but if you’re an e-commerce business, the number one thing to have your stakeholders check will be your shopping cart. You can’t make any money if you can’t actually sell any of your products.
Check Your Website Analytics & Tracking
Before you begin driving users to your different pages, do a few simple checks to make sure your Google Analytics is set up and tracking correctly. Once it’s good, be sure to set up a different view that filters your office’s IP address. That way, once users do start coming to your site, you’ll have accurate data from the beginning.
Create Missing Content
Your website may be new, but hopefully it doesn’t read that way to first-time visitors. You want to give off the impression of being trendy and timely, while also still being experienced. If your site has features such as a blog or a resource center that you plan to add additional content to, make sure they don’t start out blank. During your grace period, build starter content for your users so that when they do get to your site, they’re not disappointed.
Strategize an Ideal Launch Day
Launching your website is an event, so it should be treated like one! People won’t make it a big deal if you don’t. When it is time to announce your new website, make sure you do it at a good time. Friday afternoon at 5:45? Probably not a good time.
If you really want to go big, you could even plan a party of sorts, or have everyone at your office gather around for a sort of mock-ribbon cutting ceremony with drinks and celebration. If you make a big deal out of it, others will too. Not to mention, if you document the celebration, it could be your first company blog post: “Why We Redesigned Our Website for Our Customers” (and be sure to include images from the party!)
Once you’ve covered your bases with these tips, you’re in the clear to start promoting your site. Send that press release, publish that tweet, and pat yourself on the back! You did it and you should be proud. Now you can check “Build a Website” off your to do list and start on “Develop a Marketing Strategy.” …There’s always more work to be done!