The preparation for a website launch can often times be the most climactic part of the process. Just the word “launch” alone sounds kind of intimidating, doesn’t it? I think the term is very well suited, as a lot of work goes into getting a website live. Your new web presence is essentially getting ready for take-off into a space called the world-wide-web. So to best prepare yourself for the main event, we’ve compiled some tips to help you get things in order.
1. Site Content: Just Like Santa – Check It Twice!
Have you completed your content entry? Good! We now highly advise that you thoroughly go through your site to double-check your work. I know, I know – it’s going to be time-consuming, as if you haven’t put enough time into this thing already. But you should always take a final look at each page before launch to be sure everything is complete and correct. You don’t want to make the site live with a big misspelled word on your homepage, or realize you forgot to finish writing your own bio. Most likely, one of the goals of this new web presence was to enhance your brand and show people who you are. You don’t want to give anyone the wrong impression. You’ve come a long way with this project, and I’m sure you’ve gone mad looking at the site for so long, but give it that last push of effort to review and ensure your work is an A++!
2. Sign-Off for Take-Off
You’ve completed your own final review, but now someone else needs to give it a once over. Allow yourself enough time for another’s signoff on this project. If you’re creating the site for your company, we’d assume a boss or higher-up will need to give their stamp of approval. Now I don’t know your boss, but from experience I can only imagine that they are busy, and not just sitting there waiting to look this site over. Send them the site for review knowing they may not look at it right away. It could be a few days until they get to it, and they may have feedback or changes. You will need time to tackle that, and get back to them for a final-final review.If you’re alone in this endeavor, ask a friend or family member to have a look. It’s always helpful to have a second set of eyes to catch anything that you may have missed. They may even have some great suggestions for you!However, we suggest never waiting until the last minute on this. It will only cause more stress for you in the end, and may even push out the launch date if last minute changes need to be made.
3. Stay Ahead of the Game
After months of content entry, you’re probably looking forward to a little time away from the CMS. “I’ve done my work, my site is live. I can now relax.” Yeah… not so much. One of the best ways to continually drive traffic to your site is to keep it fresh and updated with timely content. No one wants to keep coming back to a site to read the same information they saw the last time. Keep your users interested with things like new homepage slides and recent news articles! Our recommendation here is that pre-launch, have some content already prepared to enter post-launch. This way you’re ready to just pop it right into the system without much extra effort. Organizing content now, means less work later. And we love the thought of less work later, don’t we?
4. The Soft Launch
I get it, we’re all SUPER excited for this new site, but we need to prepare for the worst, just in case. I’m not saying something bad will definitely happen, but you can’t predict the rain on your wedding day, now can you? We need to make sure our bases are covered. Our advice here is to keep the launch announcement to an internal team, or some close family and friends. Do not make a Facebook event and invite everyone and their mom! First, make sure everything goes smooth technically, and once live, you can review it again without the added pressure of your target audiences impatiently waiting. After about a week, you will have received any firsthand feedback from those you’re comfortable with, and gained that confidence to shout it from the rooftops, and tweet your little heart out!
5. Do Your Homework
Find out what you need from a technical perspective and who is going to do it. Depending on how and where you’ve built your website, it may be as simple as the push of a button. But sometimes it may be a little more complex if there are other parties involved. If that is the case, make sure you always have all of your login credentials on hand. Ask yourself the following: Who hosts my DNS? Will I be updating this or will someone be doing it for me? Does my site need to be secure? Do I have an SSL certificate? Are my social channels all setup? Are all parties involved aware of the date/time of the launch? Does everyone have what they need to do their part? You don’t want to get to the 11th hour, realize you forgot something, and have to tell your teacher “my dog ate it.” Do your homework!
6. All aboard!
Set yourself a calendar reminder and invite others to the event if they will be assisting in the launch. This will keep everyone up to date, on time, and lessen the gap for error.
7. Patience is a virtue
Depending on how your new site will be transitioning into the live web-space, it may take a bit of time to propagate. If you don’t see your site right away – don’t freak out! This may be the most nerve-wracking period of time, but just like the latest gossip about Justin Bieber, you’re new web presence will eventually be worldwide.If you’ve followed these recommendations, you will be ready for lift off. It may take a little time before you land on the moon, but don’t worry, you’ll get there!