Launching a new website is an exhilarating journey. You’ll immerse yourself in various aspects like designing, content creation, and functionality integration. However, when the moment comes to unveil your creation to the world, are you absolutely certain that everything is flawless and will operate seamlessly once it’s live? One thing is definite – you should never rush to make your site live without ticking off some crucial checkpoints. In this article, I’ll guide you through the critical steps to ensure your website is ready for the Making Your Website Live process.
This checklist will help you to ensure everything is done and nothing is unchecked. If you forget something and launch your site, it is going to create problems for you in the future. It is essential to have a checklist, so you don’t forget anything and successfully launch your website. All of the necessary and important checks for your website launch are mentioned in this article that you must go through before officially launching your site.
Here are the things you should do before making your website live
Table of Contents
Make A List Before Digging In
Before you get too involved in your website design, you should have a list of things you need to do. The excitement of the new site can very easily overshadow all of the details you need to do that aren’t quite as exciting. Make a list of all the things you need to do before launching a website.
Make a list of items that are necessary to be successful with your new business ranging from registering the domain name to ordering the champagne for the launch party. Then start crossing things off the list, using your plans to guide your attention and focus. If everything is listed done there is no chance of forgetting anything and your site will be live without any deficiencies.
Focus on Content
As we all know content is king. The content is everything that a website holds such as data, information, images, or videos. While making a website you have to keep in mind different aspects, and some are more fun than others. Designing a logo and letterhead is worthwhile, but you should spend as much time – if not more – working on the words and images on your website as you do the design and the name of it.
Often the coding, colors, and designs take center stage in the site design process and the copy gets pushed farther down the list of priorities. While the content may be one of the last things developed, it should be one of the highest quality things on your site – not something you slapped together to fill a page you spend a bit of time and money developing. The content plays a main part in improving the SEO of your site and it should not be ignored if you care about the search engine ranking of your site.
Prepare for Worst Case
What is your plan if your website is so popular and you get millions of visitors in a short amount of time? What happens if it crashes? Who is in charge of monitoring the traffic and checking for errors and concerns? You should have a plan in place before the site goes live, to deal with any issues that arise. In the digital world, things are very uncertain, so you should be ready for any situation.
Think of this as a sort of fire drill. Who grabs the fire extinguisher and who calls the police? Your team should have responsibilities in case of an emergency with your site to ensure it is offline for the least amount of time possible. While emergencies happen at bad times, they can happen at the best of times as well if your site buckles under the sheer weight of the traffic arriving or maybe your internet Webhosting is not effective enough. Plan for that contingency as well. You should be prepared for all the possible risks and issues that can happen to your website and have a plan B in your mind to deal with those issues. Don’t overthink it because who knows your website top rank in a few months or get maximum customers, hope for the best!
Use A Staging Site for Planning
As you are building the different components of the website, it shouldn’t be live until everything is done. When you make your site live for the first time it should be perfect. All tests should be finished, all content created and all images quality-controlled. Many businesses launch their site once they finish one part of the site, it is not a wise thing and can create many problems and uncertainties for you from the beginning.
You can do all of this testing in a staging site that exactly mimics your site. This allows your team to place things, move things, and test things in a risk-free environment. Setting up a staging site is easy on a private server. One major benefit of using the staging site is that you can do experiments on it without any business risk and it also allows you to see things in a practical environment. Using a staging site would allow you to have an idea about what will work best for your site and what should be avoided on the official website. When you’re ready to make it live, you’ll simply push the final product you’ve created onto your new domain name registration hosting and you’ll be ready to go. There are many DNS domain name providers available in the market, from where you can get your domain name.
Compress Your Images
The use of visuals and illustrations has a lot of significance to your site. Customers like to see images and they enjoy being able to add their own to certain websites. The visuals on your website also make your content look attractive and it attracts more customers. Sometimes the excessive use of images on your site can increase the page load and your website may take longer to load which is not good for your SEO.
Many business owners make their websites heavy by adding more images and when someone tells them that their images are heavy, they remove them from the content. Removing the images from the content is not an option because they are important for customers’ engagement with the content. The best thing you can do to avoid heavy pages is to compress all images that you are using on the website. Images are easily one of the heaviest things on a website, but that doesn’t mean you should cut them all out of the site. People like looking at them, so you just need to compress the images to make them as small as possible. You don’t need absolute clarity on a site image – unless you’re selling images. Instead, compress all of your images to take up as little space as possible and help those sites load quickly. There are a lot of online tools available that you can use to optimize the images for the web content.
Check Your Load Speed
On the internet, load speed is one of the big anchors that can hold you back or even sink you. If you have experience in SEO marketing, you must know that the slow loading speed of your website will never let your website rank on Google. Slow loading is also very annoying for the customers and they would never wait longer for your website to load. If you have a beautiful site that takes forever to load, nobody is going to stick around to see what you’re trying to say. Focus on reducing your loading times and use as many tricks as you can to improve them – powerful servers, smaller images, whatever it takes. Try not to use a lot of heavy content on your site and optimize your web images using some online tools before using them on the web page.
If everything is good from your side, then it is also possible that there are some issues with your web hosting provider’s services. You should immediately find another affordable web hosting package with the best web servers that ensure zero downtime. Try to find the best web hosting solutions to make your site properly work for you.
Optimize for Mobile
Google has clearly announced that responsive and mobile-friendly websites will be ranked on the search engine. In simple words, non-responsive websites are not acceptable for Google anymore. Mobiles have become an essential part of everyone’s life and people are more likely to use their mobiles for internet browsing than PCs. Roughly, half of all internet browsing is done through mobile devices. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re losing customers. Mobile optimization is essential to make your site accessible on all devices.
You might have seen some sites when opened on mobile, the content became too small and everything seems messed up, even navigation bars are very small to click by figures. Make sure your website is not optimized on mobile, it will have a devastating impact on your customer’s experience, and in the future, it can badly fail your business. Fortunately finding designs that are both desktop and mobile popular isn’t hard at all, and it’s often simply a matter of starting with the right design idea when you first begin your website build.
If you’ve managed to make a website without accounting for mobile users, it is a mistake that will need to be corrected as quickly as possible to maximize your profits.
Check Your XML Sitemap Is on the Server
Your XML sitemap is created as a copy of your site code. It lives on the server and lists all of the URLs that are relevant to your shiny new site. This sitemap is a significant feature for site optimization because it allows web crawlers to find and determine the structure of your website. Once they have found the XML sitemap, the crawlers can find all of the relevant parts of your website, crawl it correctly, and rank those pages appropriately.
The XML Sitemaps are also very significant for the SEO of your website because it allows Google to easily find site pages. It is also important because Google ranks not just the sites but web PAGES also. There is no disadvantage to taking an XML Sitemap, I will highly recommend this because it has a positive impact on your website’s SEO ranking.
Some CMSs of the site allow making an XML sitemap automatically. If you are using an auto-XML Sitemap generator or other programs, verify that your output data is inserted correctly and the format is error-free. When you have formed the XML Sitemap and uploaded it to the web server, the search engines can be used to verify it. Google Webmaster Tools make it easy for you. You just ensure that your Sitemap is in the right format and uploaded properly to your web server before verification.
Check Your Links
Sometimes developing a website takes a few days. Sometimes it takes months. Regardless of how long it takes for your team to put the site together, it takes only a moment for a link to stop working. If you have outbound links on your site (and who doesn’t) you need to be sure to check those links periodically.
Before launching your site, spend a few minutes clicking on all of the links, noting where they are going and if they are still valid. This is particularly important if you have rearranged pages and repurposed old content on the new site. While you’re focusing on links, you’ll also want to be sure that you have a 404 Error page set up in case you do run into a linking issue in the future. Idle links on your website are bad for your SEO and they also have a bad impression on the audiences. So, you have to make sure that all links are working properly.
Become a Customer
Your website should not go live until you’ve properly tested its functions and to do this you have to act like the customer of your website. Being a customer of your website allows you to have an idea of online customers’ experience on your site. Log onto your site in the test environment and go through the steps to order whatever it is you’re ordering. Check whether the website is functioning properly as it is supposed to, that the order forms are in good shape, and that the item ordered is registered correctly in the back office.
You aren’t completed with this process until you’ve ordered the item and checked to see that the item ships correctly, the payment is recorded appropriately, and the item is delivered as expected. If there are any hiccups in the process, it is certainly not the time for launch. This is the most critical part of the site, after all.
You can also take a sample of real customers and test your site on them. Ask them to order something from your site and then give fair feedback on their online experience on the website. You can later make some modifications to your site based on the feedback received from the customers.
When you think you’re finished with the website, close it up and go to bed. Then, in the morning with fresh eyes, start reading. Look for misspellings, typos, awkward sentences and phrases, and unbalanced phrasing. When you finish looking through the site, have others do the same.
Ask your friends and family to read your site content and give feedback. The more eyes read the content, the more likely you are to catch the mistakes that can be a huge turn-off for your customers when they notice the typo or the punctuation error. You do not need professional writers and editors to read your content and edit it. Your best editors are those who have not had any hand in creating the content itself – they are unbiased.
A well-written content on your site is an indicator that you are a professional, trustful, and authentic source that the customers rely on.
Confirm your SSL Certificate
Something that may have escaped your attention, but definitely shouldn’t, is your SSL certificate. The SSL certificate ensures your site is secured and protected from hackers and gives your visitors that extra level of security.
The SSL certificate is also now a part of Google’s SEO algorithm, so there is an even greater incentive to go those few extra steps to be sure that your site includes an SSL certification. If your site does not, purchase one and install it correctly. This process can take up to two weeks, so be sure that you take care of this task well in advance of your launch date.
SSL certificates offer a specific encryption method for safely transferring data over the internet. They guarantee that the information going from the computer of the user to the site stays unreadable and secure from any spiteful interlopers like identity thieves, hackers, and other third parties. Thus, all the data and information are protected and secured, if you are using the SSL. The main cause of using the SSL on your site is to keep sensitive data sent across the Internet encoded so that only the authorized receiver can access it. This is significant since the data you transfer on the Internet is passed from one system to another, to get the destination server.
Your site is at the least an extension of your business and at the most the business in its entirety. Why jeopardize your livelihood and reputation by rushing such a critical process?
In this article, I have shared with you some of the most important things to check before launching your website on the internet. This checklist will help you ensure that everything is in place and nothing gets overlooked during the crucial Making Your Website Live phase. All the key steps for a successful website launch are detailed in this article, covering everything from domain registration to planning the launch party. Content is a pivotal element in enhancing your website’s SEO, and it should never be underestimated if you’re concerned about your site’s search engine ranking. It’s essential to avoid heavy content and to optimize your web images using suitable tools before incorporating them into your pages. Remember, your website should only go live once you’ve rigorously tested its functionality, and to do this effectively, put yourself in the shoes of your website’s potential customers.
I hope the information shared in this article was helpful. Do share your thoughts about this article in the comments section, also Share this article in your circle, if you find it helpful.