Business Tip: How To Launch a Website: A Step-By-Step Guide
Figuring out all the steps to perfect your site before a relaunch can be stressful, but we have created a relaunch checklist to help ease the process.
You will learn:
-why you should make a checklist
-what to check before you launch
-what to check after you launch
-which tools can be helpful during the launching process
Why should we make a checklist at all? (00:18)
It helps us make sure we covered all the bases before we launch. There are so many things to consider during a relaunch that we do not want to miss anything before everyone gets to see it!
PRE LAUNCH CHECKLIST
1. Test test test! (00:24)
We cannot stress this enough! The biggest mistake in launching a website is the assumption that everything is working properly. Thorough QA can make a huge difference in a successful launch. Here are some of the things we do during the test period:
In house testing – grab a bunch of people from your company to browse through the website and find bugs
Cross browser compatibility check – use tools like BrowserStack to make sure that your site looks the same across all browsers
Check all forms are working – make sure all your forms are directing the information where they are supposed to go
2. Launch at a good time (01:03)
What classifies as a good time? Firstly, don’t launch over the weekend, unless everyone plans to available at that time. If you launch over the weekend and no one is there to immediately address the issues, your site will not be able to be as helpful and accessible as you want it to be. On another note, if you are relaunching a website, plan to launch on a day with the least traffic. Why? When updating the DNS, which is the process in which servers tell the internet where new website living, there is a period in which the site will alternate between the new and old site. We want to reduce users that experience these funky behaviors, so we can use tools like Google Analytics to see when our website has the least amount of users visiting.
3. Plan redirects (02:02)
Keep a spreadsheet containing a list of old urls that map to the new ones so you have an idea of how users are reaching new pages from old urls. Then, for urls that you want to get rid of, note where users should be redirected to instead. Thus, you can redirect them to a page that will be helpful to them.
4. Google Analytics Migration (02:19)
If you use it, migrate your Google Tags from Google Tag Manager over to your new site so you can keep your basic tracking working. Make a spreadsheet of hard-coded event tags and location after migrating them so that you can keep track of them all. If you’re not using Google Tag Manager, definitely consider using because it helps keep all your tags in one place. And finally, make sure you know how goals will be tracked on your new site so that you will still be able to see the impact you are making.
POST LAUNCH CHECKLIST
5. Check 404s (02:46)
Use Google Search Console, Moz, or Google Analytics to generate a list of 404 pages that you may have missed. You can fix them by redirecting to appropriate pages and making sure that your users will be getting the correct information.
6. Check for crawl errors (03:02)
Search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, and Google use bots to grab information from your site and index the information on the search results.Use Google Search Console to check for crawl errors and a properly setup robots.txt. We once had incident disallowed bots on our site and it would have wreaked havoc on traffic otherwise had we not caught it early on, so always be safe and check these errors!
7. Upload a site map (03:34)
A site map is the list of urls most important to you. This is useful because instead of having bots crawl and index your site slowly over time, having a site map will allow them to index what’s important to you faster. You can do this by uploading a site map to Google Search Console in order to help Google bots crawl your site for search results more quickly.
We hope some of these tips have helped you, and we wish you best of luck on a successful website launch!
Whole Whale is a digital agency that leverages data and technology to increase the impact of nonprofits. In the same way the Inuits used every part of whale, Whole Whale leverages existing resources to see, “What else can this do for us?”
By using data analysis, digital strategy, web development, and training, WW builds a ‘Data Culture’ within every nonprofit organization they work with.
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