Is Your Website Ready to Launch?

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Alright, so you’re about to take your first step into the web world, full of complicated things for geeks and the like, but you still want to be successful at what you do. Well, before you venture head on into the unknown vastness of the internet with whatever you have created, you need to make sure it fits contemporary website norms, because if it doesn’t, you will have created it for nothing. Following this checklist is a way of making sure you’ll do it just right.

The complete website launch checklist

You need to make sure you’ve secured your work in two crucial ways before following the checklist, as they will make your tedious job a whole lot easier.

1. Backup

This may often seem as the least important thing on your to-do list, but sometimes you can make irreversible errors that will take a long time to rectify, which is why this is the first recommendation. You can make the development a lot easier and safer with any of the nifty backup programs, such as Snapshot Pro for example, which lets you backup and restore your site whenever necessary, along with allowing you to schedule automated backups so that you can take at least one obligation off your mind.

 

2. Staging environment

It sounds like a complicated term, but all it really represents is a website sandbox which is an exact copy of the one you’re developing. You can conduct various pre- and post-launch functionality tests using this tool, which is why it’s highly recommended that you first check your site using this method before actually launching it.

If faced with the dilemma of starting this software, you can contact your hosting provider, as most of them include a staging environment with their hosting service. If that’s not the case, you can always use a plugin such as Cloner and set it up yourself.

The good stuff, clean and simple

Once you’ve completed the upper two crucial steps, you may now begin adding (or subtracting) checkmarks to your list. Website development can be a time-consuming and nerve-wrecking business, but if everything you’re about to read checks out, you’re safe to launch and have nothing to worry about.

1. Everything works flawlessly

You’ll want to make sure that you have a clear head before you start this step-by-step journey, the beginning of which lies in being your own customer. Launch your staging environment and visit your own site. Check every single page for errors and test their appearance and functionality. This includes:

  • Logos
  • Navigation bar
  • Designs
  • Text
  • Images
  • Header and footer strips
  • Links
  • Forms
  • Calls-to-action
  • Contact info
  • Sidebars
  • Maps
  • Popups
  • Callouts
  • Widgets
  • Logins
  • Social media
  • Etc

2. Readability is accommodated

Neither Google nor your potential customers will find your typos welcome. Aside from decreasing the overall search relevancy of your content, mistyped words or accidental dummy text may unnecessarily decrease your website’s impact. Also, make sure that your content is addressing its readers with a tone appropriate to the page they are on, in terms of rhetoric and speech eloquence. For example, if you own a toy shop and your visitors are mostly minors, you’ll want to maintain a simplified vocabulary in your content. This includes two sub-steps:

  • Check the spelling on each and every page with a spell check program, while it’s also recommended that the program offers a means of vocabulary improvement to your content (Grammarly is a good example).
  • Read through everything in the staging environment instead of the text editor, as this will ensure the validity of all the text your site contains (some of which is outside the page’s text editor), such as that in the widgets, sidebars, sliders, forms, etc.

3. Image rights are verified (or purchased)

Unless your website represents the media in a way, hunting for images across the internet is considered highly unprofessional. Make sure you have either purchased or that you have the necessary rights to use every single image on your site (logos, thumbnails, icons, etc).

4. Privacy Statement is in place

Regardless the nature of your website, a privacy policy and terms of use documentation is a must. Consider it your legal ownership document, which you also have for any other major item in your possession, like your house or your car. However unlikely it may seem that you will be involved in a lawsuit, or anything of the like, where your actual website ownership is in question, it’s imperative that you own this statement. Easy-to-use plugins and programs such as the Auto Terms of Service and Privacy Policy plugin will put a check on this step in no time.

5. The Error Page is set up and it looks good

No matter how much time you’ve spent on ensuring that every link works and that your website has no errors, sometimes your visitors may type an inexistent URL into the navigation bar from time to time and end up in a place where your website simply doesn’t exist, but in its domain nonetheless. In that case, they should be provided with the Error Page (commonly known as error #404).

  • Come up with a custom 404 page message and a fitting design. Certain software such as the 404page plugin can help you out with this.
  • Set up a 404 page monitoring tool that will let you log all #404 errors and redirect your unfortunate visitors to the page they were looking for.

6. Social media is synced in real time

Presumably, you have already placed relevant social media links that lead to your business’s pages on social networks. However, a few more manual tests must be performed in order to ascertain their functionality.

  • If your blog or any other social media page is synced for automatically publishing any sort of new content that comes up on your website, you’ll want to double check on how instantaneous it really is by submitting a test post and seeing how fast it shows up on the chosen medium.

 

7. Your site is SEO friendly

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is your website’s PR manager of sorts. What SEO-ing essentially means is making sure that your content will match the searches relevant to it by successfully communicating with Google and letting it know exactly why it exists and who it wants to be displayed to. It’s needless to say that this is the most important factor after all the technical adjustment, as it most directly influences your flow of customers. You, of course, don’t need to understand the entire meaning of SEO if you simply don’t have the time, as there is a mountain of software that can do all of the optimisation for you (an example of which is SmartCrawl).

8. Robots.txt is set up properly

Other than SEO, you can use a slightly less direct (but also as significant) approach to search engine co-operation. Robots.txt enables you to tell search engines how to crawl through your content, letting you choose how to rank your pages and which ones to ignore.

 

Dressed to impress, on your way to success

After tediously checking everything on this list, as many times as it takes for you to be certain that all is in order, which excludes casual sifting through your pre-launch obligations , you may proceed with the launch itself. Keep in mind, though, that this is the pre-launch foundation of all types of websites. Your website is your idea, and will inevitably differ from the rest, making your own pre-launch checklist the most important factor. Regardless of the technicalities, make sure that you give it the green light only when  it has completely satisfied your personal standards.

This website launch checklist outlines the important steps required to successfully navigate your way through the online world. If, however, you feel a little out of your league, it might be necessary to employ a professional to complete the task for you. If this is the case for you, contact Jezweb by sending through an online enquiry. Jezweb is a market leader in website design and management and specialises in making your online website requirements a reality.