7 steps to take before launching a website
Regardless of your experience level, launching a website is both a complex and stressful process. In fact, websites alone, are complex. There are many areas that can be overlooked before hitting the launch button, meaning room for error. Retrospectively speaking, a number of things could go wrong, ranging from small to large errors - whether they're broken links, or misspellings! Understanding the complexities behind the process can help your business try and make the process far smoother.
To make the process of launching your website, an efficient one, we have created a checklist of steps to take before launching your website. Compiled based on our website development and digital marketing experience, and tied seamlessly with our B2B SEO services, we've found that carrying out these steps for our clients has improved overall performance significantly.
Whilst each site is unique and has its own requirements, these steps generalise the areas for your business to focus on before launching your site:
Test the website on different devices
Before launching your website, testing the site on various devices can really help gauge out any issues that may occur. You will need to ensure that the site displays well on smartphones, tablets and desktop devices. Crucial areas to look out for are text size, video dimensions, image positioning and the overall user experience.
Make sure redirects are in place
Redirects are a crucial part to a site, and allow your users to navigate easily. If you are rebuilding your website from the ground up, it is highly likely that the URL's may have changed. In this instance, you will need to set up 301 redirects so that the old pages point the user to the new ones. This step can prevent your visitors from seeing a bunch of 404 pages.
Test your website’s speed
The absolute last thing you want to do, is to launch your site that loads at a snail's pace. For those unfamiliar with this process, you can use a variety of tools such as PageSpeed Insights and GT Metrix to determine how fast your site loads. The most common culprits for a slow site are large images and subpar web hosting. As a general rule of thumb, setting up caching on your site helps to speed things up.
Ensure forms are working correctly
Be sure to test out every form on your website to verify it is sending notifications to the correct email addresses or email capture provider. It is often the case that form submissions on your site will end up in your spam folder, so make sure the sending email is whitelisted.
Carry out SEO checks
SEO checks can really push your website out there. If you are looking to drive traffic to your website from search engines, ensuring that the site is search engine friendly is vital. As the bare basics, every page should have an optimised title, H1 and meta description tag. Ensure that search bots are allowed to crawl and index the site.
Set up traffic monitoring
The easiest way to monitor web traffic is to set up Google Analytics on your site. Not only does this provide real time traffic tracking, it also collects a wide range of insights about your website visitors, such as the country they are visiting from and the type of device they are using.
Add a sitemap
There are two types of sitemaps that you can add; HTML sitemaps are designed for humans whereas XML sitemaps are for search engines. The purpose of both is to allow for the easy navigation of your site.
There are a few more challenging areas to tackle before launching a website, especially when considering what may go wrong if not attentive to the above areas. However, preparing yourself and working with an experienced web agency who have the relevant plans in place can ensure your launch is a smooth one. These 7 checks, when carried out before launching your site will ensure visitors are met with a smooth experience on your website.
Polaris is an award-winning SEO agency in London specialising B2B, PPC, e-commerce and the healthcare industry.