Ready to Launch Your Web Site, Check These First!
Your web site is the front line for your marketing and communications efforts. You update them with useful information in order to be a current source of answers and solutions to your clients, members, etc.
And every so often (some more often than others) you completely overhaul your web site with a new design, new features and better information.
If you are doing this, good for you! It is generally an arduous yet beneficial endeavor. Unfortunately, for many it is also a time when many mistakes are made. We put together this checklist of the 5 MUSTS when launching a new web site to help you make sure you have everything covered for your launch…
Yes, I know, seems like an obvious one. But inevitably something always gets missed. This usually occurs when the person who crafted the content is the same one proofing it. If you can, find someone who has spent no time on the new site and have them go through every page. Look for spelling mistakes, bad grammar, inaccurate info, etc. You might be surprised what they find.
Whether or not you have done any search engine optimization in the past, this is a good time to perform at least some of the SEO basics – do you have the proper page titles, correct HTML markup and keyword rich content?
See our post on SEO for more specifics about Search Engine Optimization best practices.
3. 301 Redirects
Often when you relaunch a site you’ve done some restructuring of the site content and organization. When this happens some of the linking and link naming will have changed. Google and other search engines – assuming you’ve been indexed – will have these old pages in their database for future search listings.
A 301 redirect tells the search engine that the old page has been replaced and lets them know how to get to the new one. Your web developer or SEO specialist should be able to help you with this. If not, we can.
4. Old Content and Bad Web Links
Another usual suspect… a lot of existing content will be reused. This content will include images, links, references to articles, links to other sites, etc. Some of this information is probably no longer valid. The last thing you want to do is launch a site with broken images or bad links/information. Spend some time and make sure these issues are accounted for.
With the links, make sure what you are linking to still makes sense. Sometimes the link may still be active but the content on that page may not be relevant to the content from where it is linked. It may also be something that just doesn’t matter anymore or is full of outdated/incorrect information. Either way, take the time to look into this because this is something a proofreader may not catch.
5. Test and Retest Your Web Site
Before going live with your new site, it is good practice to post it in a testing area on the live web server. If you just test it locally or on a testing server separate from your web server you may miss some potential technical snafus.
This is especially important with web sites containing forms, surveys, database functionality, etc. Make sure it all works the way you want it to.
I hope this helps you avoid some potential pitfalls so you can re-launch with confidence and pride! If you have any questions or need any help with any of these, please let us know.
If you have any other MUSTS you would like to suggest please comment below…