Launching a website can be a daunting task, whether you are making the site on your own or even if you have a professional building your site for you. There is a lot of stress making sure things go smoothly and also there are a lot of things to think about before you put your site out to your audience. If you have a good plan to make things go smoothly you can make things much easier on your self in the long run.
The following list is some of the things that not only do I have my customers go over before launch, but it is also something I like to check over myself too.
- Check your copy – Make sure you have content on all of your pages and not test copy. Make sure everything is spelled correctly and you have the right grammar for everything. I have to admit that this is a small pet peeve of mine when you go to a website and there are large sections of information missing or when there is still test copy on the website.
- Check for functionality – No matter how careful you are when you are making your website there are times where stuff just happens. It is important to go through the website before launch to make sure all the links not only work but also make sure they are valid. Also when you are checking for functionality you should check all of the aspects of your website to make sure everything works. If you are selling your inventory off your website, check to make sure your shopping cart works. Make sure your contact page works and any other forms work and are being sent to the right email address.
- Check your 404 page – Checking to make sure all of your links work and are valid is important, but things do happen. That is one big reason to make sure you not only have valid 404 page, but also to make sure your 404 page is useful too. If you have a generic 404 page it can easily lead people to leave your website if they reach an error, but if you have a good 404 page with a search box or links to pages your audience might find useful it is an easy way to help keep your visitors on your website.
- Check cross browser compatibility – Unfortunately for us designers and programmers not all browsers render websites the same, on top of that there are a lot of differences on how websites are rendered across operating systems too. Make sure your website looks the same in all browsers, and across as many operating systems that you can.
- Check your load time and performance. – Let’s face it people don’t have a whole lot of patience, so if they are going to have to wait more than a few seconds for your website to load up they are going to leave your website as quickly as they got there. A website is no good to you if it takes forever to load. Make sure your site is optimized for a quick load time.
- Get your audience ready – Getting a running start with your website never hurts. Working up some pre-launch hype, is not only fairly easy but it can also help immensely. Pre-hyping your website can be as easy as setting up a count down for your website to launch, or making mention of your site through social media sites or if you have a physical location you can have some flyers or some postcards made up so you can help get the word out.
I know this is a quick list to check before your launch but like I said a little bit of planning will make things go much smoother. What does your launch checklist have on it?