Are you about to launch a new website? Whether you’re starting a blog as a hobby or you’ve created a website for your business, before you launch any new site you want to make sure it’s ready. This saves any 404 errors, issues or poor user experiences once the site has gone live. And with so many aspects to take into consideration, it can be really helpful to run through a new-launch checklist before you hit publish.
Which is exactly why we’ve put this guide together. While some of the following might seem very basic, it can be easy to overlook the small details, that’s why our list covers everything from proofreading to configuring your permalinks. So, before you launch your new site, make sure you run through the steps below to ensure everything is perfect.
Check for errors
Before you hit publish you need to go back through each page and any content on the site and give it a good proofread. The last thing you want, especially if you’re launching a website for your business, is to create a site full of spelling or grammatical errors. This won’t look very professional. So just be sure to give everything a read through and perhaps even have someone else look it over for you.
Make sure you have a contact page
Whether you’re a business or a blogger, you’ll want people to be able to get in touch with you if they’ve got any queries. As such, you need to make sure there’s a contact page or at the very least, that your contact details are in the footer of your site.
Make sure it’s GDPR compliant
This one is very important, you need to make sure that your new website is fully GDPR compliant. Under General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) you are responsible for protecting the sensitive data of those using your site and ensuring you’ve done everything expected of you in regards to staying compliant.
This means that if you’re asking for personal information like email opt-ins, you need to have a page or notice that informs users how you intend to use and protect their information. If you’re unsure how to make your new website compliant, check out the full guidelines here.
Run compatibility testing
Next, you need to make sure you run some compatibility tests. Sometimes plugins or programs used on your site can clash with one another causing problems when the site goes live. The best way to avoid this happening (and only finding out once it’s launched) is to run compatibility tests before you hit publish. If you’re using web platforms like WordPress, you can even install a plugin to check everything is working in complete harmony.
Check it’s user friendly
User experience is so important on any website. If your navigation doesn’t work, the site is confusing or it doesn’t look very appealing, visitors might leave your site immediately causing a high bounce rate and resulting in a lack of sales or queries on a business website. So, before you launch, check through your site and make sure everything is working and that the users journey is enjoyable and simple from start to finish. You could always ask someone else to trial the site as well to see if they notice any glitches or ways you can improve the design before going live.
Ensure it’s mobile-friendly
With 52.6% of web traffic now coming from mobile devices, you need to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. A huge percentage of your target audience will be browsing through their devices and they’re more likely to leave a site that isn’t compatible with their mobile device. If you’ve chosen a template or theme from a web hosting platform, make sure you choose one that is as mobile-friendly as possible.
Configure permalinks and URLs
Before your website goes live, you need to check that you are happy with the format of all URLs and permalinks associated with the website. This is because once it has launched changing these links can be damaging to your SEO and can lead to 404 errors. On some web hosting platforms you’ll be able to choose how you want your permalink to look.
It’s best to display your links as the title of the page or post. Simple and easy to understand. It’s also a good idea to buy a custom domain name that matches your name or branding instead of sticking with the URL that you’re given when using web platforms such as Wix or WordPress. These can be long and unsightly and buying a domain doesn’t have to cost a great deal of money.
Integrate with social media
If you’ve got social media accounts associated with your business or blog, it’s a good idea to integrate these. This will allow visitors to engage with you on multiple platforms and is also good for boosting SEO. Many website themes will allow you to add social media icons to the header, footer or sidebar of your site, making them easy for visitors to find. This also makes it easier for them to share and engage with your content across social media channels.
Make sure your website is secure
Another very important step is making sure that your website is secure. This means ensuring you have all the best systems and software in place to protect it from hackers, viruses or any other potential cybersecurity threats. This is not only important for peace of mind and protecting your site, but it is crucial if you want to be fully GDPR compliant.
Ensure you’ve considered SEO
If you want your website to be found, you need to make sure it’s visible and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the best way to do this. So, before the big launch, go through all your content including all pages, images and meta data and ensure it is optimised with keywords. There are a number of tools out there that can help you to make a list of the best keywords for your niche or business.