You think it’s all over…
5 Essential checks to make before you announce your new website to the world.
Congratulations! You’ve finally finished and launched your new website – doesn’t that feel great? All those months of poring over the content, choosing all the best images, creating that lead-magnet and preparing your mailing list for all those new orders coming in – all brought you to this point in time and WOW are you ready to stop now!
If you DO, it’s all over.
Scary, but true – because if there’s one thing I’ve learned in over two decades spent creating award winning websites and ecommerce systems, it is this: the final step is the most dangerous for the future success of your website. Stumble now (or skip this last stage) and it will all have been for nought.
So here’s the good news: that needn’t be the case!
Listen, I get it. All that hard work that you’ve put into your site (whether you built it yourself or had an agency do this for you, you still had to put in the work), will pay off if you’ve included all the essentials at each stage of development – we just need to cross the final few hurdles to avoid these well-known pitfalls before you announce your new baby to the world and start tweeting your new web address for all the world to see.
Here are the last five things to check-off your quality assurance checklist after your new website is finished but before you start the PR machine rolling:
- Backup your previous site. “But I don’t need it any more” you cry. Well, hopefully that is the case – but what if some of your lovely existing content didn’t copy across to the new site correctly and you need to “just pop back into the old site and grab a copy” – only you can’t? Taking a backup of your old site is a simple step with massive potential impact.
- Just one more test. Of course you’ve already tested every email and enquiry link on your new website (if you’ve ever read any of my other articles, I would hope so!), but just one more quick test on your newly launched site is always worth it. If you have a team you can make this a bit of fun too – offer a prize to the first person to find a broken link! Better that Annie in Accounts discovers your enquiry form goes to an email account you no longer use, than your next potential (and now lost) customer?
- Buy now – or pay later. Another test – your online payment or purchase mechanism, or Buy Now button as it’s known to most humans! You may have tested this repeatedly during the development phase but the live site is a different environment and you need to know that when your customers start landing on your shiny new website, filled with excitement and the urge to purchase from you, they can do exactly that.
- Where am I? All sites benefit from an online sitemap, which helps the search engines find what you do and where to send people looking for those goods or services you provide so well. During development stage these can include links to temporary pages or web addresses – make sure you check these are nowhere to be seen after launch.
- Formerly known as….? If a new domain name was part of your new website, make sure after launch that any old or previous domain names have been correctly redirected to your new site to save you that mortifying Page Not Found message when hordes of new customers head to your new site.
The latter point is one that still trips people up today. Back in the early days of internet, unscrupulous “developers” would register domains in their own name, meaning unhappy customers who moved on were forced to buy new domain after new domain with each new website incarnation. We helped one client track down FIVE previously-used varieties of their domain name and properly redirected these to the new website we created – and the visitor numbers to the new site SHOT up! Seems that previous customers of theirs had been searching for them for years and some even thought they were no longer in business – eek! Had we not run through these checks as part of our own quality assurance, they could have lost vital business at this critical point.
You’ve done a great job on your website yes, but there’s always room for improvement – and if you apply it just before you announce your latest creation to the world – even if you don’t find any errors – I guarantee you’ll be glad you did.
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