Launching a new website for your business is equal parts exciting and scary. From a technical perspective, there are so many different structural elements that have to be perfectly optimized for success. Then there’s the marketing and advertising side of things. In order to generate traffic and maximize engagement, you have to leverage the right techniques and cultivate consistency within your branding.
Not sure where to begin? We’ve got a few best practices and suggestions for you:
1. Have Multiple Sets of Eyes Review the Site
No website should be launched without an intensive review process. More specifically, there needs to be an intensive review process involving multiple people.
It’s easy for mistakes and errors to be overlooked by one person – or even by two highly trained individuals. It’s much more difficult for mistakes to slip through the cracks when you have a team of people manually reviewing each element. Conscientious review processes will prevent a lot of unnecessary stress in the days and weeks after launch.
2. Use Scalable Web Servers
“With today’s high-availability and cost-effective content distribution solutions such as Amazon S3, and on-demand instant scalability offerings of hosting providers such as VPS.NET, you can affordably have web servers that can take a beating from high-burst traffic,” explains William Craig, president of WebFX.
In addition to helping you weather the unpredictability of a website launch, scalable web servers also help you future-proof your website against inevitable growth. In other words, it gives you the proper infrastructure to keep up with demand as it increases over time.
3. Have a Library of Content Ready to Publish
There’s a reason we discuss websites in terms of pre-launch and post launch. During pre-launch, you have time to work out kinks and flaws. In post-launch, things get crazy and your time and energy is pulled in dozens of different directions.
So while you may have the best intentions to do something after launching the website, never take this for granted. If you have the ability to do a task during pre-launch, it’s highly recommended that you do. Content creation is a great example.
“The early stages of a website is filled with many tasks. One timesaving deed you can do is to have content ready to publish so that you can follow up your launch with great content,” Craig writes. “This also frees you up for the many other activities involved in this stage of your website’s growth.”
Pre-launch is your safe space. Once post-launch hits, craziness ensues. The more you can get ahead on content creation and other important, yet time-intensive tasks, the less stretched you’ll feel when it comes time to launch.
4. Create the Right Redirects
When replacing an existing website with a new one, you have to be meticulous about how you manage redirects. This is one of the primary ways in which you communicate your migration to the search engines.
Start with your original website’s most popular pages and create redirects from the old site to fresh content on the new site. The right 301 redirects ensure your most popular pages retain their Google rankings.
5. Spread the Word
The right promotional strategies at launch can help your website experience success. This is especially important if your previous website underperformed, or if your users are turned off.
“Perhaps some people stopped visiting your site due to a lack of a mobile responsive design or the fact that it didn’t have features that met all of their needs. A new website announcement email is a great opportunity to let folks know how you can better serve them now,” Membership Works explains. “And it’s much easier and cheaper to bring past customers back into the fold than it is to advertise and attract a new customer.”
This is also a great time to reach new visitors and prospective customers. A website launch is considered a timely and newsworthy event, which can allow you to gain exposure via publications and platforms that you’d otherwise be unable to tap into. Don’t miss this chance!
6. Study and Optimize
Though it is rewarding to finally launch your website and push it out for the world to see, you can’t sigh a breath of relief and pour a drink. The hours, days, and weeks immediately after launch are among the most important in the entire process. It’s during this time that you have to carefully study the data and optimize according to how people are interacting with the website.
Ready for Liftoff
A website launch is the final piece to a long and arduous puzzle that typically takes months to manage from start to finish. As you prepare for launch day, make sure you’re dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s. It’s a meticulous process, but when handled the right way, hard work and commitment is generally rewarded with great success on launch day.