How to Get Your Website Ready to Launch
You’ve done the hard work and prepared a website that you are ready to share with the world. But before you take your new, shiny website live, you should run through what I call a “launch list” first. Some of these items may be more necessary than others, but certainly all steps are recommended to to make sure your website is ready to launch!
✴ Step One - Finalize Your Site’s Design + Style
Make sure you have your site title and logo set. Your logo can replace your site title in your website design, but your site title will be important for places like search results.
You can use the Site Style panel underneath the Design menu to get your fonts, colors, headings, spacing, etc. consistent and in line with your business branding.
Another thing to consider is adding in a cookie banner for your visitors, if you think their privacy is valuable to them. It is better to be on the safe than sorry side with this one (especially if you have ANY web visitors in Europe), so I encourage you to add a cookie banner into your final design.
Lastly, upload a favicon to show up in browser tabs for your visitors. This fun little detail shouldn’t be skipped!
✴ Step Two - Wrap Up Your Pages
Set a homepage that represents your brand and style well. Make sure this landing page has all of the major information covered and highlighted for your website visitors. This will be your first impression, so make it a good one!
Double check that your navigation is ordered how you want it. Consider how the user will view the site and make items like your Shop or Services page easily accessible.
Review your content for typos and while you are at it, check for broken links.
Finalize your URL slugs for all of your pages. Have them reflect the content that is available on the page. For example, you don’t want your contact page to have an odd url like /sendmeanote. Google would rather see a URL slug like /contact. In short, keep things simple and straightforward.
For bonus points, a custom 404 page is always a good idea in case visitors end up in the wrong spot. Direct them back to the home page from there.
✴ Step Three - Review Your Images
Check the quality of your images and make sure things are showing up clearly on your website. There is nothing worse than a pixelated image. Keep things crystal clear. Upload thumbnails to your pages and social sharing images that are branded and in line with the content you are sharing.
Make sure you also check images on your phone. Banner images get cropped into a square, so if you’re face is to the right side of your banner image, you may not even show up on mobile!
✴ Step Four - Check Domains and Integrations
If you happen to have more than one domain, make sure all URLs direct to the primary domain you want to use.
Have a friend double check newsletter sign-ups and form submissions to see that everything is running smoothly.
If you have other items integrated like social icon links or third-party codes, check that they direct visitors to the right pages and everything looks correct.
✴ Step Five - Get Your SEO in Check
This is an important one my friends. Do not, I repeat DO NOT, skip over this part. Learn more about SEO through one of my favorite blog posts to date.
✴ Step Six - Make Sure Your Online Shop is Ready for Shoppers
A few different steps for this one so I am going to break it down below. (Don’t have an online shop? Feel free to skip over this part!)
Add your payment processor so you can make that $$$.
Double check the tax rules that will need to be applied to your shop/products.
If you are offering physical products in your shop, you are going to need at least one shipping option available to your customers.
Try out a test order to see how the process looks for the user. From the check out page to email confirmation, see that everything is squared away.
Review your pricing again. Did you set everything at the right price point?
Turn off that test mode so you can start making some real sales!
Also consider a special promo or discount for when your site goes live to promote new shoppers!
✴ Step Seven - Hit Publish
Change your website visibility to LIVE and get ready to start sharing to the world!
Remove any page passwords if you have them, if you have a ‘website coming soon’ page take it down and if you need to invite or remove site contributors such as a copywriter or outsourced help, do so now.
Also do one last check on your mobile device since most visitors will be coming in through their phones or mobile devices!
✴ Step Eight - Celebrate!
Pop the confetti cannons, treat yourself to a happy hour, or leave the office early for the day. Find a way to celebrate and do it! You’ve earned it with all of the hard work you have put in. Congratulations!