A successful website launch is critical for your business. To attract the right customers to your products and services, your site needs to be buttoned-up from the start. Yes, successful sites are continually improved along the way, BUT, if you stumble out of the gate, you will have a difficult time recovering.
Set your site (and yourself) up for success with these 11 website launch steps. Both you and your customers will be glad you did.
1. Begin with the end in mind
What does success look like one year after launching your site? How about 3 years after? Establish goals and ensure your site can impact those goals from day one. Don’t shoot in the dark.
- What should the new website accomplish?
- How can you better serve your target audience?
- How can you improve the customer journey?
If there are questions you can’t answer at launch (due to budget or experience) plan on a phased approach. Emphasis on plan. Hope alone won’t lead your customers to convert.
2. Get your technical ducks in order
Check the following items off your list well before launch. Don’t scramble to the finish.
- SSL – An SSL cert establishes your site is secure for users. It also impacts your rank in Google search (SEO).
- CRM – Track customer progress, connect the sales team with leads and kickstart email marketing. Most major CRMs can integrate with your website, and it is definitely worth doing so.
- Secure Shopping Cart – If you are selling products or samples, make certain the payment process is secure and reliable.
- Document your plan for both fast site hosting and domain registrar
3. Ensure your website design has users in mind
Remember, this site is for your users and customers, not for you. Be mindful of what your customer is needing from the site.
- Focus on user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) for both desktop and mobile devices.
- Make information easy to follow the next step in the journey.
- Create user personas and reference them through launch.
- Keep your branding consistent with use of logos, colors, fonts and professional images.
4. Review content for legal compliance
A legal review will ensure you don’t infringe any copyrights, trademarks, etc. Expect a strict legal review and prepare to be respectful but firm about standard marketing practices like collecting email addresses.
5. Test all functionality before launching
Be relentless about creating a positive user experience; frustrated customers leave before they buy.
- Click through to verify the accuracy of all links.
- Test all forms.
- Check your entire email series to ensure deliverability.
6. Build in your conversion marketing
Your site strategy should align with an inbound marketing funnel. Double check that your site effectively ushers prospects through each stage of the customer journey.
- Top-of-funnel (TOFU): marketing that grabs attention and persuades prospects to look further at your products and services.
- Middle-of-funnel (MOFU): explains your products and services, to help the customer understand what your business offers.
- Bottom-of-funnel (BOFU): clear calls to action to get customers to fill out a lead form or purchase now.
7. Optimize for fast site speed
Users won’t wait for your site to load. Get it on screen quick or lose your lead.
- Compress images to minimize storage and load times.
8. Map your 301s
Build a 301 redirect map so users are automatically redirected from an old site to the new one. This will also help retain previous SEO authority.
9. Test, test… then test again
- Ensure your site works in different browsers.
- Check mobile responsiveness – watch for pictures and content to resize.
- Invite trusted partners or customers to test your site pre-launch.
10. Prepare for the worst, expect the best
A website is a series of numbers, letters and code being fed into the mythical beast we call the internet. No matter how much you test, the opportunity for an error always exists. Plan for this.
- Set time aside to address errors or content updates.
- Be realistic with your team that errors are part of the process.
11. Announce the birth of your baby to the world
Don’t forget to celebrate. Announce your launch via social media, email, and news releases. Consider digital ads to relevant audiences as well.
You get one chance to make a first impression…
Building a site that meets your customer’s needs is hard work, but it’s worth doing right from the word go.
Keep your customer at the forefront, consult this checklist before launch. Also, don’t forget that you still need to market your new site in order to generate new visitors, prospects, and customers beyond the ones that already know about you.
And what better time to do that with your shiny, new revamped website?