Too many people see their websites fail because they launch too soon. They are too eager to get started and, in doing so, miss important details. The internet is unforgiving, unfortunately, so if you do make a mistake, it is likely that you won’t recover from it again. You must understand, whether you are a website developer or website owner, that there are a number of steps you must go through and this is supported by a number of checklists. Additionally, you have to have common marketing sense, which will tell you whether or not you really are ready to launch and go live. So what are some of the things you need to do before you take the plunge?
Have a Scope and a Deadline
This is actually a step that you need to complete even before you started building your website. You need to know exactly what the scope of your website is and you have to have an idea of when you want it to be live and operational. With that, you should set a two week grace period, which should start when you complete your testing.
“The start of this 2 week period should be your internal deadline for being ready to go live. Having this date and sticking to it, is very important, as it gives you the chance to put the new system live early internally or for certain parties in a production environment, without the pressure of the whole Internet.”
This two-week period is your soft live period. It is the time when everything should work properly, as you have already tested it, but if something does go wrong, it isn’t the end of the world and there is time and expertise available to fix it. Two weeks is also sufficient time to do this in a stress-free manner, rather than having to rush things.
Test It on All Browsers
You would be surprised at how many web designers only test their new websites in a single browser. There are many different browsers out there, including mobile browsers, and you have to be sure that the site works properly across all of them. Even if there is just a single browser that doesn’t support your website, you have the potential of missing out on a great number of visitors and, therefore, income. Luckily, there are tools available to help you achieve this.
“One tool that will help with this process is Browser Stack. This web application allows you to remotely connect to various virtual systems running a wide variety of browsers.”
What you also need to do is link this information to your analytics. It is likely that your website will not work perfectly in every single browser that exists. What you will have to choose, therefore, is which browsers you will focus on, which is going to be the browsers that your customers are most likely to use. Analytics can tell you this, although only if you already have an older website that you can compare it to. The other option would be to get your website live and then start using your analytics to decide which browser you are going to focus on to fix problems at a later date.
Have a Checklist
No project has ever been completed successfully without a checklist, or if they have, this was by pure luck. There are numerous checklists available online that you can use in order to prepare yourself for your launch date. One of the easiest is setup (which is where you start to populate your draft site), backup (you should always have a backup of your final version, in case something goes horribly wrong), export (this is where your site actually goes online), verify (check and check again), and launch.
However, most would agree that there is far more to it, and you should have a checklist that goes from the very beginning to the very end. As such, the first step on your checklist should be choosing your domain.
“Extensions like “.design,” “.guru,” and other more fitting domain extensions will only help you create a domain people will not only remember, but is the perfect fit for your business. Grab a few more domains, all of which can redirect people who sort of remember your name, and don’t forget to pick one that will localize your SEO.”
Next, you have to know your audience. Think about who you are trying to reach, which browsers they use, when they go online and more. Then, you have to get everybody on board to work together as a team. The next point on your checklist should be about content creation. What content do you want to be on your site on your go live day, who will create it and how often will it be updated? Once you have completed each step on this checklist, you will be ready for the simpler checklist of actually going live.
Building a website is a lot of work and you have to focus on many intricate and minute details. However, although this is hard work, it is not impossible to complete. A lot of it is down to common sense and ensuring you don’t rush through any of the processes. You need to see a website as a physical product. Just as with a physical product, you wouldn’t release it until you know it has passed quality assurance tests. Hence, a final tip is to have your site tested by an external person before it goes live.
Indeed, working with focus groups is a great way to ensure you have a website that is ready to go live. A recommendation is to make a focus group that includes people from your target demographics, but also of industry experts and other web designers and web developers. The information this will provide you is absolutely invaluable, because it will look not only at whether or not your website functions properly, but also whether or not people actually like it.