I’m working with a few businesses on launching or revamping their websites. I was making myself a checklist today and thought this might be helpful for those who haven’t yet had to learn it the hard way - hoping I can save you some agony.
1. Everyone at the company will have feedback, ask for it before you launch.
Come up with a streamlined way to gather it - like a Google Form survey - and communicate clearly on how you’ll review and respond to the feedback. Get better at not taking things personally, immediately. And make sure you ask one final time (shouldn’t be the first time!) if the website integrates with all the systems it needs to, and working with all departments to test the integrations a final time.
2. Check every button, form, drop down menu and social share button on every device, in every browser.
And then check it ten more times. And then five more. And then grab a stress ball for when a link still doesn't work for that pain-in-the-ass-who-also-happens-to-be-a-huge-prospect using Explorer 98 on his Blackberry the day after launching.
3. Have some clients check it out.
And don't just ask the nice ones. Ask that guy who sends in the scathing customer service requests. Tell him to do his worst. The CEO’s review will then feel like a piece of cake.
4. Re-check your assumptions.
How long did it take to finalize the website? If you’re human, probably longer than expected. Has your industry or target audience changed drastically since then? (Prudent question in the time of COVID-19 especially.) The only thing worse than a delayed website is a launched website that’s no longer relevant.
5. Gather baseline analytics.
If you’re re-launching a website, gather as much data as possible from the last 12 months of the existing website. (Hopefully you already did that to aid in the re-design, though.) Very clearly record your “baseline” or what the analytics look like up until the day of launching. Set up a schedule (with calendar reminders) for monitoring the changes, from that baseline, after launch. Before the launch, I like to build the template for the Analytics Report I want to send up the chain, so that all I have to do is fill in numbers as time goes on.
6. Make an announcement!
Internally, not just externally - share your work. Acknowledge all those who helped. It feels like a big deal because it is, be proud and share it. Help your team feel proud. Plan a launch party where every employee shares their favorite thing about the site.
7. Crowdsource promotion.
Ask your employees, friends, family, clients and partners to help you announce the new website. Google loves traffic. Especially diversified traffic from different platforms. Share a blurb that makes it easy on them to copy/paste and slightly customize before they post.
You're not the first person to do this. Read as many articles as possible about what to do and not to do. I find new articles every time I launch a website, just to make sure there’s not a new Google algorithm change I need to know about. Take some of it seriously, take some of it with a grain of salt. Be productively paranoid but expect something to go wrong. You can handle it.
And if we can help you navigate building or launching a new website - let us know.