Number 10 – Testing
Testing is one of the most important things you can do on any website. While you are probably testing as you go, it is even more important to test right before you launch a new website or even a change. For big deployments it is almost always beneficial to have an outside party do all of your testing. Over the time that you spend developing a website you will develop blinders and miss small details along the way.
Number 9 – Proofreading
Like testing, you need to proofread. It is embarrassing to have simple grammatical errors on your new website. Take some time before you publish and have someone else read through your work.
Number 8 – The Customer Path
It should go without saying that the customer is the most important visitor you are going to have on your website. Using a focus group to go through your website is crucial to understanding how your website is going to be used. Getting inside the customers head will help you find problems that you didn’t see with your website. Take notes, make the changes that are suggested if they are possible. Your customers will thank you.
Number 7 – Page Load
Developing a website is a balance between a lot of things. On one hand you can create a beautiful website with fancy graphics and animations but, it will load terribly. Then, on the other hand you can design a simple page with very limited beatification but, it loads lightning fast. Take some time and use tools like the Google Chrome Developer Tools or Pingdom to help you analyze and troubleshoot your page load times.
Number 6 – Cross Platform Compatibility
Websites are no longer just accessed by computers. Your website should be accessible from a myriad of devices. While it is very challenging to test every device, it is important that you spend sometime making sure that your website loads how you want it on some of the more popular devices. If you don’t have a few physically available to you the Chrome Developer Tools have a built in emulator that will do the job for you.
Number 5 – Analytics
Having analytics setup is key for a new website. At 45Squared we utilize Google Analytics to monitor our customers accounts but you may use a different platform. Either way, it is important to make sure that you have your analytic platform setup and functional before you go live. You will want to be able to report on your success at launch day!
Number 4 – Stress Testing
There are somethings that you may not be able to control depending on where you are hosting your website but, it is important to understand that your website can withstand a large spike in traffic when you go live. There is nothing worse than launching your new website, and having your first flood of users take out your server. There are many services that can provide you a free stress test, one of which is Load Impact
Number 3 – Email
Wait… Email? What does email have to do with launching a website you ask? A lot! Back in the testing hopefully you tested your forms. Many times we see forms get missed in testing. Send yourself some test submissions to ensure that they are going where you want them to go and, any analytic data is being collected properly!
Number 2 – Backup
We cannot stress this one enough. Backups are the most important thing you can do with all of your digital information. In the day of ransomware and increasing amounts of cyber crime you must have backups. Take backups as much as you possibly can. Don’t forget to backup your database if you are utilizing one. We can go very in depth in backup best practices but, the key is to backup often and store them in an offsite location.
Number 1 – SSL Certificates
We have talked about the importance of having an SSL certificate before. Before you launch it has become increasingly important that your SSL certificate installed and working correctly. We utilize the tool Why No Padlock, it is a simple tool that will analyze your site to ensure that your SSL certificate is installed properly and everything is being sent to your customers securely. If you do not want to purchase an SSL certificate you can utilize a free service called Let’s Encrypt. It is a nonprofit organization that delivers free SSL certifications.