Successfully Launching A New Website - Part Five
4th August 2021
Part Five: Final Launch
This is the fifth and final instalment of our blog series on best practices for successfully planning, building and launching a new website.
Our first article in this series explained how to execute the research, planning and specification stage of your website build to ensure launch success. Then, our second article explained how you can plan and create new content for your website, and what to consider when migrating existing content from your old site to your new one. Our third instalment looked at the design phase and some tips for creating visuals. The fourth article explained the development stage, including building pages, testing, and content upload and migration.
And now, the website is built and populated with content and you’re ready to launch. The launch process is the final step in the website journey and it’s important to get it right. This article explains the process and some of the steps SilverDisc takes to ensure a successful launch.
Core & Module Updates
During the development and content population stage of a project, it is likely that new security updates have been released by the platform. This is the first item that should be addressed. Launching on the latest version of the platform ensures that the website being released out into the wild is as secure as it can be. Doing this step first allows you to pick up on any issues with the updates when completing the remaining steps.
The testing process for websites will vary depending on the features of the site. All sites will go through common tests, which are outlined below:
Your site will receive traffic from a range of web browsers. It is important that whatever browser the site is viewed from, users are given a suitable experience. Key pages and functionality should be checked across each of the major browsers.
The number of different devices available on the market today is vast. People are viewing sites on computers, phones, game consoles, watches and more. With this in mind, extensive testing is needed to make sure that the site displays correctly across all devices you’d want to address.
With ever-increasing numbers of mobile users and the recent changes to the Google algorithm based on user experience, it’s more important than ever for sites to be fast. Key pages should all be checked and optimised for the best user experience.
If the site is replacing an existing site, then it’s important to implement redirects. Redirects automatically take a user from one URL to another. Possible reasons for applying a redirect could be:
- The URL of the page has changed on the new site
- The page no longer exists on the new site and the user needs to be redirected to another page.
Applying redirects is a good way of ensuring that existing SEO efforts are not damaged by the new site.
Technical SEO Checks
Checks should be made to ensure that the site is optimised for SEO:
- Breadcrumbs are configured
- All pages have appropriate page titles and meta descriptions
- Schema markup is shown where relevant
- Semantic markup is used
To ensure the marketing of your new site isn’t affected, you should test the following:
- Analytics code is in place
- Conversion pages contain correct tracking code
- Search Console is set up
- An XML sitemap is present
All forms on the site should be tested to ensure they are reaching the correct recipients.
Checks should be completed to ensure the site is meeting any legal requirements. Examples could be:
- GDPR compliance in forms and data storage
- Copyright and registered address information
- Privacy and Terms content populated
Broken links are a real source of frustration for users. There are tools available that crawl a website and report any broken links. This ensures that when a website launches, no broken links will be found on the site.
With all of the above considered and completed, the site should now be in a ready state for launch. Congratulations! But remember, the web development process doesn’t end here. It’s important to continue applying updates to ensure your website is secure and stable. Add to this, development plays an important part in the continuation of the digital marketing system. You may need to add new content or functionality to the website or amend existing features to support a good user experience and new marketing campaigns and challenges, in the face of this ever-changing online landscape.