The technical must-dos for launching your next website
The excitement is building, and you are getting close to launching the website for your business. Eeek!
Whether you are building your own site, you have hired a professional, or your second cousin has taken on the job, here are your technical must-dos, so make sure they are part of your launch sequence.
Run an accessibility check
When your website is accessible, it means that people with disabilities, who use screen readers and the like, can navigate your site easily. We should also note that accessible websites are typically more optimized for search engines. You can run your site through the Wave—a web accessibility evaluation tool—and see where your site may need a few more tweaks before going live. Depending on your site design and technology, it may be hard to fix all the issues, but you and your web person can work through the list items and decide what can be addressed.
Set up your SSL
Also known as a Secure Sockets Layer, the SSL “is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser,” according to SSL.com. It tells the browser that the website is legit and safe to access. Not having an SSL will cause you to take a hit in the search engines and will outright block some of your users from getting to your site.
Add Google Analytics
Many website tools include data or analytics with them, and they can be handy. Unfortunately, if you move to a new web site management program or content management system, you may not be able to take your data with you or the data they may be limited. Google Analytics is a free industry standard, and any reputable web site software or web designer will allow it to be added. Make sure your web producer grants you and your marketing manager access to the analytics account.
Repoint old web addresses to your new site
I feel bad when I encounter a company with numerous dead websites hanging around. Dead sites are caused when a new site is built on a new web address or URL, but the old addresses are not repointed to the new site. This is problematic because chances are you do not intend to maintain the content on the old website, but those searching may still find it. You may also have some decent traffic or links pointing at that old address, make sure you don’t lose any traffic by making sure all your addresses point to the most updated version of your site.
Add a site map, and submit it to Google and Microsoft
Once upon a time, sitemaps were used to navigate large websites. Today, we rarely see sitemaps presented that way. They are, however, still critical. When a search engine finds your site, it will use the sitemap to quickly inventory the pages you are presenting. For a new site, the map should be submitted to the search engines when the site is launched to let Google and Microsoft know that your site is available to be searched. I make this my last step in my launch process.
The complexities around marketing your business are many; reduce your stress by talking to your developer or hosting company early in the process to make sure these necessary steps are part of the plan.