Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPotos.net.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPotos.net.

Before you launch that new website, there are a few things you should do. In fact, failing to check off these important factors could bring negative consequences. When you launch a new site or blog, you only have one chance to get it right. Many of your new customers or readers will visit your site at launch, and if they don’t like what they see, they likely won’t come back.

But, don’t let this idea scare you. It’s entirely possible to make sure everything is in its place and working properly so you’ll have a successful site launch and start your business or blog campaign off the right way.

1. Perfect Your Design

Make sure your design is exactly the way it needs to be before launch day. Make sure things flow well and that there is enough white space so your readers aren’t overwhelmed. Now is the time to make sure everything looks sharp.

2. Proofread Everything

When the design is done, you can proofread all your site content. Double check that all the details your audience needs are included. Edit for the usual things like spelling and grammar, but also check for things like style, tone and flow.

3. Set Up and Link to Social Media Accounts

Image courtesy of SalFalko/Flickr.

Image courtesy of SalFalko/Flickr.

If you don’t already have some business or brand social media accounts set up, now is the perfect time to do it. You can use your new site’s design to personalize your account pages and add the URL of your new site in your biographical information. Then, link the social media buttons on your website to the accounts. There’s nothing like a broken social media button to make you lose a crowd of followers.

4. Make Sure All the Links Work

Go through your entire site to make sure every link, including buttons and tabs, work. The ones that interlink the pages on your site and the ones that link to outside pages are both important for optimal search engine optimisation and ease of use. Depending on the platform you use, you may be able install a plugin or program that will detect broken links for you.

5. Have Some Blog Posts Live and a Plan Ready

You can’t launch a website, especially a blog, without any posts. Have a handful of posts already live when you launch your site. It’s also good practice to have a blog posting plan for the next month or so ready. Even better, write several posts ahead of time and schedule them to go live over a period of time.

6. Create a Means of Contact

Your readers need to be able to contact you. Whether it’s to buy your services, ask a question or to report a problem, a contact form or readily available contact information is absolutely vital. If it’s not easy to contact you, your audience will lose faith in your customer service and may turn to blog comments or forums for their answers, giving you less control over how you serve your market.

7. Apply SEO Tactics to Pages

Before you launch, have a basic SEO plan in place. Part of this plan should include some on-site optimisation strategies, which should be done before you launch your site. Including keywords and meta descriptions before launching will help you influence your rankings from the day your site goes live.

8. Advertise Early and Decide How to Hook Readers

Build hype in your market before launch by using traditional marketing methods, social media and other sites you own, if applicable. You may also want to implement a way to entice new readers to visit your site, subscribe to your blog or follow you on social media. Some ways to do this might be through a contest or giveaway or by offering early followers a discount.

9. Set Up Analytics Software

Image courtesy of Colin Zhu/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Colin Zhu/Flickr.

If you don’t set up analytics software for your site before you launch it, you won’t get a clear idea of how well your site is doing. You should see a surge in traffic at launch, followed by a steady stream of visitors. If you have no idea how well your site has done over time you won’t be able to measure your success.

10. Back Up Your Site

Backing up your site is extremely important. Having a backup ready can save you from disasters like a site hack, server failure or a mistake on your part. If something happens to your site during launch, postponing your launch to fix your site could ruin your campaign. Play it safe and back your site up often.

This checklist will help you launch a working, professional site and help you prepare for a successful launch. Your market will be met with a beautiful site and everything they need to respond to your calls to action and become customers or brand advocates.

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