Congratulations! You approved your staging site, and we’ve scheduled the launch date! Now that we’re days away from making this new website visible to the public, here are a few things you can expect to happen on launch day and what you need to do between now and then.
What Happens on Launch Day
Launching a website is not as simple as flipping a light switch; we dedicated at least half a business day to make sure everything is executed correctly. From redirecting pages on your current website to making sure search engines can see your website, we take the time needed to ensure your website looks and acts exactly as it should.
Luckily, if you hired a web agency or developer to take care of your website on your behalf, there’s not a lot you need to worry about or do on the launch date. They will let you know when the new website is fully launched and live, and once you’ve been notified, it’s a good idea to click around the site to make sure it looks good on all devices, check all the forms work, and test all the buttons to see if they go to the correct pages.
Our Launch Checklist
Here is an overview of the steps we take when we launch a website:
- Google: We make sure Google can see and understand your new site. This includes making sure the site is visible to Google, Google Analytics tracking code is in place, and we’ve submitted a sitemap to Google Search Console, so Google knows about every page on the new site.
- Redirects: Related to that, we add “301” redirects to any pages that have a different address. For example, your old site might have had an “about.html” page, but now it’s just “/about.” We’ll set things up so that if anyone tries to visit that old about.html page, whether it’s from a bookmark, a link, or a Google search, we instantly take them to the new page to make sure they have a solid experience.
- Caching: Caching is a great way to speed up a website but isn’t something you use while building the site. When your site goes live, we add some caching tools to the site to help it run as smoothly as possible.
- API Keys: Depending on the plugins you use, we often have to set up new API keys for your live site. This could be for form tools, maps on the site, or things of that nature. The keys typically tie into the address of your website, so when we move from the staging site to the live site, we need to update some of those.
- Maintenance: At some point after launch, we’ll talk to you about our optional maintenance programs to help keep things running smoothly. Whether you choose to get one or not, we’ll still add our tools to the site immediately post-launch so that you’re well taken care of until you make that decision.
- Double-check lots of things: Perhaps the most significant part of our list is just double-checking to make sure things are good. We make sure that all of your pages are showing the live address and not the staging address, we make sure your SSL certificate is working correctly, we double-check for basic levels of ADA compliance, we make sure your forms are sending emails as they should, and we have many more items like that on our list.
What to Do Between Now and the Launch Date
While there isn’t much you need to worry about before we launch your next website, there are a few things you should know:
- Do not make any changes to the staging site. If you have login access to the staging site, we ask that you do not make any changes until the website is live. Depending on the timing and process for going live with your host, changes may be lost at this stage, and we don’t want you to duplicate your efforts.
- Give your team a heads up. Your website may be down for a few minutes, or customers may call in to say they can’t find a page they visit frequently. Make sure your team is aware of the date the new website will be live so they can know what to expect.
- Start planning your new website announcement. From emails to social media contests, now is the time to plan how to spread the word about your new website. This is your time to get creative!
Just like you, we’re looking forward to seeing your new website live on launch day!
Have questions about your website launch or website in general? Contact GreenMellen today.