Northwest Arkansas’s Office of Human Concern has a handsome new website. We’ve described the transformation from their old website to the new one already (click through the previous link to see the details), so today I’d like to mark the occasion with a launch day checklist.
Take these steps when your website launches to get the most from your launch day and give the new website a good start:
- Install web analytics. If you have a redesign, you will generally still need to reinstall the code from your analytics, but don’t set up a new account, since you will lose your old data. If it’s a new website or you haven’t used analytics before, do it now. Even if you don’t know what to do with the data or don’t want to deal with it right now, the data will be captured for future use.
- Check your settings, if it’s a WordPress site. While your site was being built, it probably had some temporary settings. The “discourage search engines” privacy setting might have been on, or the developer’s email address might have been set for the admin contact. We take care of this for our clients, actually, but that might not be part of the deal with all designers — and it doesn’t hurt to double check.
- Make sure your site is indexed. Go to Google.com and search “site:www.MySite.com” using the URL for your website. If you don’t see all the pages listed, then your website is not yet indexed. Don’t be alarmed, especially if it is a brand new website, but do go to www.google.com/submityourcontent/ and let Google know that your site is ready to be indexed. Do the same thing with Bing at www.bing.com/toolbox/submit-site-url/ Check again in a day or two and see whether the site has been indexed, but do not resubmit. If your site does not get indexed, it’s probably problems with the website rather than slacking on the part of the search engines.
- Tell everybody! Announce your new site on social media, email your friends, colleagues, and customers, and make a big deal out of it. Everyone will rejoice with you.
- Be vigilant. There will be something that doesn’t go exactly as planned. This is not because there is something wrong with your website but because it hasn’t been online before and you haven’t used it before. There will therefore be some little thing that doesn’t work exactly as anticipated. Find that thing and get it fixed. In the case of today’s launch, there was a little hiccup with one of the plugins. We found and fixed it, so I think we’re set. Your web team might find and fix it before you do, too, so don’t worry if you don’t see any issues — or if you do. It’s normal.
- Make a plan for the future. If you want to increase traffic to your website, you will need a plan for social media, blogging, linkbuilding, and any other elements of web management needed for your particular type of business. Make a plan now, or you will wake up in six months feeling disappointed with your results.
Now you can just enjoy your new website and congratulate yourself for the payoff on all your hard work.
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