Website Launch Checklist: 10 Things to Do When Launching a New Site
Website Launch Checklist: 10 Things to Do When Launching a New Site

Website Launch Checklist: 10 Things to Do When Launching a New Site

Published on June 4, 2023

As a web designer, launching a new website for yourself or a client can be an exciting yet challenging experience. There are so many details to consider, and ensuring that everything is perfectly executed can be overwhelming. To help you streamline the process and eliminate any last-minute surprises, we've put together a comprehensive "Website Launch Checklist" for you to follow.

This checklist covers everything from setting up client billing and charging fees to proofreading content and optimizing for SEO. By following these steps, you can guarantee a smooth and successful launch that will leave you and your clients feeling satisfied and confident in the final product. So, let's dive into this ultimate checklist and make your next website launch a breeze!



1. Set up client billing

If you’re launching a site for a client, it's crucial to establish a clear and organized client billing system before investing any more time into the design. This step is essential not only for your financial well-being but also for maintaining a professional relationship with your client. SiteSwan’s Client Billing feature makes it easy to charge your clients and eliminates the hassle of invoicing clients and cashing checks.

Start by charging the initial setup fee, which covers the costs associated with launching the site, such as the initial design, crafting content and connecting the domain.

Next, schedule recurring monthly fees to ensure you are properly compensated for ongoing maintenance, updates, and support. It's important to communicate the payment schedule and terms with your client clearly and transparently. This will help to avoid any misunderstandings or disputes down the line. Consider providing your client with a detailed invoice outlining the services rendered, due dates, and payment methods.



2. Complete interior pages

With client billing in place, shift your focus to completing the interior pages of the website. This stage involves incorporating additional content, such as text, images, menus and other multimedia elements provided by the client. It's important to work closely with your client to understand their vision and objectives for each page, ensuring that the content accurately reflects their brand messaging and effectively communicates with their target audience. Additionally, make sure to organize the content in a logical and user-friendly manner to facilitate easy navigation and a positive user experience.

As you work on the interior pages, be mindful of maintaining brand colors and styling consistently throughout the site. Consistent branding helps create a cohesive and professional look, which not only enhances the site's aesthetic appeal but also reinforces the client's brand identity. Familiarize yourself with the client's brand or consult with them to understand their preferred color palette, typography, and other design elements. By adhering to these guidelines, you can ensure that the website is visually aligned with the client's brand, resulting in a polished and harmonious end product that effectively represents their business online.



3. Proofread all copy

Taking the time to thoroughly proofread all copy on your website is an essential step in the website launch process. Carefully reviewing each piece of content, including headings, body text, captions, and calls-to-action, will help ensure that your website is accurate, relevant, and professionally presented. By eliminating grammar and spelling errors, you not only improve readability but also demonstrate to your audience that you care about providing a high-quality user experience.

In addition to improving the overall quality of your website, meticulous proofreading can also contribute to its success in terms of search engine optimization (SEO) and user engagement. Well-written and error-free content is more likely to rank higher on search engine results pages, ultimately driving more organic traffic to your client’s site. Moreover, visitors are more likely to trust and engage with your brand if they perceive your content to be polished and reliable. By dedicating time to proofread all copy, you can ensure that your website launch is both visually appealing and effective in achieving its goals.



4. Add contact information

Incorporating accurate and easily accessible contact information on your website is a crucial component of a successful online presence. By displaying your business's address, hours of operation, and phone number(s) prominently, you instill confidence in potential customers and make it simple for them to reach out with inquiries, feedback, or requests. Providing this information on every page, either in the header, footer, or a dedicated "Contact Us" section, ensures that visitors can quickly find the details they need regardless of where they are on your site.

The importance of up-to-date contact information cannot be overstated, as it has a direct impact on customer experience and brand perception. When visitors can effortlessly find and use accurate contact details, it increases the likelihood of them engaging with your business, leading to potential sales or partnerships. Additionally, a well-designed contact page may also include features such as an embedded map, social media links, and a contact form, further enhancing user experience and convenience. By prioritizing the addition of comprehensive and easily accessible contact information to your website, you are setting your business up for a successful launch and ongoing growth



5. Check all links and forms

Thoroughly checking all buttons, links, and contact forms on your website is a vital step in ensuring a smooth and user-friendly experience for your visitors. Taking the time to meticulously test each element helps identify and resolve any issues, such as broken links or non-functional buttons, that may frustrate users or negatively impact their impression of your brand. By guaranteeing that every element on your site works as intended, you create a seamless experience that encourages visitors to explore your content further and engage with your business.

A significant aspect of this testing process is verifying that contact forms are correctly configured and sending inquiries to the appropriate email address. This attention to detail ensures that you do not miss any potential leads, questions, or feedback from your audience. Additionally, it demonstrates a commitment to professionalism and customer service, as visitors can trust that their messages will reach the intended recipient promptly. By diligently checking all links, buttons, and forms on your website, you not only create an enjoyable browsing experience but also lay the foundation for a successful website launch and sustained growth in the digital space.



6. Optimize for SEO

Optimizing your website for SEO is a critical aspect of ensuring its online success and visibility. By crafting search-friendly content that incorporates the business name, relevant keywords, and location, you make it easier for search engines to understand your website's purpose and rank it accordingly. This targeted approach helps potential customers find your website more easily when searching for the products or services you offer, ultimately driving increased organic traffic and conversions.

In addition to optimizing on-page content, it's essential to pay attention to technical SEO factors, such as adding meta-tags to each page and including image alt tags. Meta-tags, which consist of meta-titles and meta-descriptions, provide a summary of your page's content for search engines and users alike, further improving your chances of ranking higher in search results. Similarly, adding descriptive image alt tags not only enhances your site's accessibility for visually impaired users but also allows search engines to better understand the context and relevance of your images. By focusing on these crucial SEO elements, you not only improve the overall user experience of your website but also ensure a strong foundation for a successful website launch and ongoing visibility in the competitive digital landscape.



7. Connect a domain

Connecting your website to a domain is a critical step in the website launch process, as it ensures that your site is accessible to the public and easy to find. To do this, you'll need to update the DNS (Domain Name System) settings associated with your chosen domain, ensuring that they point to the correct IP address or hosting provider. By configuring the DNS settings correctly, you guarantee that your domain will load the right content when visitors access it, providing a seamless and professional online experience.

Once the DNS settings have been updated, it's important to verify that the domain loads correctly across various devices and browsers. This step involves testing the domain's loading speed, checking for potential errors or broken links, and confirming that all design elements display as intended. By thoroughly examining these aspects, you ensure that your website is not only accessible to the public but also presents your brand in the best possible light. Successfully connecting your domain and validating its functionality lays the groundwork for a smooth website launch and sets the stage for your online presence to grow and flourish.



8. Submit to search engines

Submitting your website to search engines is an important step in the website launch process, as it helps to increase your site's visibility online and improve its chances of being discovered by potential customers. By notifying search engines of your website's existence, you facilitate the indexing process, allowing search engines to crawl your site, understand its content, and rank it accordingly in search results.

There are different submission options available, such as one-time or monthly submissions, depending on your or the clients’ needs. One-time submissions can be a suitable choice for smaller websites or those with infrequent content updates. In contrast, monthly submissions are often recommended for larger websites or those with regularly updated content, as they ensure search engines are aware of new or revised content and can index it accordingly.

To submit your website, you can manually provide your site's sitemap to major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, or use SiteSwan’s Search Engine Submission tool to automate the process. As a web designer, offering this valuable service is not only a great way to increase your client’s website performance, but it also offers a lucrative revenue opportunity. It’s not uncommon for designers to charge their clients extra for search engine submission. 



9. Share with the client

Keeping your client informed and involved is an essential aspect of a successful website launch. Once the site is complete and live, make sure to update the client and provide them with all the necessary information to access and view their new website. This step is crucial in ensuring that the client is satisfied with the final product and can start benefiting from their new online presence.

Depending on the agreed-upon terms and the client's level of expertise, you may also want to grant them access to make changes or updates to their website. This can be done by providing them with login credentials to the content management system (CMS) or website builder. By doing so, you empower the client to keep their website up-to-date and make adjustments as needed, without having to rely on you for every minor change. Additionally, offering training or guidance on using the CMS can further enable the client to manage their website independently and confidently.

Alternatively, you may insist that all updates go through you. This reduces the risk of your client accidentally messing up their website and that all changes are done correctly. If you’re worried about being bogged down by frequent updates, you can limit the amount of changes you make to one hour each month. Providing this higher level of support also allows you to charge your clients more each month and fosters a strong, long-term relationship built on trust and collaboration.



10. Show off your work

Showcasing your completed work is a valuable way to promote your skills, attract new clients, and grow your business. Adding a screenshot of the finished website to your portfolio helps demonstrate your expertise and the quality of your work to potential clients. By presenting a diverse and impressive collection of completed projects, you can increase the likelihood of winning future projects and expanding your client base.

Sharing the completed website on social media channels is another effective way to highlight your accomplishments and reach a broader audience. By tagging the client and using relevant hashtags, you can leverage your existing network and tap into new ones, further increasing your visibility within your industry.

Additionally, asking the client for a testimonial about their experience working with you can provide valuable social proof and build credibility with prospective clients. Positive testimonials help instill confidence in your abilities and can be a deciding factor for potential clients seeking web design services. Furthermore, requesting referrals from satisfied clients can also lead to new opportunities and business growth, as word-of-mouth recommendations often carry significant weight in the decision-making process.

By following this step-by-step website launch checklist, you can ensure a smooth and successful website launch that will leave both you and your client thrilled with the final product. Happy designing!

 

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