Pre-Launch Checklist: Things You Need to do Before You Launch Your Website
BY BIG CAT CREATIVE
You’ve built your website, and you’re ready to set it free to the world - congrats!!
But hold on a sec - have you done all of the final checks?
So often I see great looking websites go live, that obviously haven’t gone through a final pre-launch checklist.
I totally get it! You’ve spent forever building the thing, it looks good, and you just want to set it live already!
Take a breath and step back from your computer screen for a minute. Think about how important it is to not only have your website look good, but to have it actually functioning how it’s supposed to.
If there are major flaws in your website, people aren’t going to stick around for long, or worse, you might be missing potential customers and clients.
I’ve compiled a list of the final checks you should go through before you launch your website.
TRUST me when I say, it’s much better to suck it up and do all of these things now, than it is doing them AFTER your website has launched.
1 | Links
Check all of your links by making sure they actually go to the correct place. When you’re in the design phase, it’s easy to just throw buttons and menu items in and forget to link them correctly. Check all of your main navigation, footer navigation, buttons and images that are linked.
2 | Forms
This is really important. Send test emails on all of your forms to make sure they are working. If you don’t have your forms hooked up properly to an email address, you will have customers trying to contact you unsuccessfully!
3 | Proofread
This one’s obvious, right? Right! You’ve totally read over all of your copy. But, has someone else read over it? I can’t express the amount of times I have written website copy, read over it 10 times, only to have someone else pick up mistakes in it! You NEED to have someone else read through it, even just a family member or a friend. As long is that someone isn’t you.
Related Post > Top 5 Copywriting Tips for Small Biz Owners
4 | URL Slugs
A URL Slug is the part of the URL which indicates what page you are on. For example, www.bigcatcreative.com/blog is my blog page URL, the “/blog” part is the slug. You can edit your slugs for any page. On Squarespace this is easily done by clicking the little Cog/Gear icon next to the page name and updating the slug.
When you’re in the web design process it’s easy to add pages without paying attention to what the slug is, and because the slug name automatically gets assigned, you could end up with numbers or strange letters at the end of your slug. Check the slugs to make sure they are tidy, for example change “/blog-3” to just “/blog”.
NOTE: If you change any slugs, make sure to check all of your links, as they may not work anymore!
5 | Mobile Friendly
This is SO important, and so often overlooked. With around 50% of people visiting websites from their mobiles these days, you need to have a website version that looks good and is functional on a mobile screen. Squarespace is great, because it automatically creates a mobile friendly version for you. But you still need to check it and make any adjustments needed. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, you will be losing a lot of traffic!
6 | SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. I know this sounds kinda scary, and trust me, you can work on SEO forever, but I think it’s worth mentioning a few important SEO tips that you should implement before launching your website.
Enter a Search Engine Description so you have a better change in showing up on Google, and when you do there will be a short description of your site (in Squarespace go Settings > SEO)
Clean up the pages you aren’t using. In the design process it’s easy to create lots of pages, ones that you don’t end up using. Deleting these junk pages will help your SEO.
Make sure your site is set to secure (in Squarespace: Settings > Security & SSL)
Related Post > How to Optimze Your Squarespace Blog Posts for SEO
7 | Private Policy
It is legally required for you to have a private policy on your website. I know, it sounds kinda scary, but don’t freak! You can create a basic Private Policy for free on www.freeprivacypolicy.com. If your website is bigger and requires more policies, I would get a lawyer to write one up for you. But for most small businesses, the link above is fine!
8 | 404 Page
It’s so easy to create custom 404 (page not found) pages, and they stop a lot of people from landing on a missing page and leaving your website. Check out why I think you should create one, and how to create one with Squarespace below.
9 | E-commerce
This is only if you’re running an e-commerce store. Check that your shop is up a running a ready to take payments. Do a test run, buy a product yourself and make sure it’s all working well! With Squarespace, you can put it in ‘Test Mode’ which means you can test purchase a product with a "fake" credit card. It’s a great way to make sure everything is running smoothly. If you’re not using Squarespace, I recommend reducing the price of your product (to something like $1) and doing a real test run with your credit card before you launch.
Now that you’ve gone through the list and checked everything off, you’re totally ready to launch!
Congrats! I’d love to see your new website, so make sure you post it in the comments below!