Anyone who has been through the process of launching a website knows that it is a massive undertaking. There are so many details to think through — it can be hard to know where to start. Although the process looks different for everyone, we’ve pulled together ten tips that will help you navigate your way to a successful launch.
1. Define your website team.
Before you even think about kicking off this project, take the time to identify your website team. Do you have internal designers and programmers who will build the site? Do you need the assistance of any outside agency partners? Who will be involved in making important decisions?
2. Examine your current site (if you have one) and other sites in your industry.
If you are redoing an existing website, make sure your team agrees on what is working and what needs to change. Additionally, identify other websites that you want to emulate. It’s important that everyone is on the same page for what you’re trying to achieve before you start.
3. Set a realistic timeline.
It’s always best to have a target to hit, so make sure to define a deadline for the website launch. Is there a date you need a new website by, such as an upcoming trade show? Do any of your team members have vacation or other project deadlines you’ll need to work around?
4. Create a sitemap.
A sitemap is essentially the road map to your website. It allows you to think through every page that will need to be on the website and how the site will be organized. It’s important to get buy-in from the entire team, as well as any outside partners, before you move on from this step.
5. Collect all assets before you start.
There’s nothing worse than getting halfway into a project and realizing you don’t have what you need to keep going. If you’re working with an agency, they may even require you to turn everything over before the website development starts. Before you begin, identify all of the assets you’ll need, such as images, any documents you plan to have available for download, etc.
6. Make sure your content has a consistent voice.
It’s common to have multiple subject matter experts involved in developing content for the site. Just make sure that you are running all of your content through a single writer, whether with your agency or internally, to ensure the voice of your website copy is cohesive and representative of your brand.
7. Be intentional about your design.
Your website is one of the first places people will go to learn about your company, so you want to make a good first impression. Make sure your website fits within your brand guidelines, is intuitive to navigate and has a clean, professional design.
8. Don’t get caught up with the bells and whistles.
Interactivity is a great way to engage visitors, but don’t get so caught up that your products and services get lost behind all the noise. The most important thing to keep in mind is giving visitors quick and easy access to the information they need.
9. Proofread everything.
We recommend having someone who was not involved with the project proofread your website. This should be a detail-oriented, professionally trained individual who has plenty of time to dedicate to this project.
10. Test. Test. Test.
Before you launch, it’s imperative that your site is tested within a variety of browsers, both desktop and mobile, to ensure the user experience is a success no matter where your site is seen. Make sure to test all links and downloads, too.
Remember, there is a lot more that goes into a website than just the steps listed above. This process looks different depending on your company, budget and timeline. However, these simple steps should lay the groundwork for a successful website launch.