Launching a new site soon, but not sure if it’s going to go smooth? Maybe you have a history of getting in way too deep with website design only to reach a wall that stops you from moving forward. Setbacks, miscommunication, and missed deadlines are your biggest nightmare when building a new website.
What’s the best approach to launch a new website with success?
Don’t make the same mistakes twice. Before you ever dive into a redesign, take a good look at the website you currently have and identify the worst. Are there things that are just plain wrong? These days, you can develop a website design that becomes obsolete in less than a year. It’s probably not your fault, but it’s time to change all the mistakes left on your website.
Something that my team had to fix before our last website redesign was the blog feed location. The blog feed was running from the homepage instead of the subfolder /blog/, which created a mess before we ever started working on the new website redesign. We did our research and concluded it was best to move blog articles to the /blog/ subfolder with 301 redirects before we began building the new website.
Create a Plan
Know what you’re getting yourself into long before you begin. Launching websites is not an easy task, and it takes a lot more careful planning, time, and attention than you may think. Create a plan that outlines all work needed to be done, and get the conversation started with your team. Sometimes this is best done by conducting a meeting in which every department (design, programming, content, social, administrative) can communicate the total workload for each part of the website design and development.
Once all changes that need to be made are identified, it will be much easier to get a much clearer picture of what the website will look like when finished and what steps it might take to get there.
Map Your Work
Give yourself more direction by constructing a roadmap. After you’ve come up with a rough plan including each department’s workload, a general roadmap of your website design procedure will give everyone on your team a better understanding of timelines. Some aspects of your redesign will naturally begin with a programmer, a designer, and copywriter, but eventually, one person will be waiting on the next to supply content to be uploaded.
A map will outline key aspects of your workflow, and help you identify components that must be finished before the next part of the project can even be initiated. It helps to start with a website design checklist to assure that, when you do set tasks for everyone, nothing is overlooked.
Considering Blocks & Setbacks
Murphy’s law states — if there’s anything that can go wrong, it will. Considering this, you might want to allow yourself a few extra days or weeks for specific parts of your website redesign. Rushing through a website redesign is a quick way to pile on the stress and raise your blood pressure. It’s best to reach one conclusion before you begin — there will be setbacks. If you don’t see them coming, they turn into “blocks” that keep the website from launching on the deadline. To avoid being blindsided by blocks and losing momentum, take the time to consider everything that could possibly go wrong when building out your new website.
Set Steps & Deadlines
Once you’ve gotten the big picture out of the way, it’s time to set tasks, dates, and begin. Your website design should begin just after you’ve outlined the steps needed to finish the design and tasks needed to accomplish each step. All tasks and steps should have their own set of deadlines that move the project along. Keeping all parts of the project moving forward and finishing each step on time will assure your website is ready on launch day.
Promote the Launch
If you’re confident in your ability to publish a working site, then start promoting your website long before launch day arrives. Once you know launch day is in sight, set up a series of posts to complete a redesign launch campaign, and drive more traffic to your website.
The Testing Phase
Time to test your website before launch to assure everything works. Our web developer builds out new redesigns by first using a dev server then transferring the final product upon completion. This means that he has much more flexibility when programming the redesign since it’s not automatically affecting the live website. The testing phase of development assures that your website is going to work, and there are no broken elements before launch day.
By the time lauch day rolls around, you should be confident your website is finally FIN. Launch day is a time for celebration. If you haven’t already, start promoting your website redesign launch as soon as you are certain the website is up and running and most importantly works. Give everyone on your team a high five, and be happy because you launched a new website, and holy crap, it works!
Do you use these rules when launching new websites? Please leave a comment, and share this article with your network.