Relaunching your website is a tricky business. No matter how carefully you have planned and prepared, there will be some things that go awry. There are some common mistakes that you can easily avoid with a little forethought, however.
Here’s a checklist for some last minute details that you should go over before launch time:
- Click through links – Go through each link on your website one at a time to make sure they’re working. Relative links can be especially tricky, so be careful with these.
- Revise your content – No matter how many times you think you’ve read your website copy, read it again to see if there is anything that you can make clearer.
- Optimize images – Make sure that all your images and other multimedia are in a format that most browsers and mobile devices can understand, and make them small enough to load quickly. Be sure that all your images have alt tags and width and height definitions.
- Make sure the layout is user friendly – Run a few formal or informal usability tests to make sure that the design is usable and intuitive. There’s a good chance that you’ll lose sales if customers cannot figure your site out.
- Add HTML and XML sitemaps – Search engines use sitemaps to figure out what sort of information is presented on each page and where pages are located.
- Check for code validity – There are legitimate reasons for choosing not to have valid code, but in general, it is a good practice to fix validity bugs where you can. Put your site through the W3C’s validation checker to find out if there are fixes you need to make.
- Mark up properly – Along with that, you should make sure that your HTML markup is formatted properly. Using the right markup for lists, headers, and text formatting will help you make sure that all users see the same thing regardless of the platform they are accessing your site on. In addition, some of these changes can help your rank within the search engines for specific terms.
- Create social media accounts for the site – A website relaunch is the perfect time to start social media marketing if you haven’t already. Make sure that all of your web pages include social media share tools.
- Include prominent calls to action – Having clear calls to action can affect your ROI. Let your visitors know as unambiguously as possible what you want them to do.
- Use analytics – Make sure that analytics are loaded onto your site so that you can keep track of metrics like unique visitors and conversion statistics.
- Implement 301 redirects on your old site – Be sure to 301 redirect all your old URLs to your new site. This is important because not only for visitors, but also to search engines.
- Plan for marketing – Before you launch your website, make sure that you have a plan to get the word out about your new design as well as any new services you may be offering.
A website relaunch is the perfect time to correct any design or SEO mistakes that you may have made with your old site. What other items would you include on a website relaunch checklist?