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Final Check List Before Putting Your Website Live

So your new website is ready to go live.No doubt it has taken longer than you thought it would but finally you are happy and you are set to launch. Is there anything you can do to make sure the new website is the success you have planned? Well yes, several things.

First read through the website carefully. Better still get someone who has not been involved with creating the content at all to read it. Best of all, get a customer or a potential customer to read it to make sure the spelling is correct, information is clear and it makes sense to people outside of your industry.

Check the links work, email forms go where they should and that telephone numbers are correct. If it’s an ecommerce website put through some test payments, ask some friends to put through a test payment to check it all works as planned. All basic stuff but you don’t want to fall at the first hurdle.

Compare your prices against key competitors. I’m not an advocate of selling on price, but on the internet you do need to be competitive and launching a website with prices well in excess of key competitors could handicap the website before you start.

Marketing your website is key to your online success, and much of that work will need to be done after the launch. But there are several elements of search engine optimisation that are best done prior to launch.

Researching your keywords is the foundation for much of this work. Based on the results, you can create your page titles and Meta descriptions; remember these are the words that appear as part of your Google listings, as well as being part of the search algorithm, so they are very important.

On page content optimisation using your target keywords also needs to be in place prior to launch. That is checking that your website text mentions your keywords. Again it’s important to remember that when you create future content these keywords should be utilised. Note the words “used” & “utilised,” not “over-used” or “spammed repeatedly.”

If you are replacing an old website, it is vital to ensure your links redirect to the new website so old Google listings are not lost. This is something your developers will need to do for you.

OK so the website is thoroughly checked, tested, your SEO is done and it’s ready to go live. Hurrah. As soon as it is actually live just double check the email forms and payment gateways, you can’t be too careful.

The natural reaction now is to shout and scream to the world to check out your new website. Post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and, Google+. Run a Google Adwords campaign, email your customers, write to your suppliers, call your prospects and tell the neighbour’s cat.

All good things to do and very sensible (except maybe telling the neighbour’s cat!) but hold off just for a moment if possible.

A soft launch, which where you ask a few carefully selected contacts to review your website before you announce it to the world, is a sensible precaution. Hopefully with all the testing and checking, everything is OK but if there is a glaring error then it’s better that its discovered by a trusted friend than by a potential customer.

Once you have received positive feedback from your inner circle only then is it time to announce the website to the whole world.

Remember that Rome was not built in a day and just because you don’t have a flood of orders on day one does not mean the website has failed. Like anything else in business, websites take time, hard work and lots and lots of marketing. But following this simple check list should reduce problems and help make your new website a success.

For further information on how to successfully sell online book your place at one of our FREE Seminars and learn how to make ecommerce work for your business!

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Nigel Wilkinson

Nigel is the Managing Director of WNW Digital. In addition to his business interests he is married to movement teacher Michelle, the father of teenage twins, an avid Networker, a Social Media commentator, a keen golfer and football supporter. He is also an active member of Exmouth Chamber of Commerce, being Chairman from 2009 – 2011. You can contact him on 01392 349580.

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