In the first part of our series on building a new website, we looked at the initial planning process; in the second part, we covered issues around designing and building it. In this last part, we take a look at what you need to do when your website goes live.
An SSL certificate is essential for all websites now days as most browsers will flag a website as insecure if it doesn’t have one. Also, Google favours websites that are HTTPS secure so you don’t want to lose out on organic search rankings by not having one. If you are going to purchase one then this will be the time to do so as you will need to spend some time verifying and installing the certificate. If you plan to use a free Let’s Encrypt certificate, you will have to do that once the site is live because it requires the DNS to be detectable on the hosting account in order to request one.
The moment everyone has been waiting for has arrived. It’s time to put the website live and show it off to the world. Time for one last sanity check and make a list of all the tasks you’re going to need to do once it’s live. There will be people that need to be informed and jobs that need to be done. Make sure you’re prepared for all of this before switching it live so you’re not rushing and potentially making mistakes. It’s also not a good idea to launch a site late afternoon on a Friday in case there are unexpected problems over the weekend and you’re away somewhere camping with no internet access. Sounds silly but it really does need to be considered, just to be safe!
Like mentioned above, there are a lot of tasks still to be done once the site has gone live. SEO is an ongoing job and there will definitely be work to be done once the site has just gone live. For example, checking URL redirects are working, detecting broken links, submitting the sitemap, checking the robot.txt and setting up Google/Bing Search Console. One thing that is very important is to enable indexing if you have disabled it during development. A new site that can’t be indexed is a huge problem.
To keep the website performing well after launch you need to have a routine process in place to check and fix things like site speed, 404s, security and platform updates. Contact forms should also be tested routinely as they can sometimes have issues and the last thing you want is lost enquiries. All these checks should be done on a monthly basis, at least.
So that’s our tried and tested web build process and we’re pretty proud of it. Of course, it’s not completely the same because we can’t reveal all of our secrets. So, you will have to fill in the gaps to create your own awesome process. Hopefully this gives you a place to start from and reassurance that you’re doing things the right way.
If you have any questions about your process or want advice on anything mentioned in the article, feel free to leave a comment below or contact us directly.