10 Important Things To Check Before Launching Your Business Site for the First Time
Every business needs a website. And every website needs a revamp every now and then. Whether you are starting a new business or you have other reasons for building and launching a new website, it’s essential to make sure that everything on your checklist has been ticked before you go live.
Getting it wrong can spell disaster if it can’t handle traffic, isn’t user-friendly, or if stuff isn’t working! Thankfully, it’s a simple matter of following a checklist to make sure your site is launch-ready!
Here are 10 important things to check before launching your business site for the first time. Get these right, and your launch will be a success… As will your business going forward!
1. Check and Fix Your Website Speed
A slow web page speed can (literally) chase people away from your website. The last thing you need is for your shiny new website to be losing traffic because it loads too slowly! You might be shocked to learn that over half of visitors to your website will leave if the page hasn’t fully loaded within 3 seconds!
That’s not a lot of time to work with, so it’s essential that you do everything you can to up the speed of your site. Check your page speed with website speed test tools like Google PageSpeed insights. From there, some of the things you can try include:
- Removing unnecessary plugins
- Compress all images
- Enable browser caching
- Avoid shared hosting
- Use a CDN for content
- Enabling lazy loading
2. Make Sure All Clickable Elements Work
One of the most frustrating things for a visitor is when they click on something, and it doesn’t take them where they expect to go… Or worse, it doesn’t work at all! Avoid annoying visitors by testing this upfront.
Check (and double-check) every single clickable element on your site. Whether it’s a button, a menu item, a picture, or a heading for a blog post, click it. Make sure it directs to where it’s meant to. If not, fix it. This simple step can save a lot of headaches and prevent you from creating a bad impression for some customers.
3. Optimize Images
Your images can slow your site down quite a lot. Generally, brand-new sites won’t have a lot of stuff to slow them down, but images can be one of the big culprits. Make sure each one is optimized for the web—whether you’re using company photos or pictures you downloaded from the internet, you may need to resize them for them to work best.
Also, try not to use images unless necessary. Placing irrelevant images on pages doesn’t just annoy people if they’re on your site, but it slows your site down unnecessarily. Also, don’t forget to add alt text to images that are relevant! This will boost your SEO.
4. Find Somewhere Else to Host Videos
Videos take up a huge chunk of space and memory. It’s in your best interest to host them elsewhere rather than on your own website. Use YouTube, Vimeo, or any other video hosting platform to host your videos.
Simply embed them on your website instead of uploading them. This simple step can make a huge difference to your site speed—and it’s also a good starting point for a social media presence!
5. Test Shopping Cart & Shipping
Your customers can’t buy from you if your shopping cart and shipping options aren’t working! We highly recommend buying something from yourself first if you sell products on your website.
You won’t be losing anything—the money will come back to you anyway! But this will give you an opportunity to check that the process goes seamlessly and that you actually end up getting your item in good order.
6. Submit the Site to Search Engines
Don’t forget this step! It doesn’t matter if your site doesn’t have blog posts—it still needs to rank if people search for what you’re offering. It’s a simple step, thankfully. You’ll need to create an XML sitemap and submit it to Google Search Console. It’s that easy!
7. Double-Check the Security
Security breaches can ruin a company, so you definitely need to check that your website’s security is on point. This is especially true if you’re dealing with sensitive information like credit card details or your client’s personal info.
Your web host should offer a bunch of security features, which is an excellent starting point. From there, you can install security plugins to fill in any potential gaps.
8. Make Sure It’s Backing Up
Make sure your site is backed up from the very beginning. You can’t neglect this—if your site crashes (we hope it never happens, but you never know), you need an up-to-date version of it that’s easy to restore.
Your web host should also offer site backups. Take note of this when you sign up with a host. If it’s already too late, you may want to consider other options to back your site up effectively or learn how to do it yourself on the server.
9. Set Up (and Learn) Analytics
Analytics is the data that tells you how your business and website are doing. Set it up on your website from the start, so you can track data from the very first launch campaign. If analytics sound complicated, it’s worth doing a bit of research to learn the basics. You can find amazing information on YouTube and Google and you can get an SEO certification with training short courses!
The key here is to know what your goals are. Your analytics data helps you to know if you’re reaching them, surpassing them, or not coming close. It’s a key part of a business plan, so don’t neglect it!
10. Get Friends and Family to Give It a Test Run
The final thing we highly recommend before hitting that big red launch button is to give your friends and family the opportunity to do a test run. That means getting them on the site and giving them free reign to explore—you want their feedback on how the experience was for them. You can ask them things like:
- How do you feel about the design/color?
- Was the site easy to navigate?
- Did you have any trouble finding what you were looking for?
- Do you think anything is missing?
- How fast did it load each page?
You may be surprised at some of the insights you get here! It’ll give you a good idea of how real people are going to feel when they land on your site. Fix the issues that they have, and you’ll be good to go!
About the Author
Paul Wheeler runs a web design agency that helps small businesses optimize their websites for business success. He aims to educate business owners on all things website-related on his own website, Reviews for Website Hosting.