Creating and launching a business website is a huge undertaking. Many businesses spend tons of money and time to build their website. It is a necessity for any business to have a functional website and it puts your product at the fingertips of potentially anyone across the globe. It extends your brand reach and authenticates your business. Once it is complete, you probably want to make it public as soon as possible and share your beautiful creation with the world! However, it is still worthwhile to wait a day or two to make sure it is truly ready. There are a few tricks of the trade that will keep your customers coming back for more. Before you push “Go Live” button, read these helpful tips, tricks and checklists to ensure your website is 100% ready.
1) DESIGN & BRANDING
You need to ask yourself, “Does my website match my business’s brand?”. Oftentimes, simple things such as font style and color schemes are overlooked. You want to create a brand and a style that is unique to your company and conveys the voice you want your audience to hear. The design and branding on your website should align with your product or service. When a visitor comes to your site, they should have a very clear understanding of who you are as a brand and what it is that you offer.
2) USER EXPERIENCE & FUNCTIONALITY
Visitors often browse the homepage of businesses in just a few short seconds and decide whether to stay and continue or click off. Optimizing your site for client engagement is key to getting new business. Potential customers can be easily lost if they visit a website that they can’t use. Be concise when building your homepage and create a balance between text and images. A rule of thumb for text: Your homepage should not exceed 400 words of text. Another tip: Visitors should be easily able to find a way to contact you without having to search for it. Set up your contact form and place it where it is easy for users to contact you. Be sure the form is set up to send to the correct email account so that you receive the information. Social media links are another great way for visitors to contact and engage with you. Be sure these are built in to your site and are easily accessible.
Your business website must work on every device and every web browser. Screen resolutions and browser settings vary from provider to provider so your site should be viewable on desktops, Macs, PCs, smartphones and tablets. Is your customer using Google Chrome or Safari? Does he/she have an iPhone or a Samsung? To ensure browser and mobile device compatibility, your web developer must go beyond aesthetics to make sure your website is viewable on all devices.
Now that you have your business website ready to go, is it properly prepared to rank in Google searches? Your site has a much better chance of ranking higher if you ensure that the search engines can index it properly. This way, your customers will be able to find you if they do an online search. Once they find you at the top of Google, they can call you and visit your website, which ultimately leads to sales! Setting up your on-page SEO means you have meta tags and descriptions for each page in place so the search engines know exactly what your website is all about. You can install the free and user-friendly SEO plugin, Yoast, if your site is built using WordPress.
5) CHECK AND RE-CHECK
Here is a helpful checklist to go through before launching your business website:
-Preview your site from top to bottom and page by page. Be sure to clink and check every link.
-Review all the settings in the backend
-Have a friend or colleague view your site. A fresh pair of eyes is good for catching things that you might not see yourself.
-Check your site using various web browsers to see if there are any major problems or issues. You can input your site’s domain name into the URL field (or staging domain name since it will still be in Beta at this point most likely). Also check your website using a tablet and smartphone to make sure the site is responsive and mobile friendly.
-Give your site some tests to check for loading time and other speed elements (Pingdom or PageSpeed Insights are good tools for this). Launchlist is also a great free pre-launch resource to use.