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7 things to keep in mind when you launch your website

 

1. Redirect old URLs

To a significant extent, Google drives traffic to your website. Therefore, it's crucial that Google gets to know the new structure of your website as soon as possible

Use your web analytics tool to generate a list of the top 100 entry pages (= how people enter your site), and map these pages to the corresponding pages on the new website. You have to add these redirects in the CMS before you launch the site to make sure that people who click on old links in Google, immediately end up on the right page.

 

2. Adjust the web analytics tags

To be able to compare the results of the old and new website, It's best to transfer web analytics tags from the old site to the new one. But it's also important to add test tags to the test website.

It's possible to set a filter in Google Analytics that won't take visits to the test website into account. As soon as the website is live, make sure to verify if the analytics tags are working correctly. When you just launched your website, you don't want to lose visitor records! 

 

3. Monitor 404 errors

The first couple of hours after launching your site, visitors can encounter 404 errors (page not found). What possibly causes these errors?

  • Old links from other websites
  • Small mistakes in the redirect plan 
  • Broken links in the new website

It's important to monitor those errors constantly and almost in real time and to fix them immediately. Make sure to create a 404 page with clear layout and content. These tips can come in handy.

 

4. Conduct a performance test

A website that crashes on the day of the launch due to the high amount of visitors must be the nightmare of every webmaster. However, conducting a performance test isn't that hard. Every website has its limits when it comes to the amount of traffic. It's just important to know these limits.

Here's another tip: schedule your communication actions carefully during the first hours after the launch of your new site. Don't forget to measure the impact of the first visitors before you, for example, send mass email campaigns to make announcements.

 

5. Check for dummy content

It often happens that a website is launched, but still contains dummy content. Checking all the pages is crucial. It's even better to avoid dummy content when you're evaluating web pages and designs. Dummy content rarely represents the real content.

Content is an essential aspect of web design and user experience. From the start, try to use content you will actually publish. Read more about the risks of using dummy content.

 

6. Close and archive your old website

It's best to leave the old website on the server for a couple of weeks. Shut down the access to make sure that Google won't still index the site. Later, archive the website. How? For example as a static dump - obligated for public websites.

 

7. Choose a soft launch instead of a big bang launch

Preferably, you opt for a soft launch, and you show a beta version of your website to a small audience.  Thanks to this way of working, you can easily collect feedback and refine your website before it's launched to a larger audience.

A tool like Hotjar can be helpful. With a tool like Hotjar, you can create heat maps, record surfing behavior and analyze online form completion.

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