So you’ve decided to create a website for your business and you’re ready to launch all of your hard work into the universe.
Before you hit publish or take down your coming soon page, run through this check list first to make sure you’re covering every base you can.
I’ve made many mistakes when launching my first website years ago, so this post has some essential tasks you need to complete before you launch.
This is the same checklist I run through on every website design project here at The Fourth House Co, and it’s made every launch smooth as fuck.
Check all of your links, spelling and grammar.
Please Please Please, check your links!
Nothing confuses or makes people (me included) more frustrated than a broken link. I’m no angel; I’ve launched with a broken link or two, and once I found out I was amazingly frustrated. You can check your links by clicking on or hovering over every single one, or you can use this Chrome extension like Check My Links.
Read all of your copy out loud:
This is something that I recommend you get in the habit of doing with anything that you write.
Especially when you’re writing website content. Since many of us write while talking in our heads, we of course think it sounds good but sometimes when you read it out loud it doesn’t sound right.
If you’re reading your content and you think it needs some CPR, check out this post here: Writing Website Copy That Converts.
Check out your site on a mobile device
Making sure your website is responsive on mobile HAS to be on your website pre-launch checklist.
Bust out your iPhone and iPad, and pull up your site. Naturally move through the pages as if you were a first time visitor, and make sure nothing is out of place. If you find things you need to fix, fix them now so you can keep moving.
Everyone is viewing pretty much everything on their phones nowadays, so things have to look good on smaller screens.
Those three tasks above are ESSENTIAL on any website pre-launch checklist. Those things have to get done – no exceptions.
Optimize for Search Engines
If you’re gonna track your marketing efforts to see what’s working and what isn’t, you’re gonna need Google Analytics to help you out.
Take the time now during pre-launch to set up your Google Analytics account and hook it up to your site. You should also take care of your ALT tags for your images, page descriptions, and page titles.
If you’re completely clueless about SEO, no worries. Check out Neil Patel’s article: SEO Made Easy: A Step By Step Guide.
Create hype around your launch on social media and in your newsletter
Don’t forget to tell people about this new internet adventure you’re embarking on!
Here are some ideas to help get people excited:
- You can do a Instagram Live or Story talking about how excited you are for people to see your new site.
- Throw in some behind the scenes videos of you getting everything ready.
- Host a giveaway of one of your products, a mini session, or a miniature version of your service.
The list goes on. Get creative! And while you’re at it, you can use this pre-launch time to start snagging people’s emails with a free download.
Have a margarita!
Your website will never be PERFECT. Neither will your blog posts, emails, etc.
It can be damn good, but never perfect.
So don’t sit with that site unpublished because you’re scared that you’ve missed something. Don’t let this pre-launch phase get you second guessing yourself, your site, your services, etc. Done is always better than perfect.
Launch that sucker and get some feedback from your subscribers (that’s what I did!), friends, family, and your social media followers. They already like you and your content, so they’ll be happy to poke around for you.
But don’t forget to celebrate! Get that margarita and live it up!
Upload a few blog posts and create an editorial calendar
If getting SEO and Pinterest traffic is important to your business, now is a great time to get a few blog posts up and start sending traffic to them.
Fill them with actionable tips, solutions, recommendations, advice, etc. so visitors can walk away with something and take action.
Pre-launch is a great time to position yourself as an expert in your audience’s minds.
Once you get a few posts queued up, think about creating an editorial calendar. It’s basically a calendar where you plan out what you’re going to talk about with your audience and when.
I like talking about the same thing on both my blog and Instagram (two of the three places that I’m active on) so I can use the same content on both. By creating this calendar, you’re also setting up your content strategy at the same time.
At its bare bones, a content strategy is a plan that ties together your content to help you sell your offers, products, talk about launches, promo events, etc.
Create a social media strategy plan
First: don’t think that you have to be on every social media platform at once. Some people can do that; but for others that causes some extreme burn out.
I tried to maintain a presence on the big four: Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I realized I hated Facebook, and that I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram. Now I put my social media focus on Pinterest & Instagram. It’s much more manageable and enjoyable for me.
The point is, pick 2 or 3 platforms that you actually like being on, and commit to them!
Sign up for services like Later for Instagram or Tailwind for Instagram and Pinterest to help you schedule out posts and pins. You can also use Buffer for scheduling out tweets and Facebook posts. Get in the habit of scheduling and planning things in advance so you can stay off the content creation hamster wheel and work on your craft.
Create a Freebie + Start an Email List
If collecting emails would be beneficial to your business, creating a freebie or a free content upgrade that you can promote on social media or Pinterest is a great (and easy) way to get started.
A freebie is something you offer people in exchange for their email address. The freebie can be in the form of a helpful PDF, checklist, workbook, pricing calculator (I know a few lady accountants that use this one), spreadsheet, meal plan, etc.
Just make sure that it’s something that relates to a topic you want to be known for or already are an expert on. This will make it super easy to create and will help cement you in people’s minds as an expert.
Once you create that, sign up for a email delivery service like Mailchimp, Flodesk, Covertkit, Mailerlite, etc. I use Convertkit currently, but I’ve used all of the above ones at some point in time.
Bonus: Create a email welcome sequence
Since people are giving you their email addresses, it’s safe to say that they want to hear more about you and what you do.
That’s what an email welcome sequence is going to give them: a more focused look into who you are and what you do.
Don’t let the word “sequence” scare you off. This doesn’t have to be some super complicated or elaborate thing.
The purpose is to give them the chance to get to know you at a time when they are most engaged with you (which is right when they first sign up).
Here’s an example welcome sequence to get you thinking:
- Email 1, Day 1: They get their freebie
- Email 2, Day 1: An introduction to you, your business, what you do, and how often they will hear from you. (send this on the same day you deliver the freebie)
- Email 3, Day 3: Check-in with them to see how they like the freebie, the best ways to use it, etc. You can also give them another freebie in this email too if you want.
- Email 4, Day 6: Tell them more about your story and point them to your most popular content. Encourage them to follow you on social media.
The above emails are scheduled pretty close to one another because you want to stay top of mind for them at the beginning of yall’s relationship. The great thing is that you can set up your email delivery service to send these emails out for you automatically.
The above welcome sequence is a great starting point, and as you learn more about your audience and start focusing more on growing your list, this will change and evolve.
I hope this website pre-launch checklist/guide was helpful for you! Launching your website doesn’t have to be this scary ordeal. As long as you remember that it’ll never be perfect and changes can be made in an instant – launch with confidence and get yourself out there!
INSIDE THE THOUGHTS OF A BRAND STRATEGIST & DESIGNER
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I'm Ashleigh Keith, a creative problem solver for woman led brands that prefer to cultivate relationships instead of the perfect Instagram photo. I use my background in Psychology to develop human-centered brands for women that want to do more than just run a business - they want to make a greater impact on the world around them.
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