8. Launch

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Man the stations, as we press the big red button. As our previous testing will have found any discrepancies in browsers and devices, this has saved us from a lot of headaches. You don't want to launch a website then are chasing bugs and issues. That should be done prior to the launch as I wrote in-browser testing.

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One main thing to check is every link on the site. On a large site to do this manually would take quite a bit of time. That sounds like a repeatable computer thing to do, you may say. And no surprise there is software that can handle this, and one of the options is ScreamingFrog. It's free up to 500 pages, so unless a large site then that should be enough quota to cover most sites.

Open the tool and run it on your website, even if you know the site very well, it can prompt you to links that weren't working as expected.

If you are swapping over to a completely new and different platform, it's a good idea to leave the old site for a month or so. It may be that you need some feature or file from the previous site. This is a very common happening and it saves a lot of hassle if you can easily access files and features like this. Even if the site isn't directly accessible online, have a full backup of the old site and all files and databases, just in case you need something.

404 pages

If you are on a new platform, make sure that all previous page addresses are considered. It may be a case that there is content that you don't need, and it's perfectly ok to have a “This page cannot be found” technically known as a 404 page. As businesses develop, they lose some and add some different products or services over time. If you no longer sell product X, a 404 page is adequate here. If there is a product or service similar, then you should use a 301 redirect for these. Even if there is a chance that they visit or could buy a similar product, then a 301 is better than a 404 page. We normally put a search box on the 404 page, rather than a dead end for the visitor. Over time this will help you sell more products and services.

Google Search Console

Sign up for Google Search Console and make sure you can access your site. It's a tremendous free offering from Google and has sorts of useful features which help you spot any wrongdoings post-launch. The indexing is an important part, you want to make sure there that all pages are indexed that should be in the Google retrieval system. You can submit a site map through the Google Search Console admin to tell them about all your pages to get into the Google system.

Next: 9. Maintenance