Launch day is a big milestone and can be stressful. In our work, we launch websites all the time and have a defined process that takes the stress away. We work closely together as we make your website live. Here are some of the planning and preparation steps that can make your launch day as uneventful and smooth as possible.
In the week leading up to launch, comb through the website preparing the workflows that will be easily engaged the day of launch. We usually re-establish communication flows and coordinate task delegation for our customers again before launch. Everyone knows their role and who’s managing each portion of the process.
Then we tackle our pre-launch to-do list:
- Delete placeholder content and products in the store, along with any test orders, carts, or coupons
- Check to make sure the content management system (CMS) is up to date
- Enable the e-commerce payment processor and any shipping APIs
- Enable any 3rd party integrations, moving them out of Test mode and into Live
- Setup URL redirects for the new site, including permanent 301 redirects for common hierarchies that may have changed, such as store product URL organization
- Submit the new sitemap to be crawled by search engines
- Confirm development related configuration tasks like Backups, HTTAccess, repository commits, etc. (We also run through our own internal site launch checklist at this point)
- If applicable, provide access to the old site using password protection.
- With the final server configurations and updating DNS settings, the site enters the propagation phase. Here the networks around the country pickup the new site and the launch process moves into the final testing phase.
- Any features on the newly launched site will be tested. Some tasks may include checking contact forms, making real e-commerce orders, and testing any 3rd party integrations.
Even with an extensive process, unforeseen stuff can happen. A new security patch could be released, a module could need updating. Or maybe there needs to be a change in the way a page functions. In any case, having a detailed process will leave you prepared to respond quickly to issues that may arise in a calm and efficient manner.
All of this together creates a launch workflow that has worked over and over again to successfully launch websites. We think that a great launch day is a well planned and calm day.