Launching a New Website? Here’s What Not to Do

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By Dimitry Karloff

Launching a new website is relatively easy these days. Content management systems like WordPress make it a fairly simple task, thanks to drag & drop functionality. But while it is not that difficult to build a professional-looking website, there are many things that could go wrong, and with so many details to get right, it’s easy to make mistakes that could hamper your site’s success.

Here are the most common pitfalls that you must avoid when launching your new website.

Rushing the Launch

It’s tempting to want to get your site live as soon as possible, but launching too soon can backfire. Building a quality website takes time. Resist the urge to cut corners and rush the launch before all the pieces are in place. Taking the time to thoroughly test and fine-tune your site will pay off in the long run. Launching prematurely could damage your site’s credibility if it’s buggy or incomplete. If you have installed plugins, for example, thoroughly test them on different operating systems and browsers to make sure they work as expected.

Not Choosing the Right Platform

Your website’s backend platform serves as its foundation. This makes choosing the right one crucial. Select a content management system like WordPress or framework tailored to your site’s purpose and scale. Open source platforms like WordPress and Joomla are popular for their flexibility, while Drupal excels at complex sites. If you are building an ecommerce site, opt for platforms like Shopify or Magento. The wrong platform can limit functionality and create needless headaches down the road.

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Neglecting SEO

Many new sites launch without considering search engine optimization (SEO). But neglecting SEO from the start can stunt your growth. Optimizing your site for search helps people find your content through engines like Google. Implement SEO best practices during development, like keyword research, site architecture improvements, generating inbound links, and producing search-friendly content. Bear in mind that SEO is an ongoing process, not just a launch checklist item.

Overlooking Mobile Optimization

Today’s web users access sites on multiple devices, with a huge percentage via mobile. Your website should provide an excellent user experience regardless of device. Yet many sites still lack responsive designs or load poorly on phones. Create a mobile-friendly site by using a responsive layout, minimizing large files, and testing across devices. Google also favors mobile-optimized sites in rankings. Don’t lose traffic by overlooking mobile users.

Not Building an Email List

Email marketing remains an effective way to reach your audience. But you need a list to deploy email campaigns. Make signup forms prominent on your site to start growing your mailing list. Offer an incentive like a discount code or exclusive content in exchange for emails. Just don’t make signups mandatory or overly intrusive. Also, ensure your forms comply with GDPR and CAN-SPAM Act regulations if applicable. Use a service like MailChimp to manage your email lists and campaigns.

Skipping Site Backup Plans

No one anticipates their site going down, but you should still prepare for the worst. Put backup systems in place so you can quickly restore your site in an emergency. Choose a reliable web host that offers automatic daily backups. Also, install a plugin like UpdraftPlus to do regular manual backups. Store backups off-site as well. Having current backups ready enables you to minimally disrupt visitors if disaster strikes.

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Not Optimizing Website Speed

Site speed impacts everything from visitor experience to SEO. 53% of mobile users abandon sites that take over 3 seconds to load. Make speed optimization standard by minifying code, compressing images, using a content delivery network, limiting redirects, and eliminating heavy plugins. Test your site’s speed regularly and address slowdowns promptly. A fast site engages visitors longer.

Launching with Typos or Errors

Mistakes on a live site undermine your brand’s professionalism. Comb through all copy multiple times to catch typos, broken links, misspelled names, and other errors. Don’t solely rely on spellcheckers. Have both team members and objective outsiders proofread the site and test functionality before launch. Don’t cut corners on quality assurance. Resist launching in a hurry without allowing proper time to polish the site.

Forgetting About Post-Launch Marketing

The work doesn’t stop once your site goes live. Many sites fail to gain traction because owners didn’t plan post-launch marketing. Determine how you’ll drive traffic, generate leads, and convert visitors after launch. Create social media pages and begin engaging followers pre-launch. Develop a blog content calendar. Have PPC and SEO campaigns ready. Add calls-to-action across your site. Don’t leave the success of your new site up to chance.

Not Seeking Input from Others

It’s easy to become myopic when heads-down building a website. Broaden your perspective by seeking input from both team members and objective outsiders pre-launch. Fresh eyes may spot issues or have optimization suggestions you overlooked while deep in the weeds. Listen to feedback and make constructive changes. The more refined your site is before launch day, the smoother the rollout will be.

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Launching and then Leaving it Alone

An effective website requires ongoing maintenance and fresh content. Don’t fall into the trap of viewing launch day as the finish line. Continually add new blog posts, videos, articles, and other content to your site. Stay on top of plugin and core updates. Monitor web traffic and analytics for insights to improve the site. Launching your website is really just the beginning of an ongoing process of refinement and enhancement.

Work with a Web Developer

If all of this pushes you outside your comfort zone, consider working with a professional website developer. That will be less stressful for you, but make sure to budget for the additional cost.

A new website represents a major investment of both time and money. Avoid undermining that investment by sidestepping critical steps in your haste to get the site live. Patience and diligence in launching will pay dividends down the road. Keep these common mistakes in mind, and your new site will be off to a running start.