Time flies. It seems like only yesterday that you set your launch date, and now it’s quickly approaching. Maybe you’ve been so busy with important pre-launch to-do lists and driving high-converting traffic to your website that you’ve lost track of time. But with launch day just around the corner, it’s time to get everything ready ahead of time to take the pressure off of yourself during launch week. In this post, you’ll learn a handful of important things you need to do at least one week before launch so you can spend launch week on more important things: interacting with readers, visitors, and fixing small bugs that inevitably will come up. The website launch checklist is Part Four of a series of articles about launching your website or blog to maximize the impact of everything you do.
- Part 1: How to Launch Your Website for Instant Success: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide
- Part 2: How to Drive High Converting Traffic to Your Website Before Launch (Without Spending a Dime)
- Bonus Podcast Summary: How to Launch Your Blog or Website With a Bang
- Part 3: Do These 3 Crucial Exercises Daily Before You Launch Your Website
1. Don’t Forget to Test EverythingWhen I launched Unsettle, I had four opt-in forms scattered around my site. One was below my blog posts, one in my sidebar, and two on my About page. In the flurry of activity surrounding my launch, I didn’t realize that three of the four opt-in forms were not working. People could enter their name and email address, but when they pressed enter it went into a void. I didn’t know this until a reader told me, and it undoubtedly lost me dozens (if not hundreds) of subscribers and fans. So before you launch, test everything. Test your links, your opt-in forms, and your emails. Make sure that your social media buttons direct readers to the right places. Sign up for your own autoresponder sequence (the series of emails somebody gets when they sign up for your email list) and make sure it works. Don’t leave any stones unturned.
2. Get Your Site Looking SpiffyAfter signing up for hosting and loading WordPress and signing up for an email service provider, most of us think of web design as the next step. But I don’t address this until now in the series for a reason: Many people trip up on web design and it use it as an excuse to procrastinate. Yes, web design is important. If you land on a web page that uses every color ever established and has flashing ads everywhere, you’re probably going to leave. Even if the subject resonates with you, a cheap-looking website design makes people not take you very seriously. But an effective design doesn’t need a lot of time and energy. Keep it simple and just make sure your design clearly communicates your message and helps you reach your goal (getting visitors to subscribe to your email list). There are a few ways to reach these objectives with your design:
Hire a web designer
- Designers are expensive
- Without a sizeable audience, you don’t know what you need in a design yet
- You haven’t started your website so you can’t effectively brand yourself yet
- It can be a lengthy process.
Use a free theme and personalize it yourself
Use a paid theme
- A feature box. Frequent users of the internet naturally filter out sidebars. When you land on your favorite blog you probably don’t notice the sidebar. Your readers are the same, so sidebar opt-in forms are inefficient. Enter the feature box – a box above your content and below your header containing a sign-up form or an opt-in offer. My feature box increased my conversions from 2-3% (sidebar) to over 9%. That means that almost 10% of the people who land on my homepage organically opt-in to my list.
- A logo or header image: This doesn’t have to be difficult to make, but it’s a good idea to have a logo or a header image to not only brand yourself but also look professional and put-together. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and I’d recommend that it’s simple, straightforward, and clean. You can create a logo for free on Squarespace.
- A place to provide content: Whether it’s written, audio, or video, other than the two things above, this is all your website needs at first.
3. Take the Pressure Off of Yourself for Launch DayLaunch day is a big day. You’ll be busy checking your stats, responding to comments and social media posts, and promoting your launch posts. So take the pressure off of yourself by scheduling everything you possibly can. Hopefully you’ve already been on social media ramping up the buzz for your launch, but you’ll also need to blast out your blog posts and news of your launch. Spend a few minutes scheduling as much as possible: Use Buffer to schedule Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest posts about your launch:
- On Twitter, schedule a post teaser to entice people to visit your blog to read the entire article and some Tweets about your launch
- On Facebook, schedule another teaser post (with a bit more detail) to post to your Facebook page and a Facebook post telling people you’re live
- On Pinterest, a Pin about your opt-in offer and another about your launch post.
- One 2-3 days prior to launch to remind your subscribers of your launch date. In this email, include some reading about your topic (maybe a suggested blog post from a popular blog on your topic, or a book) to get your subscribers thinking about your topic in advance of your launch.
- One on launch day, between 6:00 and 9:00 AM to let your subscribers know that you’re now live and direct them to your launch post. Be sure to include a call-to-action and at the end of the email. Ask them to Tweet out your launch post, tell one friend about your website, or share it on Facebook.