Lessons Learned: How to Launch Your New Website
Most of the time we are so excited to get something new and shiny that we forget that the old did provide value, holds history, and credibility. This is the same for your Web site. Don’t we want to preserve those qualities and carry them over to the new? Of course. If you said no, stop reading.
Before you go launching your new Web site, ask your SEO and web development firm(s) if the following has been done before you flip that switch. If your SEO or web development firm says no or “what are you talking about”, STOP RIGHT NOW. CALL US IMMEDIATELY.
Checklist before you launch:
1. Tracking: Make sure all tracking codes are in place and have been tested on the new site. Missing a few days of tracking could mean missing a few days of knowing how the new Web site impacted visitor behavior and sales.
2. Redirect URLs: If your old site has a good history and has built up some good inbound links to interior pages, or even if it hasn’t and you just have a few inbound links – you still want to make sure you are preserving them when you move to the new site. Make sure old site URLs are mapped correctly so that search engines are notified and pages that are indexed can be appropriately redirected. If you don’t do this and the new site has a different URL structure, any old pages that were indexed in the search engines will send back a nice 404 error, not to mention you may have lost a few new customers.
3. Marketing: Do you have years of vanity domains that you used for marketing? Do you have landing pages that current online marketing or other offline marketing sends traffic too? Make sure these pages are not archived when the new site launches. Make a checklist (in addition to this one) that lists out all of these pages and domains, make sure you to notify your current SEO or web development company of these pages so that they can be moved seamlessly without worry of lost traffic or conversions.
4. Customer Database Management: Very very very very important. I remember when FoodTV and Allrecipes launched their new Web sites. I had my recipe box filled, sure I hadn’t been back in a couple of months but I used my profile and “favorite recipes” box a lot. I went back one day and they said my account didn’t exist. Imagine how upset I was, I had years of recipes that I had collected and without any regard for my feelings they just wiped them all away. They might as well have taken a baseball bat to their brand because that is how I felt about them. So “lesson learned” make sure you transfer all customer information over to any new databases, etc. Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. Just because your data isn’t as clean as it should be, it is still data and you should hire someone or assign someone to take on that responsibility of organizing it. If your web development company says “let’s blow it up and start all over,” – DON’T LISTEN. Preserving customer information is vital and can save you from having to find a boat load of new customers because you decided to break up with your existing ones by changing the locks on the door. Your customer is your biggest asset, don’t forget that.
If you’d like consultation on any of the above, we are happy to help contact Liberty Interactive Marketing today.