When launching a website design there are many final touches that need to be done to make sure it is ready for the web. Not just the small visual corrections or even usability testing that should be done, I'm talking about automated website processes, creating site maps and other things that give the website the best chance in life in the big world of the Internet.
Site Map XML
First things first, get your site index and crawled. When you're at the point to go live and ready for the rest of the world to search for your content, make sure that you generate a XML site map and have it index by all the major search engines.
This can be done by various different plugins if you're using a CMS like WordPress or Joomla.
Yoast appears on just about every WordPress website that we've built or have worked with.
XML Sitemaps for Joomla is an excellent plugin in the Joomla space that does everything you need for XML sitemaps.
Once you have your sitemap, it is a quick and easy step to submit this to Google console to ensure that it knows what URLs it should be checking and crawling on a regular basis.
We've seen sometimes indexed and crawled within minutes of submitting sitemaps to Google.
Make sure you have Google Analytics or another third party stats program so you can check, track and follow all of the search trends and traffic that makes it to your website.
Google Webmaster Tools
Submit your website to Google Webmaster Tools. Google Webmaster Tools will not only allow you to submit your XML sitemap that you have created for your website but it will also show and track crawl errors that you may have on your site over a period of time. If you're site gets hacked and you get alert or warning messages that your website is insecure then this is also where you go to get that alert message removed from your website.
This is one if the little things that I like to do personally. I like having a nicely formatted RSS feed of all the content and information that is on the website. From here you can do what ever you like with the RSS feed.
Auto Twitter and Facebook
Twitter and Facebook have third party options that allow you to auto push content to both the networks. It is just one of those little time savers to help push your content out to all of the networks.
Stress Test Server or Hosting Environment
This is a rather important test and technically should be done well before you deploy or launch your website design. Using tools and third party services you can test to see whether or not the server will withstand large amounts of traffic and also find out the limits of the server.
Content Ready for the Month
It is a good idea to have content in the form of blogs, Tweets and Facebook posts all ready to go for post launch. God know you'll be busily testing and tweaking the website post launch and having content to engage your users at an early stage all ready to go for a month is a fantastic idea!
Just before you launch your website it might be a good idea to build up some anticipation. A little bit of pre marketing to get a few people signed up to newsletters, Twitter and Facebook will mean you will have a small fan base when you are ready to launch your website.
Site Speed and Optimisation
Finally, make sure your code is all clean, optimised and ready to go. This should be done well before launch but make sure it is checked again for best performance before launch.
Did you remember to do that little Favicon? Sometimes we forget the little tiny things and having a nice Favicon to replace the default Joomla one adds that little extra touch in personalising the website. We like to use http://www.favicon.cc/ to convert our images to proper icon files.
Hopefully these short tips and tricks will give you and idea of a few things to do when you launch a website. Of course this list can keep going and going but make sure that these steps are done will ensure a good and successful launch.