When we launch a website, we do all that we can to make sure the website goes live without a hitch. We spend a number of hours going through checklists and checking them twice. So we thought we’d share some of what we do during this process so you’d have an appreciation of what goes into it.
Hiccup-free Email Transition
Whenever domains and/or hosting changes are made, there is a risk that pre-existing email accounts might get lost in the shuffle and disconnected from the email server. We now go in and find out what the MX (mail exchange) records need to be set to and make sure that if the name server settings change, these records get updated as well.
For every website we launch, we keep daily backups for a month so that we never risk losing a website for any reason. When we launch a site, we make sure that these backups are set up and working correctly.
Links, Links, Links
It is easy when taking a website from a production server to a live server to have some broken links in the process. We double-check all links across the website to make sure that everything is pointing where it should be.
When we build a website, we attempt to keep our code clean and to a minimum, but sometimes during the process of revisions and changes in functionality and discovering new needs, things get left sitting around that aren’t necessary for the final product. At launch, we go in and remove unused code and plugins, etc. to keep your website as lean as possible so that it performs well.
If a website has eCommerce on it, we do our best to make sure all the payment gateway settings are correct, but sometimes the only way to make certain that a product purchase will go smoothly is to test it by making an actual purchase (and not just a sandbox purchase). We’ve started creating a product that costs $.01 and going through the entire purchase process to make sure it all works as it should (and we don’t even ask you to refund the penny).
Browser and Device Testing
It is extremely important to us that your website function correctly in all modern browser and mobile devices. We test in Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and on an iPad and iPhone. And then we check them all again.
Contact Forms (and other forms)
The goal is for people to take action on your website, and one of the big calls to action is to encourage people to contact you. We make sure that the forms that provide this source of communication are working correctly and going to the right email addresses.
Let Search Engines See It
While we are building a website, we hide it from search engines so they don’t index incomplete information or any filler text we might have in there temporarily. When we take it live, we invite the search engines to index it so that you will move up on Google as quickly as possible.
When we move your website to a live server, we make some adjustments to a file called .htaccess that increases performance dramatically for the site. We also set up something called Adaptive Images that resizes and caches smaller images for mobile devices so that your website loads faster for phones.
Redirect Old Google Results to New Web Pages
If you have a previous website and Google has indexed your pages, you don’t want people getting 404 pages when they click Google results that point to your old website. So we set up redirects to point those to the correct page on your new website, thus protecting your valuable SEO ranking.
When your website needs updates, we want to know so that we can always keep it current. We also want to know if the server goes down so that the hosting company can be contacted and hopefully get the website back up and running ASAP. We use a few tools that alert us to these events and allow us to provide you the best service and to keep your website up-to-date.