Starting a new website is always a challenging experience. Even if you’ve already done it for multiple years, you might still feel nervous when hitting the big button. And sure, your confidence will grow with time. But the nagging feeling that you might be forgetting something will always be in the back of your mind.
It all comes down to a few important points though. As long as you pay attention to those, there’s not much that can go wrong. It’s a good idea to make a checklist and go through it before the big launch so that you can be sure that you’re not forgetting anything. So, here are some important basics on getting a website up and running.
1. Hosting Is Crucial
You won’t go far without good hosting. If you’ve already launched a website in the past, you may have dealt with some bad service providers already. Great hosting can make a huge difference in how smoothly everything runs.
It’s not just about finding a good balance between price and features. You also need to consider factors like uptime and support. These are not immediately obvious, and finding out that you’ve signed up for the wrong service can be devastating later on. Read reviews, do your research, and find a host that stands out from the rest.
2. A Good Domain Name
Your choice of the domain name can easily make or break the entire venture. This is not just a fancy name. It has to be something that people can easily remember and is ideally not too long. When you launch a website with a complex, long name, you can expect this to decrease the amount of traffic you receive. Sometimes by a lot.
It can be difficult to come up with something that works well though. Even if you do, the chances that it’s already taken will probably be high. You will need to spend enough time analyzing this until you can come up with something that really works.
3. Choosing a CMS
Unless you want to code everything from scratch, you’re probably going to want to use a content management system (CMS). Your website launch checklist should also include choosing a good platform to run it on. There is no default solution here. Every CMS on the market has its advantages and disadvantages.
WordPress may be the most popular with over 30% market share, but it’s far from the only choice you have available. If you’re setting up a new eCommerce site, then you’ll have even more eCommerce options to juggle. Don’t rush this decision though, as it will matter a lot in the long run.
4. Do You Need Staff?
Many types of websites can be handled by a one-person team just fine. But in some cases, you’re definitely going to need some extra hands on deck. And then there are also the kinds of sites that require heavy attention right from the start. Determining whether you’re going to need this kind of extra help or not can be difficult before the site is actually up and running.
But if you have to guess, it’s often best to err on the side of caution. Don’t hire any new people until you know for sure that you’re going to need them. And don’t enter any long-term professional relationships if you aren’t sure that they’re leading to something productive for both sides. It’s not rare to see new sites launching with dozens of employees, only to fail dramatically, leaving many people without jobs. Freelancers or contractors are sometimes the way to go. It just all depends on your site and your business.
5. Security Considerations
In this day and age, you can’t afford to be careless about the security of your website. Even if you think you’re doing everything by the books, there might still be holes left wide open for attackers to exploit. If you’re not confident in the field of digital security, you should put this in the hands of someone who understands it well enough.
The implications of improperly configured security can be devastating. Especially if the site is an eCommerce platform or something else that involves the exchange of personal information. If the attack is crafted well enough, you might not even know that anything is wrong until it’s too late! And sometimes, an attack like this can completely destroy your website and the whole business attached to it.
6. Making Sensible Changes
Changing your website over time is inevitable. But you have to do it in a way that makes sense. Don’t just make changes for change’s sake. Everything should be done in a way that builds on what you’ve already achieved. Sometimes, the changes you’re interested in will require revising existing structures and formats.
Because of this, it’s a good idea to ensure that your site is designed using modules. When you need to change something, it should ideally be as easy as swapping out one component for another. Creating a website in this manner is easier said than done though. Especially if it’s for business purposes. That’s where an expert team comes in handy.
7. Social Media Promotion and Integration
Don’t underestimate the importance of social media. This is another common mistake we see far too often, even in the social media age. You should ideally have your social media accounts set up and running before the site. If you’re going to have any social media integration, test it before the big day of your website launch. Many people can get the wrong impression if things don’t work as expected when you present your site to the world, and you only get one shot to make it right.
A Website Launch Requires Time and Resources
Predicting how well your website is going to do can be difficult. Even if you already have experience in this field, you can’t account for all factors that you’ll have to deal with. But you can certainly do a lot to protect yourself from some of the most common problems.
Make sure that you have a good host, pick a reasonable domain name, and don’t ignore the security considerations of whatever platform you’ve chosen. Don’t skip those update prompts, either – that’s one of the easiest ways to get hacked! And with enough practice, you’re going to start finding the things you should really be paying attention to.