This is where I wish this were TV instead of a blog so I could start with a deep voice saying, “previously, on the Spring Insight blog…” Instead, I will just remind you that recently, we have been discussing the steps involved in moving to a new small business website. In the first post, we chatted about the steps needed to lay the ground work. Last week, we discussed getting your content in order for your new website. This week… we are doing all those final planning bits. Next week we do all those last minute things, and we launch.
See that? Just ahead. Look! It is the light at the end of the tunnel! That day is almost here, the day you are going to put your baby website out into the world. Are you ready? Of course not. Here are those last minute steps you need to get ready.
The site seems ready but you keep noticing these niggling little things that are wrong like a gap between pictures that isn’t supposed to be there or a graphic that looks scrunched. These things are super easy to forget about and let slip. The end of the project is when you really need an issues list that you keep continuously updated with the items you need to fix.
Planning the launch
You have likely been thinking (and salivating) about the day of the launch for ages, but, have you planned for it? Yep, it does take some planning. You need to think about (and work with your developer to decide) what time of day will you be launching the site? You want it to happen during the time of the day when you get the least traffic. When is that? [Hint, your analytics can tell you.] How will people find out about the new site? Are you going to create an email blast to announce the new site? Will you do that right away or will you have a “soft launch” period where you aren’t purposefully sending people to the site so you can work out the kinks and find all of the typos?
Inputting all the text
Remember all that new content we discussed in the last post? If you are like most of us, you didn’t start typing right into your content management system (CMS). You probably used a word processing software. In that case, you have to input that text onto the website and format it correctly. That, sadly, always takes longer than you think it should. Bonus tip, if you are using Microsoft Word to write your content, DO NOT take the text directly from Word to the CMS. A colleague of mine, Melanie Spring, once tweeted that every time someone copies text directly from Word into a CMS a kitten dies. That isn’t strictly true, but what does happen is that that their “special characters” get inserted and mess up the formatting. Ever see some sentence on the web like “Then the boy said, %4″%”? That is what happens when you insert Word text directly into a CMS. Instead, create the copy in Notebook if you are on a PC or TextEdit if you are on a Mac. Love Word too much to give it up? Then at least paste it from Word into one of those programs and change it to plain text, copy out of it and then paste into your CMS. That way, no kittens need die.
You know what is the worst? Proclaiming to the world that you have a gorgeous new site that is so fantastic and having a customer come back and tell you that you wrote “to” instead of “too”. It just makes you want to hide under your desk. There is no way around that but having someone else (who hasn’t been looking at the text for months) proofread.
Next week, we launch! Ok, we discuss all the fun launch related move items.
Image above used via the Creative Commons license is by Flickr user TheMuuj