Launching a new website is a huge undertaking with many moving parts to consider. There are bound to be unexpected issues that arise, but with the right foresight and planning, most kinks can be worked out before your website ever reaches a live audience. We've laid out five frequently overlooked site issues and how to avoid them.
1. URLs Aren't Accurate
It's important to check that all the URLs on your site are named correctly and point to the appropriate internal pages. As a rule, if a URL name is legible and clear to humans, then it will be easier for search engines to read and accurately catalogue. By making sure your URLs follow the naming conventions and are specific to the pages they represent, you'll also help ensure that organic traffic to your site is rewarded with relevant content.
If you're using a staging area to create a new site, remember to change all staging URLs to live URLs before launch. Though switching URLs means adding another item to your to-do list, the benefits of utilizing a staging area far outweigh the pitfalls. Among other benefits, building a new site in a staging area allows you to check links and ensure that pages are built and connected according to your proposed site map. Hubspot allows developers to design a fully functional website in their staging domain and create a one-to-one copy.
2. Styles Aren't Appearing Correctly
As any developer knows, each different page template requires its own styling tweaks. In other words, there's no Sisterhood-of-the-Traveling-Pants styling code that can be universally applied across templates and be expected to fit perfectly and look exceptional.
Building your site in a staging area will allow you to preview pages and edit the styling code for each individual template, so you can guarantee that everything looks as you intended before you go live with the site.
3. An SSL Code Hasn't Been Assigned
SSL codes are standard security protocol for internet communications. They establish an encrypted link between a server and a client, thus ensuring that the connection is secure and establishing trust with site visitors.
To obtain an SSL code for a new site, developers first need to submit a Certificate Signing Request (CSR). These requests can take a few days to process before the submitting party receives their unique SSL code. The SSL code then needs to be installed into the new site's server and tested before launch. Because obtaining and installing a SSL code is contingent on how fast a request processes, it's important to plan accordingly and not leave this step until the eleventh hour.
4. "Noindex" Codes Haven't Been Removed
Noindex codes are HTML meta tags that tell search engine bots to avoid indexing a certain web page. This protects the privacy of the page and ensures that it isn't stumbled upon by accident before you're ready to go live. While noindex codes are incredibly useful in the design and development phases, you'll want your site pages to be indexed once a site is active so that users can easily find your site via web searches.
There are some exceptions to the rule, however. Thank you pages that are intended to follow a submission form should retain their noindex code, so as not to allow visitors unbridled access to a piece of gated content. Adding noindex code to thank you pages also helps ensure that visitors follow your intended conversion pathways and don't arrive at pages that aren't relevant to their position in the buyer's journey.
5. Nobody's Around to Troubleshoot a Problem
Launching your new site on a Friday or right before a holiday may seem like a good idea in theory —you want to get the project done and out the door before a big break. But be wary of going live right before everyone in the office takes a hiatus. If no one's on the clock, that likely means that no one's monitoring the site or available to troubleshoot problems if they arise. Make sure to plan your site launch with a few-day cushion, so that designers and developers can monitor your site closely and make small tweaks if necessary.
For more useful website tips and best practices, download our 10 step redesign guide below.