If you recently saw that we’ve given our logo a little facelift, you might have suspected that we were about to go on a larger journey — one that encompasses several impressive assets, not the least of which is a brand-new website.
If you did have such a suspicion, you are correct! Though she’s been known to win us work and impress interviewees, it’s time to part ways with looklisten.com as we know her, and expand into capabilities lists, manifestos and designs — for the moment — unknown. And in the spirit of showing our work (and taking our own advice), we want to take you down this road with us.
As is always our first step, we turned our lens inward and had our own Connected Cohorts? conversations, aligning teams on the intended goals, outcomes and audiences we want to target. Now we’ve moved on to tackling the below list, among many design and copy tasks.
Website Launch Best Practices
If a website launches and no one knows about it, does it even make an impact? We say no. Let your audiences and your competition know what’s coming — perhaps in a blog post and newsletter — to drum up excitement, anticipation and awareness.
Bring it Together
You’re launching a website, but it’s likely you’re unveiling brand elements as well. Make sure these design touches are reflected across your web presence at the same time. That means updating social profiles and banners, email signatures, business cards and collateral, and any external signage.
Mind the SEO
Before launching your brand-new site, make sure you take what was so great about the previous one with you. Identify the top-performing content (based on traffic, rankings, link popularity, etc.) and migrate it over, and/or create redirects. As part of this process, be sure to update title tags and meta descriptions to reflect the key phrase, further shoring up SEO value on the new site.
ADA All the Way
We’re an agency that believes in an internet for everyone. We only make ADA-compliant sites, including our own. So first things first is the hierarchy of the pages of the site. Ensuring the use of semantic HTML with a proper structure is the foundation for an accessible and successful website. Once it has structure, it’s imperative that the content of your website is communicable across several mediums and to various levels of ability. Use ARIA tools and alternate text to provide textual context to screen readers for visual elements and validate font size and color contrast for differing visual capability. Taking even these simple steps to make your website accessible will make for a better user experience for all and provide performance and SEO benefits as a byproduct.
Me First and the Internal Launch
When launching your own website (or any site), the internal teams and stakeholders are an oft-forgotten audience, but are just as important as your prospects and customers. Launch internally via a staging site to reduce new-website shock, and give everyone a chance to work through unexpected interactions or missing pieces. For a bit of an incentive to explore, make it a game for teams to find anomalies/bugs in the site, or questions that the site couldn’t answer for any of your audiences. The team with the most “found” items gets to redo the website! Or a fun coffee outing.
Timing is Everything
When it’s finally time to push your site out to the world, you might think any old time will do. Incorrect. Don’t launch on a Friday, or a day before a holiday, when a needed fix could be delayed for hours or days. Similarly, make sure you’ve at least soft-launched well before any event that will require use of the site.
We’ll have more for you on how to best handle a site post-launch, but don’t forget to shoot your current clients a line letting them know you’ve launched a beautiful, innovative site. They just might be inspired to reach out about what sites are in their future.