Hey baby cakes!
This post is the second in a 2-parter about websites. If you missed the first post in the series – Website 101: How to Buy a Domain, Pick a host and Content Management System – make sure you sign up for the free Hey Awesome Girl community to check it out. In it I share some recommended website hosts, pricing and links to resources for getting started.
Today we're going over how to build, test, launch your site – and what you need to know before you launch.
Because this experience will be different based on the host and content management system (CMS) you’re using, this post will focus more on the strategies and tactics that hold true for all platforms – And the workflow I use when creating a new site.
As a note, before you start actually building your website, I recommend using website wireframes as a guide to build your pages. If you're not sure what website wireframes are or how to get started with them – check on their free community resource: How to Wireframe Your Website.
But wireframes aside, when I’m starting a new website – no matter the platform – these are the steps that I usually take to build the pages.
Build Your Site:
Depending on your CMS, you may also have to build or adjust the mobile and tablet versions of your site as you build your desktop version. Or depending on your product or target audience, your main build may be the mobile version of your site.
Because I use responsive templates as a basis for building my websites, I typically check and adjust my mobile and tablet versions during the “Test” phase of development. However, it’s really best practice to check and adjust them during the build phase.
Test Your Site:
The point of the testing phase of your website development process is to make sure things work as you intended. Here’s what I do during the test phase of website development:
You won’t be able to test for every scenario in which your website will be seen but you can use some information to let you know which scenarios you should test for.
For example, I NEVER test my personal site on Internet Explorer. By checking Chrome, Safari and Firefox, I can make sure my website works on more than 70% of browsers worldwide without having to worry about the extra coding and updates often needed to get things to work “just right” on Internet Explorer.
Also, I prioritize checking the experience on mobile phones, because I know the audience for my “Hey Awesome Girl” brand is more tech-savvy/tech-interested and mobile-focused. Additionally, a big part of my marketing strategy is social media which is very mobile-driven.
Launch Your Site:
Once you have worked as many kinks out of your site as possible, next you need to LAUNCH IT!
Sometimes this is just hitting the “PUBLISH” button on your site. Other times you may need to reconfigure DNS records and point your domain name to your new website.
When it comes to launching your site, remember this: Done is better than perfect. There will ALWAYS be something you want to change or adjust on your website, don’t let that stop you from launching.
Your website is supposed to function as a 24/7 tool to help your digital business be more profitable. Think of it as an actual assistant. Having an active assistant that is good is better for your business than not having an assistant at all. So don’t let the idea of things being “perfect” (which is unattainable) keep you from getting things done.
Need more help with your website? Check out my resources this week that go with this blog post: