So this is it, the big day!
Your website that you have lovingly crafted with the help of your trusty web development team is about to go live.
Any minute now, the training wheels will be coming off and this business investment will be turned over to you to control.
Do’s and Don’ts for a Smooth Handover
DO: Ensure the developer has a backup of the site
Upon handover, most web developers will keep a copy of the website that is handed over in order to ensure that they’ve fulfilled their payment criteria.
This is a great asset for you because you know that should something go wrong – you are able to effectively ‘reset’ things to how they were when you first got let loose on the website.
Make sure that your developer does have this backup and see how long they are going to keep hold of it for (some developers will only keep this for say 30 days) and also enquire about potential costs to restore the site from backup should the worst happen and the site gets corrupted or irrecoverably damaged.
DO: Ensure that there is some kind of follow up support available from the developer
It’s obvious that most issues with using and updating your website will happen immediately after the website is released.
In much the same way that most road accidents happen quite soon after you pass your test and go for a drive on your own, once the training wheels are off everything seems different and you will often forget some of the training that you probably did before the website was released to you.
That’s why it’s important to have some support once the site is released – and why we released the free 30 days support we offer to anyone who’s website we build.
In this time, those niggly questions which allow you to get the most from your site can get answered, and you can get used to using your website on your own knowing there is some support there should you need it.
Make sure your web developer offers some kind of support – even if it’s paid support – you will need it especially in the early stages.
DON’T: Go changing everything now that you can
Content management is a beautiful thing.
But I can tell you from experience it can be a curse when as a developer, you spend hours crafting a well thought-out and effective website, only to see giant red and yellow wording appear across the middle of the homepage just after releasing the website to the owner (true story).
If you are going to make changes, make ‘tweaks’ – alter wording, add new pages, that kind of thing as any developer worth their salt would have set the website up to achieve the results you are looking for – if not immediately then in the near future.
Of course, it’s your website and you can do what you want with it, but try and do it in the spirit of the website you’ve paid for an expert to create.
I wouldn’t go and fit a set of monster truck wheels to my new Lexus just because I have the right tool – it’s not going to help the car do anything more and would probably cause more issues in the long run.
DON’T: Change anything unless you’ve taken a quick backup of the item you are about to amend
One of the most common customer service queries we receive is the “I’ve changed something on XX page and it’s not worked out too well and I have changed my mind and want to change it back. Please can you help?” query.
There is a simple way to combat this which will save you £100’s – before you look to change the content of a page or post (for example), take a copy. S
imply highlight all of the content (click and drag or press Ctrl+A/ Cmd+A) and paste it into a non-rich text editor – something like Notepad on a PC (textmate on Mac).
These types of editor will not add any formatting tags into the content and so will leave it as it was when you copied it out of the website – unlike Microsoft word for instance.
Now, when you edit the page and something goes wrong, you can simply copy and paste from your mini backup and try again.
DO: Use your marketing prowess to get some initial visitors to the website.
‘Build it and they will come’ is a phrase once used often – it’s now totally out-dated.
Websites now are being built at a phenomenal rate and are harder to find than ever – so you will need to generate some traffic to your website especially in the early stages.
Whether that be by adding the new address to a business card, letting your existing customers know that you’ve got a/ re-released your website, telling family and friends – whatever it takes, you need to work hard to generate that initial traffic because you need to show Google just how effective that site is whilst it’s initial boost is active (it’s widely accepted that Google boosts new websites initially in order to get an initial feel for how it is setup to handle the potential traffic to it. From this info, it decides it’s initial ranking…).
Make the most of it!
Getting the website to release is only part of the job.
The work really starts when the site is released, but by making sure you have the right support and backups in place, you alleviate some of the worries you will have in the early stages of managing your own website.
Then, by making the most of any initial Google uncertainty (boost) in the early stages, you are able to help positively effect the traffic to the site in future and will be laying some solid foundations for the future growth of the website.
That future growth should be considered and in the style of the rest of the site to avoid it’s appearance being negatively effected, so take some time to plan changes and try and ‘tweak’ rather than wholesale change where you can.
With great power comes great responsibility – Enjoy your journey onto the web!