Once your redesign is completed and thoroughly tested, a day and time will be set for relaunch. Typically, launches will be scheduled to take place during off-peak hours or days to avoid too much traffic causing complications or finding problems with the site. If your site traffic dips in the early hours of Wednesday and Thursday, it’s probably best to launch during that time.
When you’re ready to launch, the new design will be copied over to the live site from the staging one—or, if you are switching your CMS, traffic will be redirected from the current site to the new server where the design is completed. It may only take a few minutes, but once this step is completed, your redesign will be live!
However, a relaunch isn’t as easy as “set it and forget it.” Over the next few days, you’ll need to spend as much time as possible listening to complaints, concerns, or questions that come in. You may hear nothing but praise, but you will likely receive a few questions, both from visitors and those who use your site internally. Keep a log of these, and try to resolve them as quickly as you can.
Inevitably, there will probably be a great idea or feature that you missed or forgot about, and want to add to the design as quickly as possible. That’s fine—it seems to happen to everyone! Let your designer know, and ask when they can work any additions into their schedule. As long as it’s not critical, you can go ahead and publicize your new design at this point.
Here are a few ideas for drawing attention to the redesign (and potentially getting some traffic and links out of it):
- Announce the new look on your social media profiles
- Send an email to your subscribers inviting them to visit, perhaps with a limited time discount or coupon code
- Write up a “behind the scenes” blog post about the process and motivation behind it
- Write and send out a press release about the redesign
- Contact your local news stations (best if you are a local business, and the website is an extension of your business/serves an important purpose)
- Directly email anyone in your industry who may be interested in covering the relaunch
- Do something in celebration of the relaunch, ex. a special offer, a party, a giveaway
Again, keep in mind that you will need to listen to feedback, monitor your site performance, and resolve any issues during this time. No relaunch ever goes perfectly, no matter how hard you and your team may try, so keep an open mind and do what you can to identify and remove any problems before they get larger or attract unnecessary attention.
With your new look launched and the celebration underway, let’s explore some of the final steps you’ll need to take on your journey to a new and improved website. In chapter 8, we’ll talk about how you can make the most of your redesign by further optimizing individual elements, while chapter 9 will cover some common problems, questions, and issues, and offer ways you can respond to them. Read on for more!