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launchWell it’s been eight long weeks in the making, but now finally here we are at the end of our series on building your site.

Last week we took a quick glance at the process of taking the finished design and writing the code to make it a real live Web site. This week, we take that site and launch it.

What Does “Launching” a Site Mean?

We mentioned the term “development environment” or “dev area” last week – a private little corner of the internet where your site gets built without the general public being able to find it. Launching a site simply involves taking what’s been built and moving it over to its permanent home, where it will be open to the world.

At this step in the process, as before in the design and development stages, the business owner does not have a lot of responsibility. The Web shop who’s built the site will handle the launch for you.

If you had a site already, and the new site is a replacement, it’s a good idea to get a copy of the old site saved somewhere. That might be on your desktop (be sure you’re backing up your hard drive regularly), or in a cloud service like Dropbox or Amazon S3. The goal is to have something you can get back up online quickly, just in case something goes horribly wrong with the rollout of the new site. Your Web shop will be able to create this backup for you.

Once the backup is in hand, your Web vendor will transfer everything from the dev area to your live site. That includes moving all the relevant files, importing any databases involved, and updating all the settings and links. Again, fear not: this is the job of your Web shop, not for the business owner to worry about!

Test, Test, Test – Then Test Some More

After the site is launched, it’s imperative to perform some tests to make sure that everything is running smoothly. Here is where you the client can once again be very helpful. Click through the site to make sure the links all work, all the images are displaying correctly, all the contact forms behave as they should, and so on.

Tell your developer about any problems you find! Your developer will be going through this process as well, but it’s always good to have another set of eyes on the case.

That’s a Wrap

In summary, here is the overall process from start to finish:

  1. Determine the need for a site
  2. Define online marketing goals
  3. Create content
  4. Map out site’s architecture
  5. Design site
  6. Build site in testing environment
  7. Launch site!

Hopefully this series of posts has been informative and helpful. It’s important to understand what you’re getting into when you start a Web site, and important to understand what your Web vendor will be providing – and what they should be providing!

Photo Credit: jurvetson via Compfight cc

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