Testing & Launch


Allocate AMPLE time for testing.  Now re-read that last sentence.  Why?  First, there will be bugs in the code.  Second, you will want design and functional changes once you see everything together in the finished product.  Always happens.  And 3rd, there are a ton of devices and browsers that your new website must work on (and each has unique requirements).  The developers go through multiple test-review-fix cycles during System Testing and you will go through multiple test-review-modify/fix cycles during User Acceptance Testing (“UAT”).  Time must be allocated for testing, but sufficient time must be allocated to apply changes and re-test. 


With that in mind, remember that MIMIMUM testing for a website means thoroughly testing your website on

    • A desktop for all standard browsers (IE9, IE10, IE11, Safari 7 and the most recent versions of Google Chrome and Firefox).  That’s 6 browsers!

    • Tablet devices (Apple iPad2 with iOS7 Safari Browser and iPad Air with iOS8 Safari Browser).

    • Smartphones (Apple iPhone6 with iOS8 Safari Browser and Samsung Galaxy S5 with Android 4.4 “KitKat” Chrome Browser.

 

That’s 10 unique testing environments!  Each time changes are made, this cycle must be repeated.  So when it comes down to crunch time and the delivery date is in jeopardy, push the launch date rather than squeezing the testing period.  Quality first.
We find that most Higher Ed website redesign project plans omit two very important pre-launch functions. 

    • Google Analytics Testing to verify that tracking code is working and data is being collected properly in your TEST system.

    • SEO Tuning:  Just prior to launch, update XML Sitemaps, Robots.txt file and HTML Sitemap. Finalize 301 Redirect List and new destination pages.  Beacon recommends that you focus on the top 100 pages for each device that were identified during the Strategy Phase.  The rest can be mapped to your home page as a default.  All of this preserves SEO integrity.

 

Launching your new website is exciting, but it’s more than simply “pushing a button”.  There’s still work to do. Once all the files have been moved, it pays to continue the quality checks and submit modifications requests to your development team as needed.

    • Perform a sanity check on your new website.  Verify that all the features, navigation, forms, etc. are working properly.

    • Confirm tracking code is working properly in Google Analytics and data is being collected in your “live” GA installation. 

    • Verify that your top 100 pages from the previous design are redirected to appropriate pages in the new design.  Make sure SEO integrity has been maintained for pages that still rank in the search engines.  Verify that all other pages will be redirected to the home page.

    • Verify XML Sitemaps, Robots.txt file, HTML Sitemap are correct and functioning properly. 

    • Review WebMaster Tools to ensure site integrity with Google.  In other words, can Google crawl your website effectively, does it detect 404 errors (Page Not Found), etc.

 

ONE LAST THING… CELEBRATE (big time)!  You deserve it.  You should be proud!  It’s a long haul to get to this point, requiring many dedicated, hardworking people to make it happen.  Some of our Higher Ed clients have engaged their marketing team to create a “Launch Day” campaign, which have included the administration and/or very large cakes, PR announcements, collateral around campus (especially in dining halls), shirts, hats and anything else to hype the event.

 
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