Guide

Set up a small business website

Test and launch your website

Once you design and develop your website, you will have to carry out testing to make sure that it is ready to go live. These processes are known as 'implementation'. You will go through several phases during the implementation process.

Provide staff training

When you are getting your website ready for launch, you will need to train your staff on relevant procedures and maintenance tasks. You should encourage staff involvement and feedback, as staff buy-in can make or break a technology project.

You should also consider setting up a cross-departmental taskforce to manage the implementation process. It will help with staff buy-in and help ensure the website is compatible with other business systems - for example your accounts package or customer database.

Carry out system testing

Before putting the website live, you need to test it sufficiently. Poor testing or no testing is extremely risky. Errors that appear later can be expensive to correct - and may damage your business' reputation.

The main purpose of testing is to assess your website's:

  • usability
  • accessibility
  • functionality

Testing should also look at the response times experienced by users and verify how the site functions under peak loads. It is also useful to see how easily users can access and navigate through the site across different platforms. See more on best practice in web design.

Plan the launch of your website

Decide whether to have a soft launch to existing customers or go public right away to as wide an audience as possible. Ahead of the launch, you will also need to plan:

  • How you will market the site - both offline and online?
  • Who will maintain the site - will you do it in-house or outsource the maintenance?
  • Will your staff need any additional training to maintain the site?
  • Who will manage customer feedback and any online orders?

Promote your website and engage with online customers

When you launch the site, you need to encourage existing customers to use it. Ensure that you promote the web address in your marketing material and that the website is accessible through search engines. Use search marketing techniques like search engine optimisation and pay-per-click and paid search advertising.

See also how to develop a digital marketing plan.