We Have Lift-off: Coordinating the Perfect Launch for your NationBuilder Website
March 16, 2017
The big day has arrived! The hard work of web designers and coders is done, the team has poured over the content - over and over -, you’ve selected images that best represent your subject, and you think everything is ready. Some decision maker up top gives the go ahead and adrenaline rushes into your system as you turn the site settings in your nation next to the “who can see this site” from “admins” to “Everyone”.
Your site is now “live” and viewable to the public. In your excitement, you go and post it on FaceBook. But what pops up on FaceBook is some small image from the bottom of the homepage that makes no sense. Underneath is some random quote from some content. You look at the tab with your fabulous new site and instead of a cute little favicon appearing on your tab is a little boring page symbol. Your friend in Chicago pings you Gchat to tell you that even though you can see the new site, in France, only the old site is showing up. What should have been a happy day is suddenly filled with panic, embarrassment and dread. And the higher up that gave the thumbs up to go live is now on the phone screaming.
What made your killer world-class site look unfinished and amatuer? The answer is in the launch details. The many many many details. But how can you coordinate all of these details in a system as multifaceted as NationBuilder? Certainly you are not going to configure every setting in every section of the backend...especially if this is one of your first NationBuilder sites.
A successful site launch is like cooking a four-course holiday dinner for ten guests. It’s all about coordinating the timing of the various dishes, about knowing exactly when to fire up the oven, fry the pine nuts, put the water up for the rice - well, you get the idea. Similarly with a site launch, you need to plan for the fact that a domain switch can take anywhere from one to 48 hours to happen. Even after the domain switch, you still have to clear the Facebook cache using their debugger in order for the proper share image to appear. And, if you are using a font repository like Typekit for your fonts, you need to make sure the new URL is given permission or your fonts will come out all wrong. These are just a few of the “i”s that need to be dotted and the “t”s that need to be crossed. All in the right order.
But don’t worry. We have your back. We’ve done this enough times that we’ve whittled down and systematized the essentials for every site launch. And we’re sharing that with you now. We’ve made the mistakes in our many years of creating websites so that you don’t have to.
We’re happy to share with you today our “before-launch” checklist which has proved invaluable to us here for our many successful site launches. It’s just the very last steps of a site build and does not include other important processes like Quality Assurance (QA) and Site Set-Up. And it’s also for the particular types of sites that we make here at Tectonica. So feel free to copy it and edit it as you wish for you own purposes.
[Click the image to open the doc! Side note: The document is in a google sheet - which we find easiest to use across our team. If you are new to google drive and documents, we highly recommend it. If you are a google drive user you can copy the sheet for yourself and make edits, customize, etc..]
We’ve made some notes too on these various items so that hopefully everything is clear. While some of these are pretty specific to our operations, feel free to copy and modify the doc for your own purposes.
We recommend making a copy for each site that you launch. Then reviewing all the items and marking any of them that are not relevant to that project under the column “applies” as false - this will cross off that item. The order of items might also have to be changed depending on the project and its status. And sometimes there are specific tasks we need to add for specific projects or change the order of them. On our team, we then assign to the team members and mark the status as complete as tasks are completed. The great thing is that this list is fully customizable for your exact needs.
Of course, we’d love to hear from you about items that we might have missed on this list. Feel free to get in touch with us here.
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