In the world of website development, the final step before launching a new website is often referred to as the “Pre-flight” phase. This crucial stage is the last opportunity to make final changes, conduct checks, and ensure everything is in order before the website goes public. It’s the moment when all the hard work comes together, and the anticipation of the launch builds.
What is the Pre-flight Phase?
The Pre-flight phase is typically a week-long process that happens just before the website is launched. It’s the final step in the website creation process, marking the transition from project development to post-project phase. After this point, the website is considered signed off, and any further changes may incur additional costs.
Key Components of the Pre-flight Phase
During the Pre-flight phase, several key tasks are undertaken to ensure the website is ready for launch. These include:
- Database Search and Replace: This involves updating the database with the new domain information and making any final changes to the content.
- SSL and Domain Configuration: The IT team works on configuring the SSL for secure connections and setting up the domain requirements.
- CMS Configuration: Changes are made to the Content Management System (CMS) configuration to take advantage of the new domain.
- User Access: Ensuring that all necessary users have access to the website and its backend.
- Redirect Checks: The client checks that all redirects are in place and functioning correctly.
- Cookie Compliance: Ensuring the website is compliant with cookie laws and regulations.
- Third-Party Tool Checks: The client checks that third-party tools, such as Google Tag Manager (GTM), are functioning as expected.
- Contracts: Ensuring ongoing contracts are in place for hosting, support and maintenance/retainers.
It’s important to note that this phase can also uncover new requirements, which may extend the timeline if additional work is needed.
The Expected Outcome
The primary goal of the Pre-flight phase is to ensure everyone involved in the project is on the same page and ready to launch the website. It’s about tying up loose ends, double-checking everything, and making sure the website is ready to make its debut to the world.
Best Practices for a Successful Pre-flight
While each Pre-flight phase will be unique depending on the specifics of the website and the team involved, there are a few best practices that can help ensure a successful Pre-flight:
- Clear Communication: Keep all stakeholders informed about the progress of the Pre-flight phase and any issues that arise.
- Thorough Testing: Test all aspects of the website, including functionality, load times, and user experience.
- Attention to Detail: Small details matter. Check all content for spelling and grammar errors, ensure all links work, and verify that all images load correctly.
- Plan for Contingencies: Be prepared for the possibility of new requirements emerging during the Pre-flight phase and have a plan in place to address them.
In conclusion, the Pre-flight phase is a critical part of the website development process. It’s the final step that ensures a smooth launch and a website that’s ready to impress its visitors. By understanding and effectively managing the Pre-flight phase, you can help ensure the success of your website launch and the satisfaction of your client.