5 Ways to Streamline Your Next Launch August 10, 2015 Launching a new WordPress website site is a long and complex process. You need to worry about all the standard development requirements, include your customer’s specific needs, plan how to execute them, and still get the work done on time and on budget. Of course, let’s not forget having to troubleshoot any issues that come up afterward. At Carbon60, we launch some of the largest and busiest WordPress websites around. We take pride in helping our development partners “launch right the first time”. Since even the highest profile company website launches can fail, we wanted to offer some expert advice based on how we do things so you can have the blast off your customers expect. Planning Easily the most overlooked is having a comprehensive plan that you can rely on through to a successful launch. What platform will you be using? Are there integration requirements? How many revisions are built into the plan? What hosting service should we use? How does the website perform at scale, under load? How will we know it’s secure? These are all key questions that you and your team need answers to before you can start working on the project. Then there is HubSpot’s 57 point checklist for site launches, adding a comprehensive to-do list for developers, but leaves the logistics of the migration plan to you. Make sure you have enough time to migrate to and test with your hosting provider. Give yourself enough time for the additional work (as described below) that may be required to optimize your code for prime time. The Team You need a cross functional team of experts that are ready at the drop of a hat in response to any issues that come up. Your team needs to be ready to assist with software issues, hosting configuration, data migration and even platform specific issues. More importantly, your team needs to be responsive around-the-clock until things are running smooth in production. Nothing is more frustrating to an agency (and their customers) than knowing there was a problem that could have been dealt with quickly if you were able to reach the right team member. At Carbon60 we back up our developer partners with a 4 hour response time guarantee (24x7x365 of course) to greatly speed up fixes and guarantee you have the support you need when you need it most (or if you need to get some sleep!). Real World Testing Your launch is nearly finished. You have put the final fit and finish on it and have polished that user interface to a professional shine. The customers love it, and all visible bugs have been fixed. It’s time to put your code to the test with a professional load test simulation. Select a testing platform that can duplicate a “worst-case scenario” spike of real-world traffic, high levels of concurrent users, and security breaches – try testing 600% of normal traffic. Some of our sites have over a billion visitors per month so it’s critical to get the testing right. We use the expertise of our technicians and tools such as neustar & Akamai as part of our Performance and Capacity Management process in order to find weak spots. Merging Changes A big challenge for agile development teams, and the source of launch stress, is the code integration process between local machine development, staging hosting, and production hosting. How do changes migrate between these instances of the launch system? How are these environments locked down, controlled, and governed? What does the end user see? And how do you keep everyone testing on the latest version? As a developer, you likely have a firm grip on these concepts and use Continuous Integration tools – but does your hosting provider? Having DevOps experts as part of your hosting service means they understand software lifecycle management and are available to take the load off of you for environment management. This will reduce logistical issues and bugs before they crop up and, more importantly, increase your efficiency in prep for the big day. End-to-End Hosting Too often we see a fresh service, app, or website about to launch that looks (and works) great during development. The client loves the product but after going live they experience outages, slow downs, user interface lag, or security breaches. When this happens, the blame often goes to the design agency for giving them a lemon of a product, when in reality the right hosting provider would have made all the difference. For those enterprise projects where failure is not an option, it’s important to have an end-to-end hosting provider who provides 100% accountability through all 5 layers of the hosting solution stack. This means your end users will have a secure and high performance experience with your product. Looking for a new hosting partner? We have heard the horror stories about problematic launches from prospective customers first hand. In many cases their launch day problems could have been mitigated by improved planning in the beginning, better support teams that will react quickly, superior testing, and a more capable hosting provider. Carbon60’s Enterprise WordPress-as-a-Service solution is designed for businesses, which have advanced requirements in performance, reliability, and security. Our developer friendly environment enables agility and speed of innovation for your projects, while our WordPress experts provide the ongoing uptime and aftercare support services. We provide WordPress designers a premium hosting alternative at an affordable price over the top competition. Contact our Partners Team to learn about our solution and pricing.