The Website Launch Checklist: Essential Checks to Make

May 20, 2018
The Website Launch Checklist: Essential Checks to Make

Things to Review Before Going Live

Launching a new website is always exciting – you’ve put so much effort into its development and the world is going to see it soon! Obviously, you think your website is flawless but don’t get carried away – your product requires a thorough test before and after it goes live. Find a comprehensive website launch plan template before you proceed with its release.

Here are the main points that should be included in your checklist for launching a new website:

  • • Content and Search Engine Optimization;
  • • Design;
  • • Analytics;
  • • Website Browser Testing;
  • • Pre-Launch Checks;
  • • Day of Launch Testing;
  • • Post-Launch Testing.
These are essential actions that you should take. Don’t be afraid – it’s not as scary and hard as it sounds. Follow the steps below to successfully launch a website and make a splash!

Content and Search Engine Optimization Check

Let’s start with the content. This is the first thing you should do when following your “How to launch a new website checklist”. Take some time to review all your website content and make sure everything looks good and works properly (there should be no broken texts, images or videos). Run a spell-check to see if there are typos or other errors. Remember that this website represents your business and any spelling or grammatical errors will hardly make users think your company is reliable. Here is the list of small content checks to make so that you do not miss anything:

  • • Formatting (paragraphs, headers etc.);
  • • Copyright date;
  • • Company contact information;
  • • Media files (all images and videos are in right places and displayed properly);
  • • Rights to all content (make sure everything is licensed);

Content and Search Engine Optimization Check

Once you checked all the content on your website, you can move to the search engine optimization part. If you think that SEO is only about proper meta tags, sitemap, robots and URLs, you are wrong. This part includes much more than you could expect! So, what SEO points should be included into a website launch list?

  • 1. The “Coming soon” page- This is the very page that will speak for your brand and bring you leads. It takes search engines a while to rank a new website, so start optimizing your “Coming Soon” page to save time. This page should include all essential information that will help users see who you are and what you do.
  • 2. Create social media profiles- Social media platforms are great for attracting leads and presenting your brand to the world. The larger social media community you create the more people will be aware of your website launch.
  • 3. Prepare at least 10-15 blog posts- Content sells, and the better content you have the more traffic it will bring to your website. Besides, web crawlers will visit your website and you should give them a lot of high-quality content.
  • 4. Optimize all pages- Make sure each page of your website is optimized and has proper meta tags, URLs, headers and subheaders.
  • 5. Consider guest blogging- When you have a lot interesting content to share, you should try guest blogging. Search for websites that offer guest blogging opportunities and start generating traffic to your site.

Design Testing

When going through your "What makes a good website" checklist, you will definitely see good design mentioned as one of the core features, and it’s true. Design as well as content is what makes users decide whether or not they want to deal with your company.
The first thing to do on this stage is to ensure that the final version of the product corresponds to the approved mock-ups. If everything is good here, you can go forward and do the following:

  • • Check website pages compatibility across all web browsers and devices;
  • • Check HTML/CSS. CSS must be optimized across all pages;
  • • Favicon is displayed properly.
Most likely it will take a while before you test everything, but it’s worth doing. Your website must be pixel perfect. It must be easy to navigate and browse. The more tests you run, the fewer errors there will be.

Analytics Check

Analytics is everything and it requires attention to every detail. What you need to do is to set up everything properly so that you have correct records from the very beginning. Create an account in Google Analytics (GA) and add GA code to your website’s configuration code. Please note that adding GA tracking code may vary depending on your content management system configuration. Once you are done, you are ready to start tracking traffic to your website.

Analytics Check

Website Browser and Device Testing

The most common browsers today are Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, and Mozilla Firefox. It’s necessary to test your website compatibility with these browsers before going live. If your product works properly in Google Chrome it doesn’t mean the situation will be the same with Internet Explorer. You should also make sure your website works well on all devices (especially, if your product has responsive design). As most people use mobile devices for web surfing, you should guarantee them excellent user experience on their smartphone or tablet (obviously, besides desktop). What are the main points to check?

  • • Code validation (HTML and CSS);
  • • Performance across all browsers and platforms;
  • • Mobile compatibility;
  • • User interface;
  • • Behavior (ensure users will face any difficulties errors).

Website Browser and Device Testing

All these things will give you an opportunity to find browser compatibility issues and fix them before your website is released. To save time and more, the process of testing automated, you can use special cross browser testing software such as BrowserStack, Litmus, Multibrowser, Sauce Labs, Browser Sandbox, and others.
Your main responsibility on this stage is to make sure all users get the same experience across all browsers and devices. However, before you start design testing, ask yourself whether you need to support all browsers. For instance, there are a lot of companies who do not support Internet Explorer as traffic to their website from this browser is very poor. Analyze Google Analytics data and decide whether you need to support everything.

Final Pre-Launch Checklist

So, you are finally at the finish line! All major tests have been completed and now it’s time for the last checklist. Your main goal here is to make sure you haven’t missed anything and that you covered all the points that have been previously mentioned. If you feel like there is anything missing then feel free to check it as many times as you need to, it never hurts! Just as a reminder here are some things to double check and some additional tips on how to test a website before launch:

  • • Content;
  • • SEO;
  • • Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools;
  • • Web browser compatibility;
  • • Device compatibility;
  • • SSL certificate (this is security issue that needs to be considered).
Oh, we almost forgot! Don’t forget to check that your website meets legal requirements. This is a very important thing to pay attention to. Ensure your website meets its legal obligations and has all the necessary information such as the privacy policy and terms of use. Hire a specialist who will write all these legal terms. It will be a one-time investment that will prevent you from serious legal issues in future. It’s much better to be safe than sorry.

Day of Launch

The day has come! Stressful months of development, brainstorming and testing are over – you are launching your website! What an exciting event! You have been racking your brains trying to figure out how to launch a website with minimum errors. However, if you thinks you can relax now, you are wrong!
Stay focused on the process. Most likely something will go wrong, so you have to be sure that errors will be fixed as soon as possible. Don’t get nervous, just keep calm and watch the process.
As the leader, you create the mood in your team. It all depends on you whether your team will be focused or lost and stressed out. Be confident and everything will be great!

It’s Alive!

Finally! It’s time to say “We did it!” and breathe out all the website release stress you and your team have been experiencing lately. You definitely did a good job, and deserve to have a drink.
It can take up to 48 hours for your website to become live. Once it’s all done, there is some work for you to do:

  • • Ensure that Google Analytics is collecting data;
  • • Check search console configuration;
  • • Use Webmaster Tools to request “fetch as Google” and “render” to have search engine index your website faster.
All these steps are to be taken in case there are no urgent fixes to make. If something went seriously wrong, put all your effort into fixing the problem and then move to easy after-release checks.

We hope all these tips will help you to launch a website and successfully present it to the world.

Be sure to check back every week for great new NIKLEX blog articles.

Subscribe and receive regularly your portion of useful articles for internet-business development!