Checklist For Launching New Websites

Checklist For Launching New Websites

14th May 2012

If you are developing a new website then you must recognize that in the last fase of building there are always a lot of small things that have to be taken care of. Because several points are critical and may not be forgotten when a site goes live I’ve made a small checklist to see if everything on a site or a shop is working correctly before launch.

The original checklist is in Dutch and can be found here with additional information.

If you have any points that aren’t on the list but should be, please share it in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or via email. So without further ado, the checklist:

* Is Google Analytics set or some other service to measure statistics.

* Is the 404 page working, with the correct 404 header status and is the content of the page correct to help visitors further on the website.

* Set Google Analytics to measure 404 errors so you can check and fix these later on.

* Set goals in Google Analytics.

* Is the non-www version redirected to the www or vice versa, you could do this for example with .htaccess.

* Is there a XML sitemap.

* Is Google Webmaster Tools connected with the site, if so, connect the XML sitemap.

* If there is an internal search engine, test it to check if the results are shown correctly and the navigation to browse the results is functioning properly.

* Also if there is a internal search engine, set Google Analytics to measure the search queries.

* Did you build a shop? Make sure the Analytics e-commerce module is set.

* Measure downloads (PDF, ZIPs, etc.) with Google Analytics.

* Test internal and external links on the site, in the case of internal links check if there are references to test domains, for example a common thing in WordPress.

* Check the website for left dummy content (lorem ipsum).

* Test thoroughly in the well known browsers so that you are sure that the website works correct always and everywhere. Browsers: Firefox, Internet Explorer 7, 8, 9 and higher, Google Chrome, Safari and Opera. It’s even good to check in a text browser to see if there are any issues.

* Check the site in different screen resolutions (1600×1200,1280×1024,1152×864,1024×768), use Google Labs Browser Size to check how the site is shown for most visitors.

* Check all forms on the site like contact forms, comments and the possibility to add tags.

* In the case of a shop check the possibility to add ratings and reviews, tags, check the product compare tool, customer account management, wish list and of course check the whole checkout including payment and also check if the email with the order is correct.

* Check if the share buttons from Twitter, Facebook, etc. are working and also check the tell-a-friend option.

* Check if every form has the correct mandatory fields and if the form is send to the correct receiver.

* Is there a option to subscribe for a newsletter? Check if the data is saved correctly.

* Check if there is a favicon.

* Check if there is a robots.txt set.

* Validate HTML and CSS and correct any mistakes.

* Remove HTML and CSS comments if present.

* Make a specific stylesheet for print.

* Check alt-tags for images.

* Check if URL’s are friendly.

* Check duplicate content and fix where necessary.

* Check use of headings (H1, H2, H3).

* Check pagetitles and descriptions.

* If you use HTML5 elements like audio and video make sure you have a fallback in place for browsers who do not recognize these elements.

* Check selected state / mouseover of menu and links and breadcrumbs.

* Check if present if the language switch is working as intended.

* Set 301 redirects from the old site to the new site.

* Check copyright, disclaimer / privacy statement.

* Make sure that an RSS icon is placed in the URL  of the browser. Normally browsers don’t show these icons anymore but users can have extensions installed to see them.

* Present on social networks? Make sure you link to them from the site.

* If you have a mobile versions of the website or shop, check it on known devices like the iPhone, iPad, and devices with Android.

* Check the load time of the site.

* Check security.

* If necessary check if AdWords codes are in place.

* Check in Webmaster Tools if geotargeting is set appropriately, also check if crawl-rate is set to automatic and check if there are no accidental URL removals.

* Download a backup of the site before going live.


Written By
Michel Wester is the owner of the Dutch website, started in 2004. WebSonic mainly focuses on news about Google, Twitter, and Facebook. Next to the news the site has a lot of tips for PC users and starting web developers.
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