Designed a website that’s ready to go live? Sure it is 100% complete? Let’s find out!
At the end of this post, we’ll be sharing:
- Website Launch Trello board that you can use as a template.
- Website Launch Checklist in PDF format if you prefer it that way.
Let us begin with the ones that I think are most important and are often missed out by many.
Harden the Security
Protect Website Against Spam
Configure an SEO Plugin
Add Google Analytics Code
In one of our previous posts, I listed five plugins that we install and configure on all websites we build.
All the above items in the checklist are important. Protecting your website from security attacks and spammers helps you protect your content and reputation online. The number of websites being hacked is increasing day-by-day. Make sure yours is not the next!
SEO part from the list above has a great scope. Even if this might not be in the agreement or scope of your work, you can take care of the basic SEO.
Be sure to install analytics scripts for the live domain. If you’re building a website for a client, of course do this if that is in your agreement and you will be the one who will maintain the website.
Check all Permalinks
Add XML Sitemap
Title & Meta Tags of all important pages
The Yoast SEO plugin will quickly help you add a sitemap for the website, and a title, meta tags and descriptions for all the important pages on your website.
Add Facebook Share Image
Add Twitter Share Image
These are the images that appear in the snippets when someone will share the website on social media. Again, Yoast SEO plugin will help with this. Let us take a look at some social media optimizations with Yoast SEO. Quick and easy things such as these are great wins!
SSL Certificate for the Website
SSL Certificate is must have on every website in 2018. Make sure the website is on HTTPS and has green padlock on all pages.
Add a Retina Logo
If not already done in the building process, be sure to upload a Favicon and a Retina version of the logo. Favicons act as an identity when the user has a number of tabs opened, while a retina logo makes your brand shine on HD devices.
Allow Search Engine Indexing
Very often while a website is being built, we turn off search engine indexing. Be sure to turn it on if you want the website to be indexed by Google and other search engines likewise.
Submit Website to Google
Even though, Google finds all websites automatically, you can submit a website to Google using the webmaster tools so that it gets found faster.
Review Cross Browser Compatibility
Test Website on Different Devices
There are tools like Responsinator which can help in the process. But I recommend you to test and experience it personally on at least one touch device to get the feel and experience. You also need to be sure to test in different operating systems (iOS / Android) as well.
Check for Broken Links
In the development process, we change links and pages very often. Make sure all your links are up-to-date. Free tools like Xenu will help.
You can also use Google Chrome extensions like
- Broken Link Checker
- A plugin called Broken Link Checker that helps detect broken links, missing images, non-working redirects, etc. on all pages and posts.
Optimize Images on the Website
Compressing images helps in keeping your website lightweight, whereas a proper resolution will make sure the image looks great on all devices. Below are three WordPress plugins that I can recommend for optimizing images automatically.
Check Grammar and Spelling
Proofread Content on all Pages
Content plays an important role in a website’s success online. Along with relevancy, it is important to take care of spellings and grammar. This ensures a better user experience and a good reputation online. I would recommend you to use the following tools as per your needs.
Update the Admin Email Address
I have seen websites where comments are not approved or replied to for months together. This often happens when the admin no longer uses the email ID or the one entered in the website is wrong. For many similar good reasons, be sure the Admin Email Address set in the WordPress settings is correct.
Remove Unwanted Plugins, Images, etc.
Remove all Unwanted Pages/Posts
Remove WordPress Post Revisions
In the development phase, a website goes through a number of trails and revisions. It is a good idea to remove unused pages, posts, images and WordPress revisions.
Check all Forms on the Website
It is important to check all forms on your website and ensure they work as expected. I have seen some websites going live with nonfunctional forms. As a result, visitors were annoyed as website owner never got back to them.
Furthermore, in order to ensure the forms get submitted correctly and reaches inbox, it’s a good practice to implement SMTP for sending emails. Here are couple of plugins that can help:
Check SEO and Overall Grades with Free Online Tools
Site loading speed plays an important role in ranking. Users too hate slow loading websites. Below are some tools that help you test performance of your website.
Similarly, you will need to use tools that help you watch on a few SEO factors you might have missed out earlier.
Here are a few tools that you can use
Just a work of caution: don’t let the report confuse you. Sometimes it might be not 100% accurate and relevant for your website. We scan our websites through this tool just to get the idea of things that we can improve.
Check Product, Media and Image Licensing
Like we’ve mentioned above, a website is made with a lot of images, media and plugins that make it complete. Just make sure you are using the licensed version of all of them and give due credits wherever necessary.
Take Backup of Website
Now, is the time for the most favorite one for me – Backups. I have worked with many clients who break their website and request a backup. So, be sure you take one right before you launch the website.
Ask your friends or colleagues to scan through and test your website. They will be happy to help. Usually, as we work on a website for a long time, a fresh mind points out many different things that we often miss. Additionally if you ask them to record the video while browsing the website, I’m sure you will find many interesting things that you never thought of.
Once done, I am sure you’ll be proud to launch a website that has almost everything to call it Complete.
Need a copy of this checklist to manage the website you are working on? You can download that now and share it with your team members. Download Website Launch Checklist!
We also have a Website launch Checklist Public board on Trello, that you can copy, customize and use it as per your plan. Not sure how you can copy the board and use it for yourself? You can refer to a quick Gif that will help you copy the Trello board.
I am sure many of you will agree on the checklist I just shared. Do you have a checklist of your own? Please feel free to share it in the comments below.
And yes, keep coming back for more… As we’ll keep updating this post as and when we come across an important factor. 🙂