Launching a website feels great! There’s a tremendous sense of accomplishment when you’ve approved the designs, scoped the functionality, written all the content, and it’s finally time to flip the switch. The reality is, a lot of work goes into launching a website and it’s not as instantaneous as just “flipping a switch”. From technical and design considerations, to content, SEO and branding, a lot of moving parts need to be tracked to get your website launched without a hitch.
Here at SiteCrafting, we have an internal checklist that we call “The Perfect Launch”. For us, success happens not when the sales department brings in a new client, but when that website is complete and launches smoothly. So here are some things from our own quality assurance test plans and items we work with our clients to check for before the go live moment.
Aside from making sure the content looks good, you also want to make sure that it’s functional and optimized. Forms need to be tested, images should have alt text, pages should have meta descriptions.
- Web copy has been proofread and edited
- Content is properly formatted with good use of headings, sub-headings, lists, etc.
- Any placeholder content has been removed or replaced with real content
- Company contact info is easily accessible throughout the website
- Images are properly displaying and aren’t broken
- Videos are properly embedded and play across devices
Pretend you’re a customer visiting your site. Follow the links that should lead you to your goal. Did you get there? Can you sign up for your newsletter? Make sure the customer journey doesn’t encounter any roadblocks.
- Forms submissions and notifications have been tested
- Navigation links are working properly and linking to the correct page
- Links in page copy are directing to the proper page or external website
- Social sharing features are working properly
- Feeds are working (RSS, Social Media)
- Brand logo links to the homepage
- Integrations with 3rd party tools work properly (CRM, Email Platform, E-commerce, etc)
Having analytics set up prior to launch is vital for tracking the traffic and performance of your new site. The data provided by allows you to see how your new site is performing and helps you identify any areas that may need more attention. We can walk you through how to set up an account and explain what your traffic numbers mean.
- Analytics tracking codes are installed and tested
- Google Webmaster Tools is enabled
- Google Webmaster Tools, Analytics & AdWords have been properly linked if applicable
- Ecommerce tracking is enabled, if applicable
- Event tracking, goals and funnel paths are set up, if applicable
A website has to look beautiful on more than your personal computer. With multiple browsers and operating systems in use, your site must display well on as many devices as possible.
- Website is compatible across platforms if responsive (Phones, Tablets, Desktops)
- Website is compatible across browsers (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer)
- Favicon is in place
- Page not Found (404) and search page templates are in place
Optimizing your website for search engines makes it easier for your customers to find you. Search engines routinely crawl your site and measure a number of factors when ranking their results.
- 301 redirects have been created for any URLs that changed from the old site to the new site
- All images have alt tags
- Unique Title Tags are written for each page (fewer than 70 characters and include keywords)
- Unique Meta Descriptions are written for each page (fewer than 156 characters and include keywords)
- Page content integrates important keywords without “stuffing” (fewer than 10 keywords on a page)
- Website has an XML sitemap that has been submitted to Google Webmaster tools
- Page URLs reflect site structure and support keyword strategy
SiteCrafting Blog: SEO Made Easy
Once a site is ready for launch, keeping it up and running is the next big step. Having reliable website hosting is vital to the health of your site, and having a registrar you trust ensures your website never goes down because someone forgot to renew your domain name(s). All these elements should be in place before you go live.
- Hosting contract is in place
- Contact info for domain registrar OR login info for domain management
Your content is ready, SEO is in place, analytics are set up and you’re ready for launch. At this point you need open lines of communication between your internal team and your web development team. Launching a website isn’t instantaneous; DNS can take 24-48 hours to propagate. You want a team in place to monitor how the launch rolls out.
- Launch date set internally
- Web developer notified of launch date
- Launch date confirmed by web developer
- Website team available to monitor launch
This list may seem intimidating, but with each item you check off, you’ll be one step closer to launching successfully and celebrating the success of your new website. If you get stuck along the way, give us a call and we’ll guide you through the process.
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