A shuttle launch. Website Launch Checklist: 31 Things to Do Before Launch [+Resources]

Website Launch Checklist: 31 Things to Do Before Launch [+Resources]

Launching a website is like launching a rocket. 

You have to check everything carefully before the world is ready to see it.

Sure, it wouldn’t be a “giant leap for mankind,” but you get the idea.

Even NASA uses a checklist when launching a new rocket. 

That’s why this website launch checklist will come in handy.

Now.  

Let’s start with a simple question: 

What should I check before launching a website?

Well, all you need is a good-to-go website, a cup of whatever you like to drink, and this checklist

Are you ready?

Let’s jump right in.

Check Your Content

Content is what makes your website stand out among 1.7 billion others. That’s why you should proofread every page.

1. Make sure there are no spelling, grammatical, and factual errors.

A notepad saying: Website launch checklist: #1 Make sure there are no spelling, grammatical, and factual errors. Proofread spelling grammar accuracy

That’s one of the most important things to do before you launch a website. Yes, it will take some time, but otherwise, your site (read: you) would look unprofessional. Proofreading is essential for your content, so don’t neglect it.

Also, remember to delete any placeholder (dummy) text and images you may have forgotten. 

Here are some tools to help you out with grammar and spelling errors:

2. Keep title and content formatting consistent across all pages.

Consistency gives your website a style. Use subheaders to separate different portions of your content and apply the same format for your titles. Not only do subheaders improve your content’s readability, but they also boost your SEO.

You can visit these sites to analyze your titles:

And this one will help you with formatting them the way you want.

3. Add alternative (alt) text to your images.

Alt text helps with web accessibility for screen readers. That way your visually impaired visitors will be able to “see” the picture.  Moreover, if it doesn’t load for some reason, users will see the text.

Last but not least, alt text helps with your SEO. 

You can use these WordPress plugins to help you with that task:

4. Check your images, video, and audio files.

A tablet showing a news site with pictures. Website launch checklist #4 - check your images, video, and audio files.

Pictures and video are a necessary element on every website. Not only do they improve the visitors’ experience, but they also increase the on-page time.  

So make sure everything is at the exact place and working correctly. 

Here are some great sites to find royalty-free media:

  • Videos – Pexels. You can also embed YouTube videos if embedding is allowed. Otherwise, contact the uploader. 
  • Images – Pixabay

5. Check for plugin compatibility.

Before your new website’s launch, make sure your plugins are compatible with each other. 

Because of the wide variety of third-party plugins, sometimes they don’t get along. There could be issues between a plugin and other plugins or between a plugin and the theme you’ve chosen.

You can use these tools to check for plugin compatibility.

Website Design Checklist

Your website’s design is the first thing users will notice. It can make your visitors engage with your website, or it could be a back-button magnet. In fact, 94% of users create their first impression of a website based on web design alone.

6. Create a “Contact Us” page.

Wooden blocks, showing different types of contact. Every successful website has a "contact us" page.

More than half of users believe contact information is the most crucial element missing from a company’s website. That’s why it’s essential to have such a page. And it should be visible and easy to access.  

In case you need help, here are the most popular form builders:

7. Your website should have a responsive design.

The next item on our website launch checklist is “responsive design.” 

This means your site will look good on all devices. And since more than half of the internet traffic comes from mobile devices, responsive design is a must. 

Our checklist includes the best practices in web design, so we can’t ignore mobile-friendly and responsive design. It’s 2019, after all. 

Several tools could help with that task:

8. Browser compatibility testing checklist.

Not only do people visit your site via various devices, but they also use different browsers. According to statistics, Chrome is the most popular browser. Still, many people use Safari, Firefox, or another one.

What you need to do is check if your website displays correctly on each of them. The very least you can do is to test it yourself. Use Chrome, Safari, and Firefox (both on desktop and mobile) to make sure everything is in order.

Naturally, you can’t test every single device or browser out there. That’s why you can use these two sites to help you out. 

9. Create a custom 404 page.

Your website launch plan should include the possibility that people could land on an unexisting page. 

That could happen for several reasons, including typos and a wrong external link to your site. And you don’t want your visitors to see this:

Typical 404 not found Page

That’s why you should create a custom 404 page that could help your lost visitors find their way. 

Here are some ideas: 

  • Custom 404 Pro – with this WordPress plugin, you can redirect your lost visitors to any other page on your website. 
  • 404 Page by SeedProd – you can use this tool to create a custom “Not Found” page easily.

10. Create a favicon.

What’s a favicon? – It’s the little icon on the left of the browser tab.

Screenshot of Review 42's favicon.

Why does it matter?

Firstly, it represents your brand. 

Secondly, a favicon can help people find your site faster when checking through their bookmarks. 

Moreover, every modern and successful website has one. You don’t want your website to lag behind the competition, right?

These tools can help you create a favicon if you don’t have one already.

Functionality and Usability Testing Before Launching a New Website

Before you hit the big red launch button, go through this website testing checklist first.

11. Test the site’s usability.

If you’ve followed this website checklist so far, you already have some forms in place. 

Now it’s time to make sure they work as planned. The easiest way to do so is to check them yourself. Make sure they submit the information to the right email or corresponding database.

You can use the following tools to test your web forms:

These tools are all-around solutions, but they can also help you find out if something’s wrong with your web forms.

12. Navigation should be user-friendly, and most importantly – it should work!

A maze. Website checklist #12 Navigation should be user-friendly, and most importantly – it should work!

Next on our website checklist is navigation. 

If your visitors wander around not knowing how to reach specific content, you’re likely to lose them.

That’s why everything should be visible and easy to use, and your on-site search should work correctly. 

Also, don’t forget that your logo should link to the homepage. Users will expect that. 

To improve your navigation, you have two options:

  1. You can do your own research by allowing friends and family to navigate through your site and check for potential problems. 
  2. You can also use any of these tools to improve your site’s navigation:

13. Check if the call to action buttons work.

One of the most frustrating experiences a user could have is a non-working CTA. Before your website’s launch, make sure all your CTAs work and are linked correctly. 

Furthermore, it’s considered good practice to perform some A/B tests to choose the best design, text, and color for your CTAs.

Otherwise, you can only stare at low conversions and wonder what’s wrong. 

Here are a few simple tools that could help you create your CTAs:

SEO Checklist Before a Site’s Launch

Nothing you’ve done so far matters unless people can find your website, right?

That’s where search engine optimization kicks in.

Mechanical gears. Search engine optimization before launching a new website.

14. Install an SEO plugin.

If you were following the steps to launch a website correctly, you are already halfway there. Still, now you need to befriend Google (or any other search engine).

That’s why you have to make your website Google-friendly so that people could find it. 

SEO plugins come in handy with that. There are many out there that could get the job done, but these stand out from the rest:

15. Check for broken links.

When you are building your website, you often move things around. So, once you’re ready, check for any broken links you could’ve easily missed. This applies to both internal and external links. That way you can avoid negative user experiences. 

Naturally, we’ve got your back with a few tools to make your job easier.

16. Inspect your permalinks.

Before launching a website, check your permalinks. To improve your SEO, they have to be short and contain the main keyword. 

This is an optimized permalink – https://review42.com/snapchat-statistics/

This isn’t: https://*******.***/applications-writers/?source=post_page—————————

If you launch a website using WordPress, your checklist should include changing the permalink.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you have a post about egg recipes. Here’s what your permalink would be by default:

A screenshot with the default permalink - 15-delightful-5-minute-egg-recipes-for-busy-moms

Here’s how you should change it if your target keyword is “egg recipes.”

A screenshot of search engine optimized permalink - /egg-recipes

Doing it yourself is the best way to shorten your permalinks. You can also use the following tool, but it’s not perfect.

17. Test the overall performance of your website. 

Okay, so you’ve crafted a beautiful design, you offer quality content, and all the links are in order. 

Great! You are almost there. *a shaky finger hovering over the launch button*

Now it’s time for your website’s first test-drive. 

Keep in mind this is a crucial part of your website launch checklist

Such tests will make it easier to fix any potential issues early on. They will also prove beneficial in the long run. 

You can test your website via any of the following analytics tools.

You can use the results from these tests to improve your website’s speed and overall performance.

18. Social media integration.

A keyboard with social network keys. Website launch checklist #18 Social media integration.

Although social media shares aren’t a Google ranking factor, a correlation exists. 

If your content gets shared a lot, it will be more visible. That way there’s a better chance others will link to your site. And links are a Google ranking factor. 

So, check if your social share icons are visible and working correctly.

And you can manage your social media accounts by using any of these business solutions:

19. SEO bonus materials.

Before launching your website and Google’s spiders start crawling all over your pages, you can use these tools to do it yourself. That way, you can find any potential issues that need solving.

Take Care of the Legal Stuff

I know this sounds boring to the majority of people, but it’s a necessity.

20. Make sure you have all the proper licenses for images, video, and audio files.

We can’t bypass the copyrighted content on our website checklist. By ensuring all the proper licenses are in place, you can save yourself a ton of issues in the future. 

If you want to avoid any copyright infringement problems, you can use images and videos uploaded in the public domain. The Harvard Law School Library offers a list of websites where you can find royalty-free resources. 

Otherwise, you can check if you use a copyrighted image thanks to this website:

21. Create a Terms and Conditions/Terms of Service page.

It’s a good idea in general to have such a page. But if you are dealing with money and transactions, it’s an absolute must! 

To complete this task on your website launch checklist, you can use these free tools to create a custom Terms and Conditions page.

Still, if you want it tailored to suit your company’s needs, it’s best to hire a professional or consult a lawyer.

22. Privacy policy and GDPR compliance.

A hand holding a smartphone. The EU flag with a padlock. Steps to launch a website #22 - Privacy policy and GDPR compliance.

Having a privacy policy page is a requirement in some jurisdictions, and GDPR applies to the entire European Union. 

So, if you gather any user data and want your website to be successful in the EU, you need both a privacy page and a GDPR page. 

You can create them with the help of the following templates.

Review 42 TipYou may have to consider additional legal requirements depending on the jurisdiction where your site operates. Make sure it meets all regulatory requirements.

Why?

Well, for example, GDPR non-compliance alone could lead to a fine of up to $23 million.  

Keep Your Website Secure and Have a Backup in Place

You are almost there! The temptation to hit “launch” is almost unbearable! 

Then it dawns on you – there are six trillion reasons why cybercriminals could pose a problem for your brand new shiny website.

That’s why you need to secure it.

23. Install an anti-spam solution. 

As your website’s popularity grows, so will the amount of spam it will receive. 

Taking care of that before you launch a website will benefit you later on. 

There are many anti-spam solutions in the Web, but these two will get the job done.

24. Backup your site.

I bet you’ve heard the saying: “Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.” 

It applies in full force when launching a website.  

There are several possible scenarios which could bring your website down. That’s why you’ll want to be prepared. 

Backup your site and database(s). Fortunately, most hosting providers offer such options. In case yours doesn’t, here are two solutions that will bring your website back to life in no time:

25. Secure your website. 

Data breaches, DDoS attacks, malware – these are just a few of the nuisances you’ll have to deal with when you launch your website

You can place a checkmark on “security” in your website launch checklist by using one of the following solutions. 

26. Install an SSL certificate. 

A screenshot of a website with an SSL certificate.

The SSL certificate improves your website’s security and places that familiar padlock before your domain name.

A screenshot of Review 42's SSL certificate.

Not only is it a must-have on your website checklist in 2019, but it also makes your visitors feel secure. 

Otherwise, Chrome and some of the other browsers will qualify your website as dangerous. And you don’t want that. 

Furthermore, the SSL certificate can improve your SEO. In 2014, Google announced it’s one of its ranking factors. 

Typically, the majority of web hosting providers will provide you with a Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate for free. 

Still, in case your hosting provider doesn’t, you can purchase one from hundreds of websites. Here are just a couple of them:

Okay, it looks like you are almost ready to push the button.

Pre-Launch Reminders

There are just a few things left to do on our website checklist:

27. Update your timezone settings.

No matter which platform you use to manage your site, make sure it displays the correct date and time.

28. Throw out the garbage.

When you are done with your new website, there’s always stuff that remains unused. 

So, to keep everything clean and tidy, delete all unnecessary plugins, images, pages, and posts.

Now.

Guess what?

You are finally ready to push the big red button.

A hand hovering over a read button, ready to launch a new website.

But wait!

What day is it?

You’re probably wondering what that has to do with anything.

Have you ever asked yourself: “What is the best day to launch a website?

It turns out there is such a thing as the best day to launch a website.

And it’s Tuesday.

So, in case it’s not Tuesday, at least you’ll have time to double-check everything on our website launch checklist.

And once you are ready…

… all you have to do is hit “launch.”

3.

2.

1.

Congratulations!

Fireworks after launching a new website.

Unfortunately, you aren’t ready to sit down and enjoy the results of your hard work just yet.

After-Launch Website Checklist

Okay, now your baby is ready to grow up in the internet ecosystem. Still, for that to happen, people must be able to reach it, right?

29. Enable search engine indexing.

It’s considered good practice to turn off search engine indexing while creating your new website. 

You don’t want people to see your work until it’s all polished and presentable, right?

So, once you are ready, turn it back on.

30. Submit your new site to Google.

Now that you’ve done so much, you’d like to invite the biggest search engine in and show it what you’ve achieved. 

For that to happen, all you need to do is visit the Google Search Console and follow the instructions.

31. Register a Google Analytics account.

You’ll want to gather some data after launching your new website

You know – stuff like who visits your site, where the majority of visitors come from, what browsers they use, and so on. 

This data will help you improve your website and focus its content on the right audience. 

That’s it. 

Naturally, when you own a website, the work never stops. 

Still, you have successfully taken the necessary steps to launch a website. Here’s the actual checklist that could help you keep track of your work.

The Website Launch Checklist

Review42's Website Launch Checklist

  • Make sure there are no spelling, grammatical, and factual errors.
  • Keep title and content formatting consistent across all pages.
  • Add alternative (alt) text to your images.
  • Check your images, video, and audio files.
  • Check for plugin compatibility.
  • Create a “Contact Us” page.
  • Responsive design.
  • Test browser compatibility.
  • Create a custom 404 page.
  • Create a favicon.
  • Test the site’s usability.
  • Check your website’s navigation.
  • Check if your CTAs work.
  • Install an SEO plugin.
  • Check for broken links.
  • Inspect your permalinks.
  • Test the overall performance of your website.
  • Social media integration.
  • Make sure you have all the proper licenses for images, video, and audio files.
  • Create a Terms and Conditions/Terms of Service page.
  • Privacy policy and GDPR compliance.
  • Install an anti-spam solution.
  • Backup your site.
  • Secure your website.
  • Install an SSL certificate.
  • Update your timezone settings.
  • Delete all unnecessary plugins, images, pages, and posts.
  • Enable search engine indexing.
  • Submit your new site to Google.
  • Register a Google Analytics account.

All done?

Good for you! Now you can make yourself a nice cup of tea (or something else) and enjoy the last paragraph.

Wrap Up

Okay, champ, we are almost done for the day. 

All that is left is to make an announcement campaign to invite people to your site. Go for it all – emails, social media, word-of-mouth – whatever you can think of. 

Tell the whole world: “Check out our new website!” 

And you know they’ll enjoy it because you’ve done everything right.

That was the whole point of this website launch checklist

Now you know how to launch a website. All that is left is to make it better.

So, to summarize:

What does a successful website need?

Great content. 

Hard work. 

And our website checklist

Now go out and enjoy yourself – you’ve earned it!

Till next time!

 

I've been a tech-addict all my life. I still remember the sound of a successful dial-up connection.
I started my writing career at a very young age for a gamers' magazine. I'm fascinated by each new technology, as a kid with a long-anticipated Christmas gift. My hunger for knowledge and child-like fascination with everything with wires or codes helps me cover a wide array of articles here, on Review42.com.
Whenever I'm not staring at a display I enjoy exploring new places.

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