39 Things to do to Guarantee a Perfect Site Launch

Many times, when people get ready to launch a site, they’re so excited about going live and calling the product finished, that they don’t do an adequate job of making sure the site is really and truly complete. It’s easy to do. I’m guilty. You’re ready to share what you’ve been working on for weeks, months even. But, skipping these steps doesn’t provide the quality that your clients need.

Over the years, I’ve compiled a launch checklist of items that help guarantee a perfect site launch. This list ensures I’ve dotted the final i and crossed the final t.

  1. No spelling errors
  2. Content is consistent (capitalization, tense / sense of writing, reocurring and common phrases)
  3. Content has been placed consistently
  4. No test content
  5. Page and content formatting has been tested
  6. Print stylesheets exist and tested
  7. Meta data has been included and is appropriate
  8. Setup accounts on Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools
  9. Sitemap.xml created and submitted to Google and Bing.
  10. For redesigns, make sure old / existing URLs are redirected to relevant new URLs, if the URL scheme is changing.
  11. Images have appropriate ALT text
  12. Page titles are appropriate and SEO friendly
  13. Create metadata descriptions for important pages.
  14. Favicon has been created and displays correctly
  15. Footer includes copyright and a link to the site creator
  16. HTML has passed validation (W3C Validator)
  17. Check for canonical domain issues (e.g. variations in links to http://site.com http://www.site.com http://www.site.com/index.html should be reduced to a single consistent style)
  18. CSS has passed validation (W3C CSS Validator)
  19. JavaScript is error free (JSLint)
  20. Minify/compress static (JavaScript/HTML/CSS) files
  21. No broken links, internal and external (W3C Link Checker
  22. Check for hard coded links to the staging server
  23. Displays and functions correctly in various browsers (BrowserShots or Litmus)
    • IE7
    • IE8
    • IE9
    • Firefox (Mac + PC)
    • Chrome (Mac + PC)
    • Safari (Mac + PC)
    • Opera (Mac + PC)
  24. Tested at 1024 x 768 Resolution
  25. Tested at larger resolutions
  26. Tested on iPad
  27. Tested on iPhone
  28. Forms have been tested and processed correctly
  29. Required fields have been tested
  30. Forms send to the correct recipient(s)
  31. Check internal search functionality (including relevance of results)
  32. Web statistics package installed and operational (Google Analytics, Clickly, Mint, or StatCounter)
  33. 404 page exists and informative
  34. Full web site build documentation (including platform definition, inventory log, and user, operator, systems, and administrative manuals)
  35. Use robots.txt where necessary
  36. Site backups scheduled
  37. Check and implement caching where necessary
  38. Check download time review and browser compatability: (Google’s Page Speed and Pingdom)
  39. RSS set up (FeedBurner)

Additional Resources / References

The list that I’ve creaed has come from my own personal experience as well as others:

Have I missed anything? Are there other things that you do before launching a site?