The 40 Point Checklist for Launching a Website (SMOOTHLY)
Project launch is always quite stressful experience as well as a website launching. Great amount of tasks each part of the development team should finish before going live. Such challenge often leads to small mistakes that in some cases have critical outcomes.
The solution to this problem is simple — you need to have a detailed website launch plan. Clear instructions on how to prepare for launch on each front will make the job easier for the entire team.
In case you don’t know which steps are mandatory on the prelaunch checklist and which are less significant, we’ve got your back. Here is a thorough set of steps you need to follow for a smooth website launch.
GENERAL MANAGEMENT PRELAUNCH CHECKLIST
1. Timetable Launch
The first thing you have to do is to make a meticulous launch schedule. Set up due dates for each task, and the entire process will be organized at its best. Make sure to leave some time for any emergency.
2. Clear Tasks Assignation for Each Department
Set up simulations or tests if you need to. In a stressful launch atmosphere, it is important that everyone follows the plan carefully.
3. Response Team for Any Emergency Assignment
Try to imagine the most common failure scenarios and pick a team of responsible and stress-tolerant people to manage the issues.
4. Law Compliance
If you don’t want your website to be flagged or removed from search engines altogether, check the following;
- License for the content that requires one (images, videos, fonts, etc.);
- If your company deals with money transactions, check the compliance with local laws of the countries you work in.
DESIGN AND FUNCTIONALITY
5. Thorough Testing on a Target Platform
Before you let your target audience see the website in all its glory, you need to look at it yourself. Using a setup similar to the live system, check as many features as you can.
6. Cross-Browser Compatibility (if needed)
Despite the fact that Drupal core works well with most modern browsers, some contributed modules might not be as flexible. In this way, assign some time to check your website’s functionality in the most popular browsers.
7. Cross-Platform Friendly (if needed)
Number of people who access the web through mobile devices is increasing. So, if your project aims to cover the biggest market possible and includes cross-platform availability, double check that every feature works as intended on each device.
8. Site Settings
Visit admin/config/system/site-information to make sure that everything (e-mail, name, etc.) is set up carefully.
Yes, this little logo is a small detail, but it draws a lot of attention. Produce an ideal favicon for your website and upload a retina version of it for high definition screens, if possible.
10. Status Report Page Review
The Status Report page is one of your main sources of info about the site. Make sure it doesn’t show any errors and check the health of each module.
11. Logs Analysis
Logs will help you to analyze the test runs you’ve made. Make sure none of them (watchdog log, webserver log, etc.) have any errors.
12. Debug the Code Review
Even if you’ve done a huge number of times, this point is too important to skip.
13. Broken Links Checking
Sometimes both internal and external links can change during the development process. Make sure each URL works properly.
14. 404 Page
A custom 404 page is another small detail that can become important in the long run. Make it a part of your UX design. Additionally, set up notifications to quickly fix any errors users might find.
15. Test Integrated and Unique Features Test
Ensure that all components are synchronized. Pay special attention to unique features you’ve developed and third-party solutions you have nothing to do with.
16. Quick Backup Function
In the worst-case scenario, you should be able to bring back the previous website version — review both backup and restore functions.
17. Settings for Caches Set Up
Accurate caches setup has an incredible impact when it comes to performance optimization. Check Varnish, Redis and/or Memcached configuration.
18. File Organization System Checking
Efficient file organization is another key component of an optimized project. The bigger the site gets, the harder it is to implement it. So, your task is to create a strong base for such a system and regularly test it, not just as a part of the website launch checklist.
19. Advanced Aggregation for Bandwidth Optimization
Loading speed is a major factor when it comes to app success. So, optimize it to the max by compressing cached pages and using advanced aggregation modules.
20. Load Testing Under Different Circumstances
Test your project under every scenario possible — with disabled and enabled caches, under anonymous accounts, etc.
21. Scripts and Database Queries Optimization
Check all the actions your website performs and make them as efficient as possible.
22. Admin Account Configuration
Arranging admin account security is the first step in the security part of the site launch checklist. Make sure it’s not called “Admin” and is protected by a reliable password.
23. User Accounts Review
Sometimes testing results in unaccounted dummy accounts or accounts with admin privileges. These can be significant liabilities, so you need to perform a thorough audit while the site is in the pre-live stage.
24. SSL & Redirection Tests
If you’re using the SSL certification, check if it works on the live domain and the SSL redirection works accurate.
25. Permissions Audit
Take a final look at permissions for both user and admin accounts, then add or remove them where necessary.
26. Development and Overall Unused Modules Disabling
Some modules that are helpful during development can cause security weaknesses after launch. Everything that is not necessary for site functionality should be disabled.
27. Script Monitoring
Set up modules that will constantly confirm website security to protect your project from malicious intent.
28. Problematic Files Discard
Discard, or make unreachable, .txt files (except for robots.txt) and /install.php.
29. Security Review
Use any tool in your resources, such as the Security_Review module, to perform a complete security review and eliminate every recognizable issue.
30. Unnecessary Content Objects Deletion
Delete all the nodes, terms, and custom objects that will not be used in the final product.
31. Placeholder Text Removal
Loren Ipsum has no place on the final version of the website. Search the database and remove any trace of it you find.
32. Content Formatting
Irregular formatting is an eye-catching thing. It can be very frustrating to users, even if they don’t realize the reason for their frustrations. Make sure content follows the same style on every page.
33. Duplicated Content Check
Duplicates are a common problem in web design. Stay alert and spend some time fishing them out.
34. Proofread Everything
Use any one of the many available plug-ins designed to help you proofread text on your website.
35. sitemap.xml and robots.txt
Increasing SEO website architecture and hierarchy is very important. Check if everything required for these elements is properly setup.
36. URL Aliases and Redirects Review
Website pages often have several URLs. Check if each alternative works properly in order to keep the site map consistent.
37. URL and Content Consistency Audit
Making URLs search-engine-friendly goes a long way towards making your website popular. One of the steps towards achieving this is to ensure correlation between the URL and page content.
38. Metadata and Keywords
The next step is reviewing meta tags, as well as metadata for news feeds and social media. Due to the potential of hundreds of web pages, this data is often generated automatically.
39. Originality of Titles and Descriptions
A unique title and description for your content make it much easier to distinguish and target a specific audience. A quick search will help you to easily complete this step.
40. SEO Checklist Module Installation
The built-in SEO checklist module has well detailed list of things you need to complete for website search engine optimization. If you want to ensure that you accomplish all your SEO goals, install it and check every item on the list.
In spite of the fact that detailed step-by-step plan doesn’t ensure a successful launch, it reduces the chance of any unexpected emergency. Each part of this website’s go live checklist is equally important. So make sure that everyone in your team is completely focused on their task.
Now that you have a detailed website launch checklist template, it’s all up to you. Modify it to fit your specific project and start your pre-live preparations.
How to launch your website smoothly: a very detailed checklist was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.