The Ultimate Website Launch Checklist

25 Dec



Content and Style

Typography and layout

Check for incorrect punctuation marks, particularly apostrophes, quotation marks and hyphens/dashes

Check headings for where you could potentially use ligatures

Check for widow/orphan terms in important paragraphs

Spelling and grammar


Capitalisation (especially of main headings)

Tense/Style of writing

Recurring/common phrases (e.g. ‘More about X’ links)

Variations in words (e.g. Websites vs Web Sites, or UK vs US spelling)

Treatment of bulleted lists (e.g. periods or commas at end of each item)

Check for hard-coded links to staging domain (i.e. ensure all links will change to ‘live’ URL/domain when site is launched)

Ensure no test content on site

Check how important pages (e.g. content items) print

For re-designs, ensure important old/existing URLs are redirected to relevant new URLs, if the URL scheme is changing

Check all ‘Hidden Copy’ (e.g. alt text, transcriptions, text in JavaScript functions)

Standards and Validation


HTML validation

JavaScript validation

CSS validation

Search Engine Visibility, SEO and Metrics

Page Titles are important; ensure they make sense and have relevant keywords in them.

Create metadata descriptions for important pages.

Check for canonical domain issues (e.g. variations in links to should be reduced to a single consistent style)

Ensure content is marked-up semantically/correctly (<h1>, etc.)

Check for target keyword usage in general content

Check format (user/search engine friendliness) of URLs

Set up Analytics, FeedBurner, and any other packages for measuring ongoing success

Create an XML Sitemap

Configure Google Webmaster Console and Yahoo! Site Explorer

Functional Testing

Check all bespoke/complex functionality

Check search functionality (including relevance of results)

Check on common variations of browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome etc.), version (6, 7, 2.2, 3.1 etc.) and platform (Windows, OSX, Linux)

Check on common variations of Screen Resolution

Test all forms (e.g. contact us, blog comments), including anti-spam features, response emails/text, etc.

Test without JavaScript, Flash, and other plug-ins

Check all external links are valid


Configure backup schedule, and test recovery from backup.

Protect any sensitive pages (e.g. administration area)

Use robots.txt where necessary

Security/Penetration test

Turn-off verbose error reporting

Check disk space/capacity

Set-up email/SMS monitoring/alerts (e.g. for errors, server warnings); consider internal and external monitoring services


Load test

Check image optimisation

Check and implement caching where necessary

Check total page size/download time

Minify/compress static (JavaScript/HTML/CSS) files

Optimise your CSS: use short image paths; make full-use ‘cascading’ nature of CSS, etc.

Check correct database indexing

Check configuration at every level (Web server, Database, any other software e.g. Content Management System)

Configure server-based logging/measurement tools (e.g. database/web server logging)

Finishing Touches

Create custom 404/error pages

Create a favicon



Social Marketing: Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, Facebook, Stumbleupon, etc.

Submit to search engines

Set-up PPC/Google Adwords where necessary

Check formatting of site results in SERPs


Monitor and respond to feedback (direct feedback, on Social Media sites, check for chatter through Google, etc.)

Check analytics for problems, popular pages etc. and adjust as necessary

Update content

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Posted by on December 25, 2010 in General Topics


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