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  • Pre-Launch
    • 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
      • Consistency
        • 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
      • Accessibility
      • 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
    • Security/Risk
      • 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
    • Performance
      • 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
  • Post-Launch
    • Marketing
      • 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
    • Ongoing
      • 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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The Ultimate Website Launch Checklist



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