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Launching tomorrow? Here’s your to-do list

By Melissa Hill on November 2, 2015

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Do you remember, before WordPress, how long it used to take to put a website together? To code out, from scratch, each page, hardcode each link and image, duplicating your menus and footers across your site (and then editing each page if you needed to update one thing!). Through the #iusemake series on the blog, we’ve seen how people are launching faster and more efficiently than ever. We’ve heard everything from 24 hours to 30 days to put a site together, which is astounding really, when you consider what kind of impact a professionally built web presence can have on a business.

If you need to launch tomorrow, we’ve prepared a helpful checklist of items to go over before you send that announcement email or tweet.

Launch checklist

1. Edit copy

It should go without saying that misspellings and typos are going to impact the professional veneer of your website. But not only should you edit for small mistakes, now’s a good time to take a fine tooth to your website copy for style consistency.

Look for:

  • Headers that have the same format (first letter capitalization, etc.)
  • Consistent use of text header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.)
  • Brand and industry specific word consistency

After you’ve finished with your site copy, now’s a great time to recheck your social media also — just to make sure your profiles match the new site.

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2. Check for broken links (and also on social media icons)

Click every link. Yes. Every link. Even click links you’re certain work. That one dead link could mean the difference between a purchase and a bounce, so take the time to tidy up your menus, site copy, and social icons.

3. Make sure images/banners look good on all devices

In case you haven’t looked at your site on a mobile device before, make sure you get in one good round of testing before you launch. Your images might not be cropping and scaling how you imagined they would, and your content might not be breaking across the screen sizes in a way that makes the most sense to your visitors — and better to fix those tiny details before you go live.

Tip: Start with your mobile design when you begin putting together your site. If it looks good on mobile, tweak it for larger screens, instead of vice versa.

4. Double check your contact form and optin form

Join your own mailing list to see what the confirmation emails look like. Make sure your optin gifts are downloading correctly. Send yourself a test message from each and every form on your site, using different email addresses to test your spam filters.

And finally, if you moved your site from a development site to the live site, David Sutoyo, a Make Plus Developer in our Slack channel mentioned, “One point that I’ve learned to always check: make sure the live site isn’t blocking search engines, since sometimes the staging environment might be set to block them.”

What do you check for when you launch a site? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter. I’ll be collecting your ideas in a tutorial for our Make docs.

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2 Comments

  1. Justin

    I make sure that every page and post is optimized for SEO.

    I make sure that every image is optimized for SEO and site speed.

    I ensure that if its an eCommerce website, I have tested the checkout process and payment gateways.

    I look for responsiveness on multiple devices, because they will all display differently.

    I make sure all content is aligned properly and displays correctly on all the main browsers.

    I look for simple grammatical errors that are often overlooked, but found by visitors.

    The list just goes on and on and on. Bottom line is don’t launch your website before you have dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s.

    Sometimes the hype of a pre-launch is a good builder of anticipation anyway, so there is really no need to rush things.

  2. Jennis Kolovski

    Very helpful Melissa! The mobile design check is probably the most important one that many people forget. In many industries 50% of users are on tablets or mobile phones so it’s important to make sure the design is presentable for those devices.

    I have another tip: make sure your site is fast enough. You will already lose a lot of visitors and potential customers if your website doesn’t load within 3 seconds . A few good tools to test your speed are: http://gtmetrix.com for performance analysis and http://pingdom.com and http://www.giftofspeed.com for location testing. Really important!

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