Website Pre-Launch Checklist

by | Dec 6, 2019 | SOP | 0 comments

Setting up a new website consists of a seemingly endless amount of steps. If you want your site to perform at its best and feel seamless for users, there are quite a few things you should check before making it live. While it may be daunting at first to try to keep track of every little step, you need to make sure the user experience is as close to perfect as possible.

Written by Rebecca Roberts

Written by Rebecca Roberts

Senior Partner

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Setting up a new website consists of a seemingly endless amount of steps. If you want your site to perform at its best and feel seamless for users, there are quite a few things you should check before making it live. While it may be daunting at first to try to keep track of every little step, you need to make sure the user experience is as close to perfect as possible.

There are just so many little things that could go wrong once you hit that go live button such as 404 errors, misrouted forms and redirects, and even seemingly trivial factors such as social media links and alt-text. If you make sure to check off all of the important items on our pre-launch checklist you are giving your website a much better chance at success and giving your customers the best possible first impression.

Here is a list of some of the most important aspects of your website you should check before exposing yourself to the public eye:

Update Site Title and Tag Line

Always make sure you double-check the title of your site and the supporting metadata that goes along with it. This is important for SEO and for search engines to recognize and identify the category and contents of your site initially. Make sure your headline is catchy and relevant and captures the theme/branding of your site.

Privacy Policy, Terms and Conditions, and Return Policy

Never launch a website without your terms and conditions and privacy policy properly displayed and available for viewers to reference. It is a rare occasion where issues come up that call for them to be present, but if they ever do you will be glad you made sure they were. They help protect you from liability and ensure you are properly adhering to standard guidelines.

Redirection Plugins

Your redirection plugins helps track and automatically update any pages that have a new url moving forward. It also tracks and keep a list of all of the 404 errors. This allows for ongoing website maintenance and lets us set up the necessary 301 Redirects. To set this up properly, log into WordPress using your admin username and password from 1Password. Then, go to Plugins > Add New and search for “Redirection”. You should find the following plugin:

Once you see this, click “Install Now”. You will then be redirected to the Installed Plugins Page. Click on Settings underneath Redirection and you will be defaulted to the Options section. Select the URL Monitor: Select all options button. Finally, click update and you are all set!

Security Plugin Check

It is important to ensure that you have proper security plugins installed and activated in order to protect your site from malicious activity and ensure a safe user experience. These include plugins that provide login security, secure information protection, and even things such as two-factor authentication.

Footer / Copyright

You always want to make sure the footers for each page are properly displayed. Simply navigate to Divi > Divi Booster and under the “Footer” replace the links with this text / HTML:
** Be sure to change {CLIENT NAME} and {LAUNCH YEAR} with the appropriate information:
Client Name ©Launch Year- | Designed and Managed By Bolt Goodly
Scroll to the bottom and click “Save Changes”. Now go into your website and check to make sure they are displayed properly and look uniform with the site.

Update plugins / Theme

You always want to make sure that your plugins are all up-to-date and running the latest versions that the developers have to offer. Go through your list of plug-ins and be sure to update each to the most current version before you go live. This will ensure the best functionality and compatibility and will make your website function much more smoothly.

Check Your Privacy Settings

First, go to Settings > Privacy and update the following fields:
Click on “Use This Page”

You should see the following at the top of your screen indicating that the settings have taken effect:

You can now update your menus and set the privacy settings to your liking.

Test Email Notifications

Getting proper email notifications about your website activity is crucial for easy monitoring and updates.
To start, log into WordPress using the Bolt Goodly username and password from 1Password. Go to Plugins > Add New and search for “WP SMTP” and install the following plugin if you haven’t already:

Once it has finished installing, click activate. After you do this you will be redirected to the “Installed Plugins” Page. Scroll to WP Mail SMTP and select Settings.

Fill in the settings with the following information:

  • From Email: [MAIN CLIENT EMAIL ADDRESS] *Note: this will be the email address that all emails will come from.
  • From Name: [Client Name]
  • Mailer: SendGrid
  • Create SendGrid AP Next, in a new window or tab go to https://sendgrid.com/pricing/ and select the free account. Scroll down and click “Try for Free”. Fill out the signup page with the following information:
  • Username: [business name]
  • Password: [Generate from 1Password]
  • Confirm Password: same as above
  • Email address: [client email address on the same domain that the website is going to be launched on]
  • Add login information to client’s 1Password Vault

On the next screen fill out the information as follows:

  • First Name: Client First Name
  • Last Name: Client Last Name
  • Company Name: Company Name
  • Phone Number: Client Phone Number
  • Company Website: Final Website of Company
  • What is your role?: Developer
  • How do you plan to send email? Using our API
  • How many emails do you send per month? 0 to 100,000 or client appropriate
  • How many employees work at your company: Client appropriate

After this is all filled out, click “Get Started”. On the next screen click “Start” next to “Integrate using our Web API or SMTP relay”. Go ahead and select SMTP Relay and enter WP Mail SMTP under My First API Key Name and then click “Create Key”. Copy the long key to your clipboard and go back to WordPress WP Mail SMTP Plugin Settings and paste it in WordPress under API Key in the SendGrid. Click “Save Settings” and then click on “Email Test”.

Enter your Bolt Goodly email address in the “Send To” field and click “Send Email”. Now you can go to your email and confirm that the email mechanism is working properly.

Now just verify the Integration on the SendGrid Website by sending an email from your application using the code you just integrated. If that runs without error, click “Verify Integration”. Be sure to close the SendGrid Website Connection, and you’re all set!

Setup and Test Product Pages, Forms, and Checkout

If you are selling products or have sign-up or contact collection forms, you should check that the customer workflow is functioning properly. Once you have them setup, go through the entire process yourself and make sure it is seamless and all of the links are taking you to the right places. Make sure the checkout is working and that the payment mechanisms and confirmation triggers are all working as you intend. Fill out the forms and check your inbox and mailing list to ensure you are receiving and logging the information properly. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes – is it simple, effortless, and timely?

Check for Mobile Responsiveness

Chances are that a majority of your traffic will come from mobile users. In fact, over 60% of total website visits come from mobile users on average. This makes it vital to make sure the mobile version of your site does not lose any of the branding, flow, or functionality desktop users experience. Google offers a free tool you can use to test out how responsive your site is on mobile devices, you can find it here: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

Consistent Branding

The branding of your site consists of the font, images, layout, and flow of the experience through your website. Your logo should be consistently placed throughout each page of the website and the colors should be consistent and not random. Branding may seem like an abstract concept, but it is how you can make sure your customers will keep coming back for more and will choose your brand over competitors. For more on branding visit our (..)

Crossbrowser Review

Cross-compatibility across browsers is important. Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and Internet Explorer all of have a lot of users that may be visiting your site. Check how your site functions on each by checking links, forms, and checkout mechanisms for bugs on a variety of different browsers.

Double Check Your Page Preview

The preview of your page on search engines should appear uniform and clean. If setup properly, potential visitors will be more likely to head into your website if it appears organized and gives a clear snapshot of the contents of your site.

Check for Social Media Icons / Links

Your website should always contain outbound links to your social media pages. Most commonly, this is done using icons at the bottom of your page or in the dropdown menu of the site. Make sure they are always accessible on each page of your site.

Sitemap Submissions

A sitemap is a file that allows all of the site crawlers (search engines) find the important pages on your website. By submitting your sitemap you will, for example, be telling search engines to show your main pages from your menu in searches and not necessarily legal secondary pages, such as Privacy Policies, or Terms & Conditions. You can read more here on how to submit your sitemaps.

Clean up Your Media, Blog, and Divi Libraries

Before launch, go through all of the media you have saved in your libraries – both on WordPress itself and through Divi. This will free up space and also allow you to keep track of the media, blogs, and themes you like and get rid of the ones you have no intention of using. This helps create a dynamic ability to change your media or themes based on user feedback or post-launch data and decisions. If your libraries are cluttered and full of scratch media and themes, it will be hard to react and enact changes as necessary. When it comes to your website, organization is your best friend.

Confirm Tracking with Facebook, Sharpspring, HotJar, etc.

If you are planning on using any tools to track user experience on your website, such as HotJar, now is the time to ensure they are set up. HotJar can be a valuable tool when looking post launch at your clients interaction on your site. You can make valuable business and design decisions by noticing how people are interacting with the site.

Finalize URL’s

If you used any special URL structures for your development, prelaunch is the time to update your URLs because the final one is what the search engines will be crawling. Make sure your menu is correct, parent pages are selected, and that the URLs are not too long.

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