Here’s our list of 23 things we use as a checklist before we launch any website. You can use this to ensure your website launch goes smoothly.
1. Make sure all URLs are live on the site and fully functioning
Many websites are built using a special staging platform, allowing things to be tested in various ways. Once the content and functionality of the website are complete, the website should be moved to production and URLs should be changed. Sometimes this isn’t smooth sailing.
You can use WebSite Auditor to test your website for issues, this checks for resources status codes, pages with 302 redirects, and broken links.
2. Check your website speed
You’re probably aware that page load speed is Google Ranking factor, and in today’s SEO world no page should take more than 7 seconds. With page speed being a contributing factor in how Google ranks your business, it should be one of your top priorities.
You can use WebSite Auditor again to check the page speed, it will provide you with a list of your website’s slower loading pages.
3. Ensure that the 404 page is set up properly
If a visitor came to your site, but doesn’t really make it because they’ve made a misprint in a page IRL or clicked on a bad link, you don’t want the visitor to see the 404 image warning.
To make sure this doesn’t happen, have a custom 404 page set up on your website. Make yourself familiar with PHP or HTML to ensure that you can modify the 404 page correctly.
You can also use plugins to custom 404 pages but this only works for WordPress websites.
4. Is your site mobile friendly?
As we are living in a mobile-first world, you should definitely consider mobile layouts for your new website.
You can use the Page Audit module in Website Auditor to check if your site is mobile friendly.
If any problems do appear, you should use Google’s official guides for mobile optimization. You should also consider adding AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) to make your pages load super-fast on mobile devices.
5. Validate code and CSS
Google does say that HTML/CSS errors won’t harm your site, we recommend checking how clean your code actually is. You should scan your pages for errors. You can use online tools such as W3C Markup Validator and W3C CSS Validator, and desktop tools, such as WebSite Auditor.
6. Make sure you don’t have any Indexation issues
This is one technical SEO task that needs to be top of your list before launching your website. You need to ensure that crawlers can easily access your site pages and content.
To check if there are any pages blocked from indexing, you can use the Website Auditor, using the project creation, uncheck the following robots.txt, and hit next.
7. Check for any duplicate issues
No one wants to fall into this trap, as duplicated content is tricky and your site can suffer because of it. There are various things you can do to protect your website.
- Choose the preferred www non-www version for your domain
- Avoid scraped content
- Avoid duplicate meta tags
8. Make search engine friendly URLs
The URLs need to be clean coded, you should stay away from URLs that are lengthy. You can use Site Audits to make you aware of the warnings.
9. Make sure you have Google analytics installed and create a Google Search Console account
You should have Google Analytics set up before your website goes live so that you can start collecting valuable data from the beginning.
10. Create keyword mapping for your website
This is crucial for all SEO activities, creating a keyword map for your most important pages can get your page on the first page of Google. Ensure you carry out all the necessary keyword research.
11. Optimise the meta tags and content
When adding and creating content ensure that you are optimising titles and descriptions, you can use Website Auditor to help you check your technical SEO.
12. Does your content add value to your site?
You should aim for your content to add expert advice and allow for actionable takeaways. Before your website goes live you should have valuable content placed throughout your site.
13. Proofread, proofread and proofread your content
Proofreading your content and making sure that it’s error-free, can be time-consuming but it pays off in the end. Users are more likely to read content to the end that is grammatically correct.
14. Format properly
Less is more, use your headings and subheadings to properly format content and align content.
15. Only post factual content
Fake news is everywhere nowadays, and because Google has introduced a fact-checking feature you should make sure that all your information is factually correct. How can you do this? Back your posts up with proven research.
16. Keep all content style consistent and concise
The style of content you use should be coordinated with brand guidelines, this allows for a consistent identity and voice and style to be viewed by users. This also makes creating content and marketing materials easier as you follow a consistent style, layout and theme.
17. Make a content map
Using content mapping can help you create a map to help you organise users needs, company goals, and content plans.
18. Create a USP
Marketing should have started a long time before the site was even created, things you need to consider when deciding your USP is:
- Study your target audience
- Decide on the issues your product helps users overcome
- Conduct competitor analysis
- Are there gaps in the market?
- Consistently be monitoring the marketing and competitors
19. Have all your marketing tools set up before the site launch
Ensure you have the following:
- Turn on conversion tracking in Google Analytics
- Have your email marketing set up and running
- Have your social listening tool running
- CRM to manage orders and processes
20. Have site backups and manage them
You could choose between manual and automatic backups, we feel automatic is more reliable, as you can install a plugin to do it all for you.
21. Monitor your site
Your site can become sick from time to time, having a site monitoring app will help you stay alert to any problems on your site, so it can be resolved quickly.
22. Have your website ready for a bundle of users
You never know when your site will gain major attraction, so you should ensure that your website can handle heavy traffic. Carrying out load tests before will help you identify if your website will have any issues with heavy traffic.
23. Security comes first ALWAYS
Sites that are getting hacked are increasing year on year, therefore securing your website before the launch will be the easiest solution for you. Here are some tips to make your site less vulnerable:
- Ensure the admins computer is virus free
- Use strong passwords
- Use up-to-date software