eighty Things to Check Before, During, and After Starting a Website

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Admit this: Launching a new site is stressful — even for the most seasoned digital internet marketers.

Websites are usually complex. There are so many things that are easily overlooked, just like a broken link or a misspelled word.

And of course, a handful of matters could go extremely, very wrong.   Like what if you forget to test an essential data capture form and then lose out on generating a bunch of brand new leads?   Or worse, what if you forget to properly setup site redirects, and those valuable search engine visitors get a page not found information?

Instead of considering the what ifs, wouldn’t it end up being much easier to have a extensive website checklist to run down before every site launch? One that you could use for enterprise websites, microsites, landing pages, and almost everything in between?

Thankfully, we’ve created exactly that. Keep reading to learn everything you need to do before, throughout, and after launching a website.  

Free Resource: Website Optimization Checklist [Download Now]

What You Should Do Before Beginning Your Site Design

Whether this is your first website that is becoming built from scratch or perhaps you are doing a website redesign, there are a few steps that you ought to take before hiring a web designer or scuba diving in yourself.

1 . Analyze your previous website (if applicable).

In order to make good decisions, you have to first understand where you’ve been. That will starts with your current website if you have one particular. Ask yourself:  

  • What is the purpose of a brand new design or overhaul?
  • What have not hasn’t been accomplished using this existing site?
  • How will a new style serve the new firm?

The solutions to these questions can help you identify your spaces, which can then notify goal setting for the brand new site.

2 . Crawl your old site (if applicable) and document its structure.  

You can get an idea of the site’s existing framework, pages, and assets by using a crawling device such as Screaming Frog. This is a necessary part of creating your website growth plan because you’ll have a more concrete see of what webpages existed before, exactly what redirects are in location, and what the meta data currently looks like.

3. Acquire benchmark data out of your previous website (if applicable), and verify testing procedures.

Not only will you wish to compare how your new site performs when compared to old, but you’ll also want to continue identifying gaps that will supply data-driven insights to help your new strategy.

Additionally , you’ll want to confirm testing procedures. Quickly, you’ll begin examining your website to make sure all the various components are working, every thing flows, and there’s a system for monitoring bugs and improvements.

Use a type (like Google Forms) instead of asking people to email their thoughts so the feedback-gathering procedure is more streamlined. Then, put one person responsible for choosing which bugs to prioritize, plus filtering all the creative feedback you receive through the form.

four. Identify your objectives for the new style, how you’ll attain them, and how you’ll measure success.

Once the gaps are usually fully fleshed away, you can begin crafting your own goals for the design. You may come to a conclusion such as:  

  • The current site is definitely unwieldy, and we need ease of use.  
  • The current site no longer looks trendy, and we need a visual refresh.  
  • The current site doesn’t perform, so we need a a lot more SEO-friendly structure using a better UX.  

Whatever your goals, you’ll want to understand exactly how a new web site will help you achieve them so that you can craft the implementation accordingly.

5. List out action items, roles, and responsibilities.

Make a project administration checklist for the internet site. What content needs to be written? What calls-to-action need to be created?  

Make a master list of the things you require for your website and deadlines for whenever they should be completed.  

Then, assign each action product to an individual or team.   It usually takes a lot of people in order to launch a website: You have marketers writing the information;   designers choosing images and having the overall look and feel; the technical team doing all the back-end development.   To ensure everyone’s on the same page and there’s no role misunderstandings, you’ll want to lay out a comprehensive plan for what each team or person is responsible for.

A single great way to do this is to use the DARCI design, which stands for Choice Maker(s), Accountable, Accountable, Consulted, Informed. It’s a powerful tool that can help everyone understand which individual is in charge of completing which action items, which individual(s) or group(s) have to be consulted before any kind of final decisions are made, and who needs to be consulted once a final decision has been made or a good action has been used.  

6. Prepare for worst-case situations.

Poll everyone involved in your website start on their concerns about what could go wrong, and devise a few backup plans for how to proceed when — not really if — some of these things go wrong.

7. Choose a Solid CMS.

When you have never launched a website before, the long list below might frighten you. However , it actually shouldn’t take too long to run by means of most of the aspects about this list — specifically if you built your website using a solid CMS.  

A CMS, or content administration system, often allows you to design a website from a pre-created template, optimize your content for SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION, and edit articles after it’s published. If you’ve already constructed your website, you might have currently gained experience with using a CMS.  

But , if you’re still building a website, a good way to make going through this particular checklist less time consuming is by building your own pages on a CMS that already really does a lot of the work for you.

For example , HubSpot’s CMS that allows you to generate and edit content material including landing web pages and blog posts. It’s actual features also permit you to organize your content, timetable it, track analytics, and optimize this for SEO.  

Alternatively, you can also test out CMS systems like WordPress, Wix, or even Drupal.

8. Develop a constant brand.

Choose a consistent brand message and tone, one which you’re committed to presenting consistently across. This will make you look more legitimate, credible, plus memorable.

  1. Understand your value task.
  2. Choose a mission statement, vision declaration, and tagline that will represents that value as well as your brand identification.  
  3. Select colors and fonts that convey that identity well.  
  4. Decide on the type of imagery that you’ll use to further convey your messaging.

nine. Create your technical SEO strategy.

Take some time to ensure that your site has been given a good foundation for SEO success. From web site architecture and content hierarchy to metadata and XML sitemaps, do not leave any kind of stone unturned.

  1. Perform keyword analysis and decide what you would like to rank pertaining to.  
  2. Develop a content strategy that will satisfies those keywords.  
  3. Know how your existing pages (if applicable) can be adjusted and which pages will need to be made new.  
  4. Figure out which web pages are no longer necessary.
  5. Map out exactly where unnecessary pages could be redirected to (using a 301 redirect).

10. Strategize your conversion pathways.

Once you have an awareness of the primary pages that will exist in your site, you’ll need to figure out exactly what actions you want users to take and how you’ll capture their particular information. This includes considering through:  

  • What premium top-of-the-funnel offers are needed
  • What bottom-of-the-funnel activity will be presented on main pages
  • What forms have to be created
  • What landing pages plus thank you pages have to be created
  • Exactly how conversions will be tracked
  • What activities will happen after a internet site visitor converts (email responder, etc . )

11. Set up analytics software.

  1. Choose which analytics platforms you will be using on the new web site.
  2. Decide if any kind of previous Analytics monitoring scripts will be used or if brand new accounts/scripts are needed.  
  3. Set up brand new accounts (if applicable).

12. Arranged a launch day.

Once you have an idea of what must get done before the release, pick a launch date. Give yourself a minimum of a month. Most agencies plan for two-to-three several weeks of research, design, and development.

What to Check Once you have Built Your Site

Once you’ve chosen a CMS and constructed a site that you’re prepared to launch, here’s a list of 80 things to check out before, during, after going live. Please copy, edit, plus make your own based on the software you’re using to launch plus host your website.

Don’t have time to check out all 80? Here’s a list of the most important illustrates from each area:

We’ve grouped products based on pre-launch plus post-launch, making sure to the touch on page articles, design, functionality, SEO, branding, analytics, safety, and compliance. Keep on reading to make sure you don’t need to forget a thing just before your next launch.

Website Pre-Launch Register

Before you start, it’s important to review all the content on your website with a fine-tooth comb. Of course , that means web page content, but have a look at about your high quality content, too. From data-driven content and downloadable documents to rich media for example videos and pictures, you want to make sure every thing is in place, functioning properly, and looking beautiful.

You have to note — it’s good to set up a staging site to prepare your brand-new website before going live. Staging sites are exact copies of your website on a private server that are utilized to prepare and proof content and code changes before they go live. The staging site is a spot to edit and have fun with updates in an atmosphere that’s almost similar to the one that will be live. This is and that means you don’t have to worry about a crash your site or screwing something up when you make a change.

Later, you will sync content plus templates between the staging environment and your live website via your content management system (CMS).   If you’re a HubSpot customer using the website platform, you will find there’s  a setting up environment built directly into the software. It enables you to generate a survey URL of the entire web site, so you can click around and test things in context.

1 . Make sure text is accurate plus error-free.

  • Websites content has been proofread intended for spelling and sentence structure.
  • Company contact details are accurate throughout the website.
  • Generic content, for example lorem ipsum , continues to be properly removed and replaced.
  • Most premium content, like case studies, ebooks, and whitepapers, are already proofread. Spelling and grammar are proper.
  • Copyright time (perhaps in the footer) includes the current 12 months.

2 . Substitute all placeholder pictures with final images and designs.  

On occasion, a website designer may use a placeholder image if they didn’t have the correct resource at the time of the page’s creation. It’s under your control to make sure each web page is picture-perfect.

3. Ensure duplicate aligns with the new brand.

  • The written text has been copy-edited to ensure consistent brand voice and style.  
  • All organization tag lines plus mission statements are usually up-to-date.

four. Check that all design preferences have been applied.

  • Paragraphs, headers, lists, and other formatting are correct.
  • Brand colors were implemented correctly, including hyperlink and button colors.

5. Assure your design is usually aesthetically pleasing.

  • Scripts are optimized across web pages.
  • Pictures are optimized throughout web pages.
  • CSS is optimized across web pages.

6. Ensure that rights in order to images, fonts, along with other content have been properly licensed or mentioned.

Even if you outsourced the design to a internet designer/developer, the responsibility drops on you to ensure there are no copyright license issues. Otherwise, you can end up with a big infringement settlement in your hands.

7. Test the site intended for User Experience (UX).

  • Website pages are compatible across browsers.
  • Website pages are compatible across devices.
  • Pictures, videos, and audio tracks are in the correct places, formatted and focusing on all devices.
  • All premium articles, such as case research, ebooks, and whitepapers, are stored in their proper libraries/databases plus work properly.
  • Internal links across web pages are working properly.  
  • Social media share icons are usually associated with the correct accounts.
  • Company logo can be linked to the homepage.

8. Check that the particular conversion paths were implemented properly.

  • All necessary forms are present.  
  • Landing pages and thank you pages have already been implemented.  
  • The correct buttons and calls-to-action (CTAs) are present in the proper locations.  
  • Almost everything is linked with each other appropriately.

9. Create your site back-up strategy.  

You can prevent lack of data and protect against malware and other problems by properly creating site security plus regular backups. Make sure that:

  • Backup schedule has been created.  
  • Backup location has been identified.  
  • A plan designed for implementation is set to be put in motion after start.

10. Shop passwords and credentials in a secure location.  

Many people have likely already been involved in the website start up until this point, therefore ensure that passwords are usually reset when the period comes and appropriate password etiquette is followed.

eleven. Audit the technical SEO implementation pertaining to errors.  

  • Pages have special page titles.  
  • Pages have special meta descriptions.  
  • Each web page has a specific purpose, and pages meant to rank organically are optimized around a one keyword or group of keywords.

12. Conduct a tension test.

In a typical website upgrade, it may not be totally necessary to do a stress test because the visitors spike may not overrun your server’s capacity. But a stress test (also known as a load test) is really a must for any company that plans for a large influx of visitors during specific times — like the holidays or after a major press event. It’ll help you figure out how much simultaneous traffic your website can handle by simulating up to thousands of simultaneous virtual customers from different locations around the world.

Whilst stress tests simulate virtual users, test won’t be totally replicating a real-life situation — so you could find a test that brings you because close to reality as possible. Ask a developer which load assessments they recommend. Here at HubSpot, many of our programmers use JMeter simply by Apache, but this is a pretty technical tool that’s not ideal for  someone who’s new to the concept.

Be sure to notify your sponsor or provider that you would like to perform a stress test before you actually do one.   Or else, your test may look like a DDoS  (Distributed Denial of Service)   attack on your supplier.   Many companies (including HubSpot) consider an unauthorized insert test a violation of terms associated with service.

User experience is a important aspect of how they see your company, so assessment your website before this goes live brings more confidence that visitors will not be instantly displeased with your choices.

Website Post-Launch Checklist

Let’s say you’ve done it. The button continues to be pushed, the website is pointing to the new site, plus you’re about ready to tell the world…

But wait just one second because you still have things to check for now that your site is formally live.

thirteen. Test the site with regard to user experience once again.  

Just in case there was an issue using the implementation, you’ll want to make certain the experience is in line with what you reviewed just before it went reside.

  • Ensure your design is making as you expected it to across browsers.  
  • Make sure your design is definitely rendering as you anticipated it to throughout devices.  
  • Ensure CSS/HTML will be properly validated.  
  • CSS design is rendering properly.
  • Favicon is in place and rendering properly.  
  • Internal links across web pages are working properly.
  • External links across web pages work properly, and open up in a new tabs.
  • Social media reveal icons are working properly.
  • Feeds work properly (RSS, information, social media).
  • Company logo is linked to the homepage.
  • 404 Redirect pages have been in place (page-not-found. aspx).

14. Test out your conversion path’s functionality.

Take some time to try and validate all the different features on your website. Lead generation forms, CRM integration, and any technology should work flawlessly across your website.

  • Forms are submitting data correctly.
  • Thank you information or page shows after form will be submitted.
  • Form data is being emailed to a recipient and/or stored in a company data source.
  • Auto-responders work properly (if applicable).

15. Check that integrations with third-party tools are operating smoothly.

Integrations such as your CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT, e-commerce software, and marketing platform link to your site and help you operate your business. If there is a potential issue that can cause data loss, you don’t want to find out way after the fact.  

16. Make a copy of the last website for backup purposes.  

Now that everything is in place and completed, you want to have a pristine copy of it in case you experience data data corruption or loss.  

17. Make sure that backups are running properly.  

Now is the time to check the implementation of your backup strategy. Check that continuous copies of the website are being created and stored on a regular basis.

18. Make sure your web site is secure.

  • day to day monitoring scripts are installed.
  • Which plan in place intended for updating plugins (if applicable).  
  • Ensure that all appropriate parties are aware of your organization’s password manners policies.
  • Purchase an SSL certification if need-be. A good SSL certificate takes up to two weeks to purchase and set up, therefore ensure you have it just before launch. (An SSL certificate will ensure  your website is encrypted so hackers can’t intercept any of your data. Not only will this particular put your website site visitors at ease, but it really is heading also boost your home page’s SEO since  SSL is now part of Google’s search ranking algorithm. )

19. Adhere to all applicable laws.

Make sure your website complies with any applicable laws and regulations. Web law can be sticky, and each industry has its own set of rules to follow. So it’s best to talk to your legal counsel to make sure you aren’t missing anything — this post is not really legal guidance. Here are a few you may want to know about:

  • Webpages offer accessibility pertaining to users with afflictions (WAI-ARIA).
  • Web pages announce if the web site uses cookies (required in some countries).
  • Website is up to date with usage rights for purchased or borrowed code, images, and fonts.
  • Terms and personal privacy policies are visible to website visitors.
  • Website is PCI compliant (if occur to be storing and digesting credit cards).

20. Crawl the site to ensure no errors happened on start.  

Compare the crawl to the previous crawl and see if you find any inconsistencies that were not intentional. You’ll also want to ensure that all pages have the proper search engine indexing settings.

In addition , you’ll want to check for formatting consistency. Sometimes, typeface codes get fallen into a page accidentally, so you’ll want to search your site for any of such weird formatting errors. Make sure all your format is consistent and there are no strange blips in your duplicate.

21. Look into the technical SEO elements for errors.

  • Page titles, meta explanations, and URLs are present and match up the original technical SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION strategy.
  • Fill time for site pages is optimized.
  • A dynamic XML sitemap has been created.
  • The XML sitemap continues to be submitted to search motors.
  • Page Web addresses consistently reflect web site information architecture.
  • 301 redirects are usually in place for all outdated URLs (redirecting outdated to new pages).
  • rel=”nofollow” tags are in place on applicable links and pages.
  • Images on the website are properly compressed (which helps with download time).  

22. Optimize your metadata.

  • Metadata is properly in place for any content in an RSS feed.
  • Metadata is properly in position for any social media expressing content.
  • Spelling and grammar are usually correct in all metadata.
  • Alt tags have been added to every image.

23. Set up analytics.

Make sure your website is to establish to capture web data and analytics. This valuable information will help you to continually improve your website going forward, so you may want to forget these products.

  • Your website analytics codes and tracking scripts have been placed on website.
  • Relevant IP details have been excluded through analytics tracking.
  • Funnels and objectives have been properly developed in your analytics software program (if applicable).
  • Google Webmaster and Google Analytics balances have been properly synced.
  • Google Advertisements accounts have been properly synced (if applicable).

24. Start a post-launch enhancement listing.

The website a person launch should be useful, well-designed, and well-positioned. But it probably won’t become everything you hoped plus dreamed on the initial go — and you certainly don’t wish to spend months of effort designing a website that people may not respond well to. Imagine if your client would not like it? What if conversions plummet? That could equal to lost money plus effort.

Rather, it’s best to publish a great website, and then test and build on top of it an internet site creation approach referred to as growth-driven design. Build a document that lists out all  the things you can’t get done for that launch itself but want to add in the near future, and add features and elements to it as you discover read more about how users interact with the site. This you can do by using one of these user testing tools.  

How Do You Declare a New Website Start?

This (hopefully) wasn’t a pride project; you did all of this work so far for the benefit of your site visitors, prospects, and existing customers. Your next step is to inform the world about your site design. Here’s how:

25. Build anticipation along with teasers before the web site is live.  

A launch of a new product, a launch of a brand new movie, and — yes — a new site launch just about all require marketing prior to the actual release. Think of the last movie you watched in the theatre. Did you see the trailer before you chose to buy those film tickets and popcorn?

Teasers for the website launch can only help to build anticipation and get users questioning what the new encounter will be like. This could build buzz plus interest once you finally break the news.

26. Create a social media marketing strategy for the statement.  

Choose what channels you need to promote the news upon, how you will make the announcement, and how lengthy the promotion can last.

As you create your messaging, remember to focus on new functions and how they advantage your audience.  

27. Determine exciting ways to advertise engagement for the new site.  

For users who also aren’t as involved with your brand, a brand new site launch might not seem like a big deal. Your goal, then, is to make it one. Provide an exclusive offer for that first users visiting the site. Or, develop a contest that promotes engaging with the website’s new features. Anything you choose, make sure you allow it to be fun and interesting.

28. Send a message to your existing database.  

You might want to give existing qualified prospects and customers a head’s up concerning the new design, especially if it will cause any confusion when they following visit. You can split the news as a issue of courtesy but also sneak in ways in order to underscore the value you aren’t providing.

You can even alert all stakeholders of the redesign and enquire them to spread the word of the new internet site.  

29. Continue to promote the launch for a 30 days.  

Just because you post about your new website as soon as on social media does not mean that your audience will drop everything to see the site in droves. Make your release a big deal, and keep the brand new functionality top associated with mind so that your target audience is prompted too many times to check it out.

(Once your website is launched, remember  to resubmit your XML sitemap to all major search engines as soon as you’re done, too. )

Resources for Launching Your First Website

Launching a new website can be a tedious task, you could alleviate some of the stress by using this comprehensive site launch checklist.

If you’re just getting started on your first web site, here are a few tools that will help you streamline your process

  • CMS: As mentioned above, a CMS can help you style your website, optimize and publish content, plus track your analytics once it’s released. If you’re looking to try out a few CMS choices, start by checking out our 14-day free CMS trial.
  • Blogging Guides: If you’re thinking about using your website to publish a blog that could help you boost brand name awareness, it can be useful to start brainstorming subjects. Here’s a great explained how to be a better blogger with tips from our team.
  • Landing Page Layouts: The landing page is a great way to highlight a product or even resource that your brand name is offering. It’s important to understand what elements lead to the landing page that will convert. Here’s a guide along with examples. Additionally , when using a CMS like HubSpot’s, you can develop landing pages from pre-designed templates.

Editor’s Note: This blog post had been originally published in August 2014, but was updated for comprehensiveness and freshness in June 2021.

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