74 Things to Check for a Successful Web Site Launch

February 01, 2016   /   by  Diane Callihan

Don’t Get Stranded on Mars

If you haven’t read the book or watched the movie The Martian yet, you should.

Without giving anything away, I’ll just tell you that The Martian is a compelling illustration of all the catastrophic things that can happen when you launch into space, and a brilliant guy who works to methodically solve each problem to try to stay alive.

In the face of overwhelming odds, I'm left with only one option:
I'm gonna have to science the shit out of this.

Mark Watney

A web site launch is a lot like a space launch. It's exciting, but also fraught with peril. That’s why it’s important to check for any potential issues prior to launch. And yes, there’s a science to it.

A while back, we published a popular post on HubSpot’s blog entitled, 57 Little Things to Double Check Before Your Website Launch. We keep a running checklist that we use when launching sites for our clients, and thought it might be helpful to share with you our most recent, expanded version.

Download Checklist

Note: this list is not meant to be 100% comprehensive – we add to it all the time. But it’s a good start. Feel free to customize this list for your specific project.

Page Content

  1. All content has been optimized for web.
  2. Web copywriting has been proofread. Spelling and grammar are correct.
  3. Paragraphs, headers, lists and other formatting are correct.
  4. Rich content is correct and working – images, videos, audios, font icons, etc.
  5. News articles/blog posts are formatted correctly.
  6. Copyright date (perhaps in the footer) shows the current year.
  7. Company contact details are accurate throughout the web site.
  8. Generic content, such as lorem ipsum, has been removed and replaced.
  9. Images are in the correct places, formatted and working on all devices.
  10. Videos are in the correct places, formatted and working on all devices.
  11. Audio files are in the correct places, formatted and working on all devices.
  12. All premium content, such as case studies, e-books and whitepapers, have been proofread. Spelling and grammar are correct.
  13. All premium content, such as case studies, e-books and whitepapers, are stored in their proper libraries/databases and work properly.
  14. Rights to images, fonts and other content have been properly licensed and/or cited.
  15. All social media share icons and links work properly.
  16. Social share widgets are in place on news/blogs.
  17. All feeds work properly (RSS, News, Twitter, etc.).

Design & Navigation

  1. Web site pages are compatible across browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari). You may wish to use a cross-browser tester.
  2. Web site pages are responsive and compatible across devices (Android, iPhone, tablets).
  3. CSS/HTML is properly validated.
  4. Scripts are optimized across web pages.
  5. Images are compressed for best page load times.
  6. CSS is optimized across web pages.
  7. Favicon is in place and rendering properly.
  8. Paragraph styles are working properly (headers, lists, block quotes).
  9. Bread crumbs and/or navigational highlights are included and working.
  10. Footer is set up/all links enabled.
  11. Footer extends full length of page.
  12. Search functionality is working.
  13. All links are clickable and hover/highlighted.
  14. External links open in a new tab.
  15. Internal links follow correct & friendly URL structure (parent page/sub-page).
  16. Navigation is accurate—all links resolve to correct navigational structure according to the sitemap.
  17. All sidebars are in place and links connected.
  18. Logo anchors to home page.

Functionality & Compliance

  1. Forms are submitting data properly.
  2. Thank-you message or page displays after form is submitted.
  3. Form data is being emailed to a recipient and/or stored in a database.
  4. Auto-responders are working properly (if applicable).
  5. Required fields are marked as such.
  6. Error messaging is in place.
  7. Internal links across web pages are working properly. Broken link checker.
  8. External links across web pages are working properly and open in a new tab. Broken link checker.
  9. Load time for site pages is optimized. Test site speed.
  10. 404 Redirect pages are in place.
  11. Integrations with third-party tools, such as your CRM, e-commerce software, and/or marketing platform, are running smoothly.
  12. 24/7 monitoring scripts are installed.
  13. Test CMS access (if applicable).
  14. A copy of the final web site has been made for backup purposes.
  15. Ongoing copies of the web site are being created and stored on a regular basis.
  16. Passwords and other web site credentials are stored in a secure database.
  17. Web pages offer accessibility for users with disabilities (WAI-ARIA).
  18. Web pages announce if the web site uses cookies (required in some countries).
  19. Web site is compliant with usage rights for purchased or borrowed code, images and fonts.
  20. Terms and privacy policies are visible to web site visitors.
  21. Web site is PCI compliant (if you’re storing and processing credit cards).
  22. Web site is COPPA compliant (if you are directing items/services for children under 13).

SEO & Analytics

  1. Pages have unique page titles (fewer than 70 characters, includes keywords).
  2. Pages have unique meta descriptions (fewer than 156 characters, includes keywords).
  3. Pages have keywords (fewer than 10, all words appear in page copy).
  4. Metadata is properly in place for any content in an RSS feed.
  5. Metadata is properly in place for any social media sharing content.
  6. Spelling and grammar are correct in all metadata.
  7. Alt tags have been added to every image.
  8. A dynamic XML sitemap has been created.
  9. The XML sitemap has been submitted to search engines.
  10. Page URLs consistently reflect site information architecture.
  11. 301 redirects are in place for all old URLs (redirecting old to new pages).
  12. rel="nofollow” tags are in place on applicable links and pages.
  13. Web site analytics codes have been properly inserted.
  14. Relevant IP addresses have been excluded from analytics tracking.
  15. Funnels and goals have been properly created in your analytics software (if applicable).
  16. Google Webmaster and Google Analytics accounts have been properly synced.
  17. Google AdWords and Google Analytics accounts have been properly synced (if applicable).

If this list seems a little daunting, we’d be happy to plan, design and build your website for you, or help with any other digital marketing services you might need. Let’s talk.

Diane Callihan

Diane Callihan

With more than 20 years of experience writing for some of the country’s top brands, Diane helped to shape Roger West’s content strategy, lead generation, and PR efforts as Director of Marketing. She currently serves as President of Callihan Content Creation.