What to check before a website launch

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There’s a list of things to do before a new website launch. But what should one do first? Below is a list of some important duties; it’s based both on my own experiences and from advice elsewhere online (such as this article by a web developer’s blog).

Note this assumes one’s already done the basics of setting up a site (such as choosing a domain name).

Check spelling and grammar

A very basic tip, I suppose, but you should make sure there’s no misspellings on your site.

View your site on multiple browsers

You might want to check how your site looks in each of the major browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer/Edge), or at least in two different browsers. This includes seeing how it looks on mobile devices.

Set up your site’s search engine optimization (SEO)

Make sure your site’s set up for search engine optimization ahead of time. For WordPress users, the Yoast SEO plugin can help set up basic SEO aspects.

Create a sitemap

A sitemap is a document listing what pages on a site are accessible to web crawlers, such as Google’s.

Again, the Yoast SEO plugin offers sitemap creation as part of its functionality.

Check for 404, contact, and privacy pages (also cookie warnings for EU-based sites)

My 404 error page
404 page example.

Make sure you have some basic website pages set up, including:

  • A 404 page. Many WordPress themes should offer a default one.
  • A contact page. Site visitors should be able to reach you somehow.
  • Privacy and any other legally required pages. A privacy page is usually required if one’s running Google ads (per Google’s requirements). Some other pages or requirements might also vary depending on site needs, such as cookie warnings if your site’s based in the European Union. The Jetpack plugin for WordPress now offers an EU cookie warning module.

Link to the site’s social network pages / use share buttons on blog posts

Social media links are an important part of site promotion. For bloggers, share buttons should be included with blog posts. As for which ones, I’d recommend Facebook and Twitter at a minimum (the two most popular social networks), plus possibly a button to email the post. Choose other social networks (Google+, Pinterest, etc.) based on site traffic and needs.

Otherwise, also include links to the site’s pages on Facebook, Twitter, etc. (in the sidebar, header or footer, etc.).

Check site navigation

Make sure your site’s navigation menus, bars, etc. are functional and don’t have any errors.

Check links and forms

Make sure your site’s links and forms are all in working order.

Test loading speed

Finally, make sure your site loads up fairly quickly. Pingdom and GTmetrix can be used to check for site speed.

(Optional) Google Search Console setup

Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) allows advanced users to view how Google is looking at/crawling one’s website for indexing and visibility purposes.

Conclusion

Is there anything I missed, or you feel should be included? Let me know in the comments.

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