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Checklist

Website launch checklist

by Randall Craig on December 11, 2015

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Marketing, Web development

Tagged as: , , , ,

While websites aren’t new, most organizations only redesign their website every 3-4 years – which is just enough time for everyone to forget what needs to be done to properly launch it. While every website (and organization) is unique, here is a partial list of activities that can help:

Three months prior to launch:

  • Confirm metrics to evaluate the success of the new site.
  • Integration points with existing systems defined.
  • Revise existing traditional marketing collateral.
  • Amend social media editorial calendar to take into account the new site launch.
  • Identify campaigns, advertising (and any communications) that promotes the website, or a landing page URL.
  • Review website legal terms and conditions for potential update.

One month prior to launch:

  • Demonstrate website (design and functionality) with a wider internal audience.
  • Update graphics within marketing collateral that reference the website.
  • Prepare internal communications plan.
  • Prepare external communications plan (including prospects/members/clients/regulators/customers.)
    • Design launch collateral (postcards, direct mail, posters, etc.)
  • Schedule appropriate Social Media posts to support launch.
  • Train front line staff on answering queries about the new website.
  • Site security regime in place and tested (certificates, firewall code, intrusion detection, reporting, recovery, etc.)
  • Final usability testing.
  • CSS/HTML code is validated and compliant with standards.
  • Legal compliance testing (Accessibility/WCAG standards, Privacy, and CASL/CAN-SPAM.)
  • Collect screen shots of all [existing site] lead generation forms for proof of CASL compliance.
  • Review all content (images, videos, text, etc) to ensure all is appropriately licensed and documented.

One week prior to launch:

  • Final content updates.
  • Robots.txt and (dynamic) sitemap.xml files created.
  • Site speed optimized.
    • Code “minified”, graphics optimized, site cached, content distribution networks enabled, etc.
  • Finalize reporting dashboard(s).
  • Even more testing:
    • All forms work correctly, including user feedback when incorrectly filled out.
    • All ecommerce transactions work correctly.
    • All password-protected areas of the site work correctly (and are secure.)
    • All placeholder content (eg “lorem ipsum”, “Hello World”, etc.) removed from site.
    • Error pages work as expected.
    • Final review for bad links.
  • User content update training is completed.
  • Website training for call center/receptionist/front-line staff.
  • Website preview for selected audiences (internal and external, including media.)
  • Back-up and restore systems tested.

Launch

  • Update “redirects” so that old URLs are redirected to new URLs.
  • Final test for bad links and errors.
  • Cut-over tracking tools (Google webmaster, Google analytics, Yahoo Web Analytics, Adobe SiteCatalyst, etc.)
  • Change links in internal systems.
  • Cut over changes in CRM and Marketing Automation systems.
  • Cut over uptime monitoring and back-up systems.
  • Update Social Media.
  • Internal and external communications.
  • Kick off traffic generation plan (Pay-per-click advertising, SEO, etc.)
  • Update corporate signature on outgoing emails.
  • Copy of “Final” version of the site is made.
  • Hand over from the web development team to the support team.

Post launch

  • Post mortem review meeting: what went right or wrong.
  • Daily/weekly/monthly monitoring (Social Media, Web analytics) for issues.
  • Double check Google to ensure the site is fully indexed (and tweak robots.txt and sitemap.xml).
  • Development and Feature roadmap planning session.

This week’s action plan:  Print this Tipsheet, and file it in your web folder – then forward it to others on your web team.  And if you’re feeling helpful: what else would you add to this list?

Marketing Insight:  Almost every marketing and communication activity involves some connection to the web, which means that this list can be easily adapted for…

  • a new microsite,
  • specific landing pages,
  • new service or product pages,
  • a change in information architecture,
  • a design or interface change,
  • new functionality.

The list can also be adapted for the launch of an intranet or extranet.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to www.RandallCraig.com to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
www.RandallCraig.com

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