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Website Launch Checklist

Congratulations! You've created a website and are almost ready to launch it into the world. This is a website checklist to help you with a few to-dos and things to review on the website you built before you publish it.

What is the Website Launch Checklist?

A website launch checklist is a comprehensive list of tasks and checks that need to be completed before a website can be successfully launched or relaunched. It serves as a roadmap to ensure that every critical aspect of the website, from technical functionalities to content and user experience, has been thoroughly reviewed, tested, and optimized. The checklist aims to prevent common issues that could detract from the website's effectiveness or cause problems for users.

Why Do You Need a Website Launch Checklist?

A website launch checklist is essential for several reasons, ensuring a smooth and successful rollout of a new or redesigned website. Here are some key reasons why you need one:

  • Quality Assurance: A checklist helps you systematically review every aspect of your website, from content to functionality, ensuring that everything works as intended and is error-free. This includes checking for broken links and typos and ensuring all multimedia elements load correctly.

  • User Experience (UX): Ensuring your site is easy to navigate and user-friendly is critical for retaining visitors. A checklist can include items related to site speed, mobile responsiveness, and accessibility standards, helping to provide a positive experience for all users.

  • SEO Optimization: A checklist can help ensure your site is optimized for search engines, improving your site's visibility and ranking. This includes tasks like setting up proper meta tags, creating a sitemap, and ensuring all content is optimized for keywords relevant to your audience.

  • Security: Ensuring your website is secure against potential threats is crucial. A checklist can include items related to SSL certificates, data protection measures, and other security protocols to protect your site and your users' information.

  • Compliance and Legal Requirements: Depending on your industry and location, your site may need to comply with legal requirements, such as GDPR for websites in or serving users in the EU. A checklist can help ensure you're not overlooking any legal obligations.

  • Social Media and Marketing Integration: For your site to be an effective part of your marketing strategy, it needs to be integrated with your social media and marketing efforts. A checklist can include tasks related to social media links, email signup forms, and other elements that support your marketing goals.

  • Testing Across Browsers and Devices: Your website might look and function differently across various browsers and devices. A comprehensive checklist includes testing your website's performance and appearance on multiple platforms to ensure a consistent user experience.

  • Backup and Recovery Plans: Before going live, it's crucial to have a backup and recovery plan in place. A checklist can help ensure you have a system for regular backups and a plan for restoring your site in case of data loss or a security breach.

  • Feedback Mechanism: After launch, you'll want to gather user feedback to make continuous improvements. Including this in your checklist ensures you have mechanisms like surveys or contact forms to collect and act on user insights.

Using a website launch checklist, you can systematically address these critical elements, reducing the risk of post-launch issues and setting the stage for a successful online presence.



Website Pre-Publish Checklist — Before You Publish Website

Before publishing the website, check the Website Pre-Publish Checklist to ensure a positive user experience for visitors.

Test Your Website

Find Your 404's  

A 404 error can happen on your site if a browser tries to connect to a page that doesn't exist or isn't linked correctly.

Did You Know? You can create and customize your own error pages. Our Bluehost Error Pages guide will show you how.

This is an example of a 404 Error/404 Not Found page:

website-page-404-error-example

If you're worried about 404's, you can install a plugin that will crawl your site and email you an alert when it happens. A popular plugin for this is 404 to 301.

Try your Emails, Forms,
and
Transactions

Make sure emails are going out and being received and that contact, comment, and opt-in forms are working.

Get Mobile
and
Test Browsers
 

Try your website on other popular browsers (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari, etc.) and a few mobile devices, including tablets. Check all parts of your website, such as:

Make sure everything looks and works correctly according to your design.

Here are great resources, Bluehost blogs explaining 'Why web accessibility is important' and the 'Impact of accessibility plugins on SEO' for your website visitors.

Optimize Your Website

Title and Tagline  

Your website title and the website tagline.

Both are optional but strongly recommended because perform the following:
  • Help your customers (and search engines) discover your website.
  • The features lives inside WordPress under Settings / General.
  • If your theme does not automatically display the tagline, inside WordPress on the left, go through Appearance / Customize and check the Display Site Title and Tagline box.

For tips and to learn more, check out our blog article Google's Title Tag Rewrites: What It Means for Your Website

Contact Info and Email  

Setting up a contact form for email is one way to ensure customers can contact you without directly listing your email address and opening yourself up to spam or phishing attacks.

Here's one of our blog posts on How To Create a Contact Us Page.

  • Choose a free plugin (WPForms Lite, Ninja Forms) if you just need basic features, or look at a paid plugin like WPForms Pro or Formidable Forms for more options and features.
Analytics Website Stats  

Your website statistics help you track your website's performance by looking at the numbers.

Things like what your visitors view, where your audience is coming from, what they read (popular pages and least viewed pages), what they buy, and when they leave. Your website gives you an advantage and insight into how to market your website.

  • If you want to use WordPress for analytics features, your dashboard homepage has a button for setting up features like MonsterInsights
  • Whichever analytics plugin you choose, install it before you launch so you can see your progress.
SEO
Search Engine Optimization
 

Search engines can be an excellent traffic source, so you want to make sure your site is optimized for them.

Ensure you're following SEO (Search Engine Optimization) best practices, like having good keyword density and using meta descriptions.

Email  

A professional email helps build customer trust and reinforces your brand.

Website Footer  

A website footer sits at the bottom of each of your pages. The most common things in the footer are copyright information, links to your privacy policy (information you're collecting from email sign-ups, etc.), terms of use, and contact information.

You can also add:
  • Navigation links to your most relevant content.
  • Keep it minimal, or surprise people with a short, custom message about your brand.
  • Some premium themes provide extra customization, such as expanding the footer to insert a short bio or an opt-in to your email list.

Make sure everything looks correct according to your design.

This is an example of a website footer, it is located at the bottom of website highlighting important pages (for example: Contact Us, and About Us).

website-example-footer-bottom-of-website

Located on our Bluehost blog, no matter the tool used to build your website (WordPress, Website Builder, WYSIWYG, manual coding, etc.), here's an excellent article on what to include in your website footer.: Learn How To Edit a Footer in WordPress + What To Include in a Footer
Spam Blocker  

Not only does a spam blocker save you from annoying (albeit sometimes funny) comments and emails, but it also keeps your website clean in terms of SEO. If your website is indexed and found to have spam, you can be dropped in the search rankings. If the amount of spam is severe, your site can even be blacklisted on search engines.

Two popular free spam blockers are Akismet and Stop Spammers. It's a good idea to research different plugins to figure out which works best with your website (and your other plugins).

Backup Website  

The easiest way to make sure you're backing up your website is by automating it through a plugin.

Website Security  

You want to think about security not just because of what can happen to your website and data but what can happen to your customers' data (especially if you have an eCommerce site).

An SSL certificate protects data as it moves through your website, and it lets your customers know your site has an added level of security. On top of that, malware scanners like SiteLock proactively scan your site for malware and remove threats.

ssl-lock-image-at-top-browser-url-example

Is Your Website Secure?

image-security-lock
Note:Security is important for you and your website. Here's a great Bluehost guide to help.: Basic Site Security Checklist.

Personal Data — Any information you collect that relates to an identified or identifiable natural person is most likely considered "personal data." The rules are based on your location. You can find out more below:

Regulations regarding personal data are based on your location, which we recommend you view below.:

Logo | Image  

If you want to build your brand, a logo is a great way to increase awareness and create a visual connection with your customers.

  • You can even add your logo as a favicon (the small image that shows up in browser tabs) to your website.
  • You can create and design your own using free logo makers, and you can generate one with AI-powered tools or pay to have a logo designed for you.
Need help with images? View our Bluehost guide for help.: Troubleshooting: Images not Displaying on Website

Delete Extras

Sample Content
Delete any sample content on your site (for example, the WordPress “Hello World” post and “Sample Page”). Leaving those will create duplicate content and hurt your SEO.
 
Default Title and Tagline
Sometimes WordPress has a default title and tagline written in for your website (“Welcome” and “Just another WordPress site”). You most likely already changed the title, but make sure you change the tagline as well, or delete their default tagline and leave it blank if you don't want a tagline.
Final Thoughts
Get rid of these for now. You'll learn, iterate, and make your website better as you go. If you still have a lot of changes to make, get your website to a satisfactory spot, and publish it with a message that lets people know it’s a work in progress.

Website Post-Launch Checklist — After You Publish Website

After publishing the website, view the Website Launch Checklist.

Website Launch Checklist

Re-Test Your Website  

Make sure every element and feature you have added to your website is working properly.

  • Re-test and re-click on every part of your website.
  • Test your links/hyperlinks, images, navigation bar/menu, pages properly loading with the content, online forms (such as Contact Us forms), etc.
  • Test your website in a different browsers (Chrome, Edge, or Firefox).
Email
After you create your email addresses, send a test email, especially emails attached to other features, such as online forms. For more help, view our guide Email Account Management.
Social Media  

Check any social media hyperlinks and icons you have added to your website. Click and check each social media link functions properly and routes to the correct social media page or feed.

SEO Fundamentals
  • We recommend viewing this article and bookmark this page Bluehost Beginners Guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This resource contains a list of reminders you will want to review repeatedly as you maintain and edit your website to adjust your SEO and monitor your website stats.
  • A few months after your website launch, regularly check your rankings using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tools and features. Searching on a search engine your own business or domain is a start, but not enough. SEO tools will provide other detailed results so you can make adjustments to your website keyword ranking to improve your SEO ranking over time.
Keep Your Website Up To Date  

Keep your website scripts, templates, theme, and plugins, up to date. No matter what you use to build your website, many scripts or tools used to build a website, include methods (some easy as one-click) to update your website. Keeping a website up to date preventing less vulnerabilities from website injections, such as malware.

  • Re-test and re-click on every part of your website.
  • Test your links/hyperlinks, images, navigation bar/menu, pages properly loading with the content, online forms (such as Contact Us forms), etc.
  • Test your website in a different browsers (Chrome, Edge, or Firefox).
Website Security
Website Backup Tool Functioning  

After you publish the website the first time or make changes to your website and re-publish additional times, login to your backup/restore tool and make sure you're website backup tool is actually running and backing up the website.

For any backup/restore tools, log in and review the settings. One popular backup/restore tool we offer is CodeGuard. If you have CodeGuard, make sure you:

 

Summary

To ensure your website makes a good first impression, before you publish your website, it's recommended to review your website all the way through testing all parts and all pages of your website. This website pre-launch checklist will help you check the fundamentals of your website before you publish and go online.

After you publish, the website checklist will provide tips to make sure all parts of the live website function properly, including important functions such as backup and security tools. If you are building a website, re-building, or updating your website with any of our Web Hosting, WordPress Hosting, Online Store plans, or other servers we offer, test and view all components of your website. Anything on your pages (links/hyperlinks, navigation bar/menu, images/logos, forms, emails, test orders, invoices if you are e-commerce, backups, etc.). Some website building methods can hurt your business's SEO and your website's reputation.

Keep up to date viewing this Bluehost blog post, 7 Outdated Web Design Trends You Need To Ditch, and Why and for professional SEO help, check out Bluehost's Digital Marketing services.

If you need further assistance, feel free to contact us via Chat or Phone:

  • Chat Support - While on our website, you should see a CHAT bubble in the bottom right-hand corner of the page. Click anywhere on the bubble to begin a chat session.
  • Phone Support -
    • US: 888-401-4678
    • International: +1 801-765-9400

You may also refer to our Knowledge Base articles to help answer common questions and guide you through various setup, configuration, and troubleshooting steps.

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