Top 10 Things You Forget to Check Before a Website Launch

I'm obsessed with smooth launches. The fewer things you need to do to launch, the fewer things will go wrong. Did you forget any of these common gotchas?

#1: Configure Google Analytics

Setting up live analytics isn't always top of the mind, but marketing will not be happy if you forget this.

#2: Delete Test Content

Search just about any site for 'test,' 'dummy,' or 'lorem ipsum' and you'll find out how few remember to clean up after themselves. Much more dangerous than test content are test user accounts, which often have very weak passwords.

#3: Test over SSL

Avoid launch surprises by using SSL on your development environments from the beginning.

#4: Test On Microsoft Browsers

While most web developers are allergic to Microsoft projects, chances are the top stakeholders are on some unsupported version of IE. Don't get caught by surprise.

#5: Change the DNS TTL

The worst part of launching a redesign is waiting for the DNS change to propagate. Be smart by configuring the TTL down to five minutes ahead of time. This will also give you a chance to make sure you have valid credentials and are familiar with the current configuration.

#6: Open up Robots.txt

Did you block all crawlers in your robots.txt for development?

#7: Check broken links

Have the editors been adding lots of last minute content? Including absolute links with the development site's domain is a common mistake.

#8: Configure Outgoing Emails

Most sites send out some outgoing emails, perhaps to notify someone of a new message from the contact form or to reset an editor's password. Getting these emails caught in your spam box is a very common post-launch issue.

#9: Check Web FONT Settings

I personally am not a huge font person, but I've learned that I might be the only one not obsessing over serifs and sans thereof. If your web font service isn't configured to allow the site's live domain, people will be upset.

#10: Make a Plan for the Legacy Site

The old site you're replacing is usually the last thing on anyone's mind for launch, but as soon as the new site is live you're going to need it for something. Make sure there's a plan for moving the site to something like behind credentials everyone knows.