Eleventh Hour Checklist to help a PM before launching a new website

It’s a stressful time for PM’s on the eve of launch. Accordingly, Alisdair Blackman has devised a simple list or ‘checklist’ to help all PM’s check over the project prior to release/launch/go-live.

Project Checklist Prior to Website Launch

Standards and Validation

  • Accessibility
  • HTML validation
  • JavaScript validation
  • CSS validation

Search Engine Visibility, SEO and Metrics

  • Page Titles are important; ensure they make sense and have relevant keywords in them.
  • Create metadata descriptions for important pages.
  • Check for canonical domain issues (e.g. variations in links to http://site.com.au http://www.site.com.au http://www.site.com.au/index.html should be reduced to a single consistent style)
  • Ensure content is marked-up semantically/correctly.
  • Check for target keyword usage in general content
  • Check format (user/search engine friendliness) of URLs
  • Set up Analytics, FeedBurner, and any other packages for measuring ongoing success
  • Create an XML Sitemap
  • Configure Google Webmaster Console and Yahoo! Site Explorer

Functional Testing

  • Check all bespoke/complex functionality
  • Check search functionality (including relevance of results)
  • Check on common variations of browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome etc.), version (6, 7, 2.2, 3.1 etc.) and platform (Windows, OSX, Linux)
  • Check on common variations of Screen Resolution
  • Test all forms (e.g. contact us, blog comments), including anti-spam features, response emails/text, etc.
  • Test without JavaScript, Flash, and other plug-ins
  • Check all external links are valid

Security/Risk

  • Configure backup schedule, and test recovery from backup.
  • Protect any sensitive pages (e.g. administration area)
  • Use robots.txt where necessary
  • Security/Penetration test
  • Turn-off verbose error reporting
  • Check disk space/capacity
  • Set-up email/SMS monitoring/alerts (e.g. for errors, server warnings); consider internal and external monitoring services

Performance

  • Load test Check image optimisation
  • Check and implement caching where necessary
  • Check total page size/download time Minify/compress static (JavaScript/HTML/CSS) files
  • Optimise your CSS: use short image paths; make full-use ‘cascading’ nature of CSS, etc.
  • Check correct database indexing
  • Check configuration at every level (Web server, Database, any other software e.g. Content Management System)
  • Configure server-based logging/measurement tools (e.g. database/web server logging)

Finishing Touches

  • Create custom 404/error pages
  • Create a favicon
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