Going Live

Website Review Process Before Going Live

 

I like to think of websites as public spaces that people enter, reconnoiter and interact with. In fact Google refers to websites as web “properties” making them more similar to office buildings that have an address (URL) that you can visit.

 

Using this building analogy, it’s important that your building be ready to open before the public arrives. This includes building inspections, all the legal requirements such as terms and conditions, use policies, copyright notices and contact information.

 

Below we have developed a “Go Live Punch List” for you to use to prepare your site for going live. Please review each item to see that it can be checked off the list before your site goes live.

 

And like a commercial building, it is important that you test everything on your website before announcing a grand opening or “website launch” to the public.  Arriving at a building that is not yet ready to be visited does not make a good impression on your audience; so please plan ahead and give yourself time to test everything first.  I recommend putting together a small “User Group” to conduct a “User Test” before launching any website. We can assist you with this process.

Go Live Punch List

 

  • All plugins up to date and compatible with current version of WordPress.
  • Remove any “unused” plugins
  • Current version of WordPress installed.
  • Theme up to date and compatible with current version of WordPress.
  • Child theme installed if any parent theme code was altered (so theme updates will not break the site).
  • Time zone set to “CST”.
  • User accounts and roles properly set (Editors, Contributors).
  • User Activity Tracking installed and configured.
  • Permalinks properly set and navigation links work throughout the site.
  • Commenting Disabled.
  • Under “Reading Settings” the “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” box is not checked.
  • Google Analytics account setup and tracking code installed and stakeholders added to be able to view reports.
  • Website checked and compatible with modern browsers (IE, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera
  • Website checked for “Responsive” design and mobile usability. Test site here – Mobile-Friendly Test
  • Comment or other HTML forms tested. Form data sent and received by recipients without issue.
  • No sensitive data is being collected, such as Credit Card numbers or Social Security Numbers (no PCI compliance issues).
  • Website proofed for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors.
  • Images and videos checked for any copyright issues.
  • Images optimized so they download fast and size is small enough to accommodate mobile devices. All files under 450 KB.
  • Image Optimizer installed, configured and “Bulk Optimized” has been run.
  • Imsanity installed and set to 1920 x 1080 HDTV size.
  • All pages “Search Engine Optimized”.
  • Favicon displays correctly and is the appropriate brand.
  • Copyright notice in footer displays correctly and uses JavaScript to automatically display the correct year.
  • Company “Terms of Use” and “Privacy Policy” pages added and current.
  • Security scan has been run.
  • Backup plugin installed and setup along with storage space. Site restoration available.
  • DNS is correctly pointing the domain name or sub-domain name to the website.
  • Check both the “www” version of your URL and the “non-www” version to see that the “non-www” forwards all traffic to the “www” version (for Google Analytics).
  • A person for ongoing site maintenance and ongoing site monitoring has been selected.  This should be the same person designated in the Hosting Space Request Form.
  • Launch announcement planned and ready to implement.
  • Website speed tested at Pingdom and GTmetrix.
  • No outstanding 508 Compliance (usability and accessibility) issues are unresolved.

Helpful Tips

 

  • Don’t go live on Fridays. If something needs to be fixed, no one will be around on the weekend to fix it.
  • Domain names take 2-4 hours to propagate throughout the web. If you have a sales campaign or press release attached to a website, it would be best to have the site up and running a week before those dates so that any bugs can be worked out.