05.23.22 - Development
Go/No-Go. Your Website’s Pre-Launch Checklist
SpaceX meticulously designs and builds rockets, analyzing every square inch in painstaking detail. Then, it all comes down to the launch.
The margin for error during launch is so small that, no matter how well-designed the rocket is, an oversight usually means one thing: crash and burn.
Launching a website is pretty similar. OK, maybe we’re not rocket scientists… but we do know a thing or two about a successful launch 🚀
Launching a website is a carefully planned, highly choreographed undertaking. In a previous blog, we talked about how the entire process is collaborative from beginning to end. In this piece, we hone in on the critical phase between final dev and website launch: Go/No-Go. It’s only a matter of weeks or mere days, but it’s a make-or-break stage for your website.
The length of the Go/No-Go phase can depend on the scope of the project, the size of the company, and the amount of regulation and red tape to navigate. But the smoothest launches always require a true partnership and a team effort.
There is a lot that needs to happen between dev approval and officially launching the site: Testing, scanning for security issues, coordinating the launch with key stakeholders, ensuring ADA compliance and compliance for cookies, and final tests for integration with key client systems (CRMs, payment and shipping systems, analytics, and more).
To make the specifics more approachable, we’ve put together a pre-launch checklist:
✅ Checked cross browser
✅ Configured 301 redirects from the old site
✅ Added Favicon
✅ Created 404/403 pages
✅ Generated xml sitemap
✅ Added proper social media text and images
✅ Added Google Tag Manager, Analytics, Event Tracking
✅ Created analytics report
✅ Configured and optimized caching
✅ Enabled image optimization
✅ Optimized for PageSpeed score
✅ Added outdated browser fallback message
✅ Passed ADA Compliance
✅ Passed Security Compliance
✅ Passed Cookie Compliance
✅ Established all policies (privacy, terms, etc)
✅ Updated SMTP
That’s how to execute a flawless launch. But what can derail a successful launch?
Less-than-stellar launches usually involve miscommunications or assumptions.
Heading into the critical Go/No-Go phase, be sure to speak in specifics about who is in charge of what. Assumptions don’t just make us all look bad… they make for bad websites.
In terms of specific tasks, here are some things that often get overlooked:
- Informing all stakeholders. Here are some common stakeholders you should be thinking about: company leadership, customer-support employees, IT and logistics, fulfillment partners, customers, and investors.
- Deciding how the website will be hosted. Quick note: Domain Name Service (DNS) tells the internet what server your website is hosted on. It’s not uncommon for agencies or IT personnel to overlook settings here (such as the TTL/”time to live” setting which tells the internet how often to check the domain). A detailed DNS migration plan should be in writing and agreed upon prior to launch.
- Deciding who are the right people to receive contact form submissions
- A post-launch website maintenance plan (we provide CMS training)
- Cookie policies and compliance (We often use cookieyes.com or onetrust.com)
- Ensuring SEO rankings will not suffer (redirects, keyword strategy, proper URLs, and more)
- Legal policies and reviews
- ADA Compliance
- Analytics logins, including event/conversion tracking
3… 2… 1…
The countdown to launch is an exciting but high-pressure time.
Make sure you’re familiar with the launch process. Do yourself a favor and ensure that everyone’s on the same page. We always help out here by supporting direct communication through calls, video chats, Slack, or email. But it takes buy-in from all parties.
Not to say we’re Elon Musk or anything, but we’ve seen our share of successful launches and we’d love to talk about supporting yours.