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Don't Miss a Thing With Our New-Website Pre-Launch Checklists

by Tim Rimington | July 18, 2012

It’s not uncommon for new websites to be ‘sent live’ with pages marked ‘under construction’ and products missing important images – and so on. Launching a website ‘half baked’ sends the wrong message to new visitors and increases the risk of losing initial visitors forever due to frustration.

Beyond design, and with a content focus, here's a comprehensive checklist of tasks to help you prepare your new website for launch.

Top 10 must-do tasks before launching an online shop

  1. Payment methods determined and set up, i.e. PayPal, credit card, EFT, etc.
  2. Shipping rates determined and set up within CMS
  3. Page, product and Meta data content entered for every page
  4. Automated customer order email notification text entered into CMS
  5. Create Google Analytics account and enter Analytics code into CMS
  6. Create Google Webmaster tools account
  7. Ensure web designer has created, and uploaded, xml sitemap for SEO
  8. Prepare list of blog subjects and determine publish frequency
  9. Establish relevant social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
  10. Gather up existing or new domain name registry key and password information

Web page checklist:

  • Customer service: contact and information regarding problem solving and FAQs
  • Refunds & Warranty: your policies and procedures
  • Shipping & Returns: shipping rates, returns policies and information
  • About us: discussion about your organisation and what you provide
  • Contact us: phone number (omitting a phone number can impact credibility) and address including Google map
  • Privacy policy: if you intending collecting email addresses or other user information, you should provide this page
  • Terms & Conditions: general website use terms and conditions

Page content checklist

  • Up to 450 words per page, with content broken down into sections where applicable
  • 'Weighted' keywords within page heading/s and paragraph/s
  • Correct use of page Headings and heading tags (‘Heading 1’, ‘Heading 2’, etc.)
  • Use of bold type emphasis to highlight key messages across all pages
  • Use of bullet points (limit to 5-7 points per group) to aid users who ‘skim read’

SEO Meta data checklist

  • Unique Page Title for each page describing content on the page, not the website as a whole
  • Unique Meta description for each page describing content on the page, not the website as a whole
  • Unique Meta keywords for each page describing content on the page, not the website as a whole

Shop & e-commerce checklist

  • Shop categories: brief introduction and supporting images for every category page
  • Shop products: detailed copy including specifications, dimensions, etc. and supporting images
  • Every product has a unique identification/code
  • Every product has a price
  • Credit card merchant account approved by preferred bank Bank authorisation key entered into CMS preferences
  • Alternative payment methods nominated
  • Direct bank deposit BSB and Account numbers entered into CMS
  • GST and taxation preferences configured
  • Custom email notifications message entered into CMS using a 'friendly customer service tone'
  • Gift wrapping preferences set
  • Countries selected for preferred shipping destinations
  • Shipping preferences configured within CMS, i.e. shipping rates, flat rates, etc.
  • Product weight and shipping preferences configured per product or globally across entire shop
  • Cross-sell links nominated for every product
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