The Complete Website Launch Checklist: 10 Things To Do Before, During & After Launch
Launching a website is an exciting time and takes a lot of planning, troubleshooting and collaboration across multiple teams in order to be a success. You want to make sure you cover all your bases, work through as many what-if scenarios as possible and be ready come launch day.
Eventually it’s all about the quality of the product you put out there. So if you want to make sure your website is high quality and is properly functional, using a high level website launch checklist across all your teams from web developers to QA analysts is the way to go.
Prior To Website Launch
1. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
We've put this as step one on our website launch checklist but in reality you start with excellent communication at the beginning and need to carry that throughout your entire pre, during and post website launch phases. Talk to the stakeholders, share information and make sure everyone is not only aware but also on board with all launch details. You don't want the launch to derail merely because of a communication fail.
2. A well rested team will bring their A-game:
Make sure your team is well rested. You do not want a group of exhausted individuals coming in on launch day. Your planning for the unexpected so if an issue should come up you want your team to be well rested enough to efficiently and quickly resolve the issue. Also a tired team is likely to make errors/mistakes which could further delay the website launch process.
3. Commit to a code freeze
Set a point in time beyond which no changes will be permitted to the source code. Your web developer can help you decide when is a good time to schedule a code freeze. This ensures that the existing code that works correctly will continue to do so and not be subject to modifications or enhancements.
4. Set up a Production website:
You're going to essentially setup a test environment where QA analysts and other testing users can view, navigate and test the website in a real world environment. which mimics the website.
- Your web developer can control your initial site audience either through the use of a different URL, restricting access to specific IP addresses or by making the website password protected
- Ask your initial users to properly navigate through all the site functions and content to provide research on items that need to be improved or corrected. You want to make sure that at this point each and every element is tested
- All links should be active, all forms should be correctly working and there should be zero error messages popping up for any potential users
- Once you’re comfortable the site is 100% you can formally launch to your complete user base
Website Launch Time
5. Launch on a Tuesday or mid-week:
Your best bet is a Tuesday because teams are settled in, engaged and ready to check in. It also gives you a decent amount of time before the weekend to address any issues that may come up.
- Monday’s are the start of the week and most teams are getting in to the groove and setting up for their week. You may not have the starting momentum you need on a Monday
- Friday’s are the end of the week, involve closing of weekly tasks and essentially a wrap up. In addition research shows employees are less engaged at the end of the week and in need of rest. If you make the error of choosing Friday as your launch day not only do you run the risk of potentially carrying the launch in to the weekend if issues arise, you also may be forced to rush key launch processes in an attempt to hurry the process along.
6. All hands on deck:
A successful launch is essentially when all the individual pieces come together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. In order to make sure your website launch is that perfect completion and all the puzzle pieces line up 100% you need to make sure the launch is scheduled at a time when the entire team is available and involved.
7. Minimize Any Downtime
Focus on resolving any issues as quickly and efficiently as possible to keep things moving and everything within the project timelines. Identify key players who can help move things along and provide expertise for specific problem solving.
Post Website Launch
Immediately post launch make sure all necessary team members are on call and available to ensure everything goes as planned and any issues can be dealt with ASAP to minimize downtime.
9. Spread the Word
Once you're up and running start spreading the world via email, newsletters, social media, press releases and your blog. You want to make an impact and make sure people know your up and running.
Never forget to acknowledge the people behind the machine. Get the whole team to spend some time together, talk about the highs and lows of the project and get ready to work on the next project.