July 22, 2013

Crossing Your T's and Dotting Your I's: Countdown to Launch Checklist

I'€™m a list maker. A big one. There'€™s just something satisfying about crossing items off a list when they'€™re complete. And definitely when it comes to creating a website, there are many opportunities to create lists in every project we do. While both the design and development phases have their own specific and unique requirements, ultimately at the end is when we need to triple check we have included all of the essential elements to make your website or application shine.

So today I thought I would list some of the more important non-technical items you may want to check yourself before you go live with your project. You only get to make that first impression once.

Spelling & Punctuation Errors -€“ oh man, can they ever be sneaky and try to slip by you. It never hurts to have a second or third pair of eyes read over ALL content within your site, including your auto-responder email messages.

Remove All Testing Content - if your site or app required testing content during the development phase, make sure to remove all traces of this material so not to confuse your viewers.

Ensure All Hyper-Links Are Connected - make sure to check all links lead to their correct destinations within your website and out to external locations such as social media pages.

Check Out The View On All Browsers -€“ Unfortunately not all browsers will display your new website the same way - so it'€™s important to know if any areas of your site are not rendering properly in a specific browser. Be sure to check out your site on Chrome, Safari, Opera, FireFox, IE 8 & 9, or any other browsers you think your audience may be using on a daily basis.

Page Titles & Metatags -€“ Don'€™t forget to take advantage of customizing your page titles and meta-description tags to match the page'€™s content. As much as optimizing these for SEO purposes do not carry the same weight they once did a couple of years ago, they still help people learn about what your webpage provides in search results.

Analytics ID/Code Insertion -€“ it'€™s important to measure your site'€™s ongoing success so implementing analytics code from companies like Google will help you stay focused on what matters -€“ results!

Test your Forms -€“ start your site off on the right foot by ensuring your lines of communication are open and working from the get go. Check that your forms send to the correct receiving destination(s) and all required fields validate properly.

Optimize your Images -€“ even with faster internet speeds, nothing is more of a drag then waiting for a page to load, so help your viewers out by ensuring your images have been reduced in size as much as possible without compromising the image's quality.

Of course this is just a quick top-level review and there's more that can be done in conjunction with your developer to help prepare for the big day, especially when dealing with a Drupal site. There are some great resources online that help detail items to cover in a pre-launch checklist; these include a great general list by Box UK and a recent webinar by Acquia.