Website Pre-Launch Checklist
Updated January 2015
While ultimately launching a site is as simple as “pushing a button,” significant and appropriate planning is necessary to ensure a seamless transition to a new web presence. In particular, as the site domain is intended to change, proper planning becomes even more critical.
Below is a list of key technical tasks included in Go Live planning when doing it The Dovetail Way.
- Domain Review – audit all domains that are or will be used for the site
- DNS Review – analyze existing DNS records and recommend new ones as needed for additional domains
- SSL Review – determine if SSL Certificates are used for the site, what type and recommend new ones as appropriate Existing vs new site page review – determine if page addresses will be changing as a result of the new site design and create 301 redirect lists to ensure access to comparable new pages
- DNS Preparation – prepare DNS as needed for new site, ensure management is identified and access is verified to allow for changes at go live
- New Domain and SSL Acquisition – obtain any new domains or SSL certificates and ensure they are setup and installed prior to launch
- Access – Ensure users that will be responsible for the site post-launch have access to the areas and functions they will be responsible for. Ensure they have tested and verified their access.
- Training – if someone other than those who built the site will be responsible post live then arrange for training so that all users will be comfortable and ready to go.
- Staging to Production Planning – where is the new site being built? Will it go live in the same location or need to be migrated? Develop a plan accordingly.
- Content Freeze – All text, images, and content for the new site should be finalized in advance of approving the go live window. Agreeing on when to stop making changes until after the go live is complete is best. Consideration should be given to the type of content being published on the site and how frequently it needs to be updated. The less frequent the more time you have to give final approval and launch.
- Go Live Window creation – determine when the site will be going live, what expected downtime may be, and prepare for post live support (as a rule of thumb The Dovetail Way would advise go live windows occur between the hours of 10:00 am and 3:00 pm on Mondays through Thursdays to ensure optimal pre-live, go live and post live support.
- Approval and Recovery Planning – regardless of all the planning unexpected errors or issues may arise. Deciding in advance how long troubleshooting will be done before returning back to the original site or reducing the scope of the launch helps should critical issues arise. Additionally, who will make those decisions should be determined and clear before the Go Live Window.