Website Launch Checklist: 50 Important Things to Do Before (and After) Publishing

Updated: Apr 21

Creating a website is an exciting task, and launching it even more. It's a rewarding moment to see your website - a culmination of strategic planning and design - go live. That said, you should do everything in your power to ensure that it is near perfect when you share it with the world.

When it comes to website design, mistakes are made, tasks are unfinished, and sometimes the technology simply does not live up to our expectations. For these and more reasons, following a website launch checklist is a great way to ensure you have covered the entire ground before clicking the "publish" button.

From updating your design to ensuring a great user experience and performance, keep reading for our curated website launch checklist, including 50 key things to do before, during and after publishing your site.

Website launch checklist

Here are the 50 best things to do before, during and after you click "publish". As you read, you will see that our website launch checklist is divided into three parts, depending on the stage you are in creating your website.

  1. Analyze what needs to change

  2. Check the speed of the website

  3. Examine competitors and industry trends

  4. Identify your goals

  5. List action points

  6. Choose a site builder

  7. Choose a website host

  8. Enter a release date

  9. Learn the steps to build a website

  10. Decide on a website layout

  11. Develop design elements

  12. Create your web pages

  13. Optimize photos

  14. Include your logo

  15. Integrate analytics software

  16. Buy a domain name

  17. Design a website under construction

  18. Arrange strategic CTAs

  19. Add an email registration form

  20. Polish design on your mobile website

  21. Optimize SEO on the page

  22. Connect to your social accounts

  23. Connect or transfer your domain

  24. Update copyright year

  25. Proofreading written content

  26. Test out forms

  27. Link logo to website

  28. Review your design

  29. Get feedback from a friend

  30. Look for broken links

  31. Test out UX

  32. Scan for availability

  33. Update contact information

  34. Set up live chat

  35. Customize 404 pages

  36. Write a privacy statement

  37. Plan SEO optimization outside the page

  38. Organize the list of contacts

  39. Prepare social media accounts for promotion

  40. Click publish

  41. Back up your design

  42. Perform a usability test

  43. Check website security with SSL certificate

  44. Submit your site for indexing

  45. Confirm analyzes

  46. Test the speed of the new website

  47. Promote your site

  48. Outline a performance tracking plan

  49. Make it multilingual

  50. Make a maintenance plan

Website Checklist Part One: Map Your Website

Before you start designing, you should map out how to create your website. Here are twenty tasks you will not want to overlook in this creative phase, from choosing the right website builder to making sure your items are on the brand.

Some of these are only relevant when redesigning a website, which will still come in handy in the future.

01. Analyze what needs to change

If you are redesigning a website, the first step should be to understand the scope of the project. Go through your website and make a list of things that need to change. This can include anything from visual to broken links that adversely affect performance.

02. Check the speed of the website

One of the great things about looking at website design again is the chance to go back and understand how to optimize content for the highest performance. Run a speed test to find out what is holding back your site's speed and incorporate this feedback into your updates.

03. Examine competitors and industry trends

Doing an analysis of websites within your industry is well worth the effort. This task can help you discover popular visual and technical features that will enhance your design, making this task well worth the effort. Equally important is to ensure that it is unique, and gives your target group a new, better experience than the competition.

It is also a good idea to research which web design trends are coming onto the scene. Being familiar with the elements that are trending in the web design world will give you new ideas, and including these features on your website will make a unique impression on visitors.

04. Identify your goals

Whether you are redesigning your website or building one from scratch, the next thing you should check off the list is to identify your goals for doing so. For example, if it is an online portfolio, one goal would be to get more customers; For a business website, these goals may include establishing an online presence.

Of course, if you are redesigning your website, you have even more to work with. Your goals for this project will also focus on improving visual language, performance and user experience.

05. List action points

Understanding your goals will naturally lead you to think about the practical steps needed to complete the launch of your site. A detailed list of action points will help you stay responsible for the tasks at hand, while helping you manage and track them.

We recommend using this website launch checklist as a startup guide - but as you get sober into your design, you will want to add more details. Including details such as dates, item descriptions and who is assigned the task (especially important when working with a team) will help you reach your goals effectively.

06. Choose a website builder

Finding the best website builder for your personal and professional needs is a must. There is a wide range of these platforms today, suitable for users with different experiences - from beginners who have never created a website before, to professional designers.

For example, a CMS platform like Wix will connect data from your site to a server, making the entire site launch process more streamlined and user-friendly for beginners. Examine the options, think about how much it costs to create a website on each platform, which of them have the features you need, and look for user reviews before you decide.

07. Select a web site host

In order for your final product to appear on the internet, you also need to decide how to host your website. This will ensure that it is stored on an online site for visitors around the world to access. Known as servers, these sites can be rented and acquired through a web hosting provider, or built locally.

Many website building platforms include free web hosting. Like Wix, these platforms will typically include automatic setup and be protected by security monitoring.

08. Enter a publication date

A deadline is a lifeline. Make sure you do not jump into the process of creating (or restoring) your site without setting yourself time-oriented goals. In addition to setting a release date, make sure you have dates to have a draft website ready, get feedback from your friends, and perform a usability test.

09. Learn the steps to build a website

With website builders like Wix, and with many pre-designed templates at your disposal, it's easy to start creating your website safely without preparation. But even if you have the basics covered, it does not hurt to get some tips before you begin.

There are many resources and guides online on how to build a website from scratch that you can review to refresh or expand your knowledge,

10. Decide on a website layout

Planning the layout of the site is like laying the foundation, since it will determine the arrangement of visual elements on each page. The best website layout for your design will be determined by a number of factors: the goals of your website, the message you want to convey to your viewers, and the kind of content you want to include.

11. Develop design elements

When driving the spectrum from the color scheme of your website to your choice of font - and even more sophisticated design elements such as motion - all visual aspects of your website should be taken into consideration when ticking to-do items from the website launch list:

  • Photos: Have high quality photos and videos ready. Nothing is worse for your appearance than poor quality photos.

  • Website color scheme: Choose a color scheme that represents your brand or otherwise creates the effect you want. If you go the minimalist route, you may want to stick to classic black and white, but bold colors can always give the right statement.

  • Font: Exactly the same as color, your choice of font should be considered when planning your website. You can change your mind when you see the design of the site as a whole, but it's a good start at this point to have some font styles in mind.

12. Create your web pages

Once you've secured the basic visual guidelines for your site, it's time to start building your individual pages. While the number of pages will depend on the type of website you are creating, here are some basic websites you should consider:

  • Website: Since this is probably the first thing visitors will see, you should aim for a website design that is clean, organized and eye-catching. It should clarify who you are and what you do, and serve as a starting point for visitors to navigate through your site.

  • About us: A room to share your story, values, methods and any other information that defines your brand.

  • Contact page: When visitors want to reach out, they should be able to easily reach you. Be sure to include a contact page with your phone number, mailing address, corporate email address, and social media accounts.

13. Optimize images

When it comes to photos, quality is everything. Make sure your photos are the correct file type, as this will affect the size and quality. Since Wix supports multiple image formats, you should not encounter any problems.

Pro tip: If you upload a large image, just to get it displayed very little on your site, it is a waste of storage space for you and loading time for your visitors. Whenever you can, resize your photos to the resolution at which they appear.

14. Include your logo

Do you want to strengthen your brand presence? Whether it's a personal brand or business, including your logo across your site will be the culminating factor in branding your design.

Typical places to include a logo include the headline of your website, the top of a website and especially the favorite icon area. A favicon is a small icon that appears on a tab in your browser that should also display your logo - adding this little item only enhances your brand identity.

Don't have a logo yet? Try making your own with Wix Logo Maker.

15. Integrate analysis software

Web analytics software will help you monitor your site's performance and optimize as you grow. These platforms measure various metrics, such as traffic and conversions, and help gather insights into how users get to your site and interact with it.

16. Buy a domain name

A domain name is like the website URL. By choosing one that represents your brand, your website will definitely stand out professionally. Not to mention, it will help users find it. You can start by finding the right domain name for registrars like Wix, before connecting to it (more on that below) and starting your site.

17. Design a website under construction

While you are in the middle of designing your website, it is never a bad idea to get one page ready for publication first: that is, a website under construction. This way, people who reach your URL before the new page is ready will at least stay up to date and anticipate the upcoming revelation of your new site.

Professional Tip: Include a mailing list registration form on your site under construction to encourage future engagement with visitors.

18. Arrange strategic CTAs

One of the most important elements of your website is how you tell your visitors to perform a desired action. It's promotional calls that make your online audience do just that.

Usually in the form of a clickable text or button with action-oriented short phrases such as "sign up" or "click here", you will want to make sure that your CTAs are properly positioned throughout your site.

19. Add an email registration form

Forms are an important part of web design and small business - whether it's a contact form to get visitors to interact, or an email registration form to build audience. If you are considering email marketing in the future, it is a good idea to set up an email registration form on your site from the beginning.

Wix Forms is an example of an online tool that makes it easy to create registration forms, including customizable templates and streamlined data collection. Whichever platform you use, be sure to check this off in your list so you can get a head start on building your email list.

20. Polish design on your mobile website

With the use of mobile internet ever increasing, and mobile devices accounting for 52% of global internet traffic, it is an absolute must to offer the best possible online experience for smartphone users.

Once your design elements are in place and you are happy with the look of your website, you can preview how your website will appear on mobile devices, and make sure that it is either responsive or has a design adapted to smaller screens.

Checklist for the site part two: items before launch

Once you've mapped out your site's design, you can double-check your content and fine-tune the details before the official launch.

21. Optimize SEO on the page

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of optimizing your site's content so that it ranks well on search engines. This is an important aspect of organic marketing.

Some best practices for SEO to tick off your list include (but are not limited to):

  • Add meta descriptions throughout your site that tell Google how each page will appear on search engines.

  • Optimization of page speed, which is also part of a good user experience.

  • Adding alternate text to images, another way to ensure your site is accessible.

  • Do keyword research and implement keywords through written content and alternative text on your site.

Pro tip: With a website design platform like Wix, you have built-in SEO tools to ensure you tick off the most important steps to optimize SEO on your page.

22. Connect to your social accounts

Social media marketing is an integral part of off-page SEO, and will help you communicate with customers and increase engagement. Once your site is live, you will want it linked to social media accounts so visitors can follow you and stay up to date. In your design you can include a stylish social bar that shows links to your accounts.

23. Connect or transfer your domain

You have already purchased a domain, now it's time to link it to your site. Alternatively, if you already have one linked to another site or host, you should transfer your domain to the new one.

Most website building platforms will support you to link a domain directly through their platform. Once your domain is connected, individuals can use that address to access your site.

Professional Tip: At this point, if you've created an upcoming soon page, you can publish it for visitors to see.

24. Update copyright year

Most sites include a copyright date in the footer of the site. Before clicking "publish", be sure to add one with the correct year. Although it is a small detail, sites with an old copyright year give the impression that they are completely outdated.

25. Proofreading written content

Set aside time to double-check the written content for errors. Proofread all the text added to your site - from informational text to headlines and blog posts. Even better, ask a trusted friend or colleague to peer-edit your site, as it is no better than a second pair of eyes.

At this point, you also need to replace and fill in text, such as lorem ipsum, with the intended content for your site.

26. Test out forms

Your site will likely contain forms for getting in touch with visitors and collecting data from users. This can include an email registration form, contact form, online survey or more. Now is the time to test these forms, make sure they work properly for visitors, and make sure the data is stored.

27. Link logo to website

Attaching a logo to the top of your website for all to see is a strategic move. Even better is to make sure you link the image back to the website. This is a common - often expected - feature of the user experience, and helps visitors navigating your site to return to the site with ease.

28. Review your design

Before you click "publish", review the site's design from top to bottom to make sure you're happy with what it looks like. You may want to refer to design theories as the principles of design, to ensure that your site follows basic aesthetic guidelines such as balance and visual hierarchy.

29. Get feedback from a friend

We've said it before, and we'll say it again: two sets of eyes are better than one. Ask a friend (or two) to rate your site diligently. They will certainly have a new perspective, and may point to items you may have overlooked.

30. Look for broken links

In the middle of designing a website, it is easy to link anchor texts to incorrect URLs. Run through every link on your site and make sure it leads to the right place and is not broken. This is something you should also ask friends to report on.

31. Test out UX

In addition to checking that links work properly on your site, you want to make sure that it gives visitors a positive user experience. This means ensuring that interactions on the site run smoothly and that nothing impedes the browser experience.

Testing your site's UX design may include tasks such as (but not limited to): checking that your pages are compatible across all browsers and devices, ensuring that content - such as images and video - is uploaded properly, and performing a load testing to ensure that your site can handle increasing traffic.

32. Scan for availability

Ensuring that all users have equal access to your site is crucial. This is where website accessibility comes in - it gives disabled people the opportunity to use and interact with your website.

Run an accessibility audit to ensure that your site meets the standards for online content accessibility guidelines and make any necessary changes. When you use Wix, the accessibility wizard is a unique feature that scans your site, points out accessibility issues and guides you to solve them.

33. Update contact information

Whether included in your About Us page, a unique contact page or in the footer of your site - double check that the information you provide to users is accurate and up to date. Especially if one of the goals of your website is to build an audience and a customer base, it is crucial that they are able to be in touch with you.

34. Set up live chat

Since instant messaging such as text messaging or DMs has become the norm, it can only be to the advantage of your brand to include a live chat feature on your site. This additional form of communication will increase correspondence, improve customer service and approach additional sales

35. Customize 404 pages

A 404 error page on the Web that appears when you click on a broken link that is no longer available. This can easily happen if someone also writes the wrong URL.

The look and feel of a 404 page can make or break your customer experience. By customizing a 404 page for visitors, you can make a pleasant visual impression, and include links that will encourage them to continue exploring your site.