Launch process

Here are some final checks to consider when planning the launch of your website.

  • Before you launch your site, check that its primary goals and objectives have been met. One way to do this is to set up some form of user testing, which includes people from your target audience. This will allow you to see if the site meets their needs.
  • Validate the HTML code on each page.
  • Validate the CSS used (all style sheets).
  • Check for broken images.
  • Your hosting provider may want to carry out final 'load testing' to ensure the site is performing well (pages are loading fast and will cope with the expected traffic volumes).
  • Try a 'dry launch' where, effectively, the site is live, but is not linked from anywhere. Use this to check that everything is looking and working as it should.
  • Test that the permissions on the site are working as they should (restricted access areas are working).
  • Test that error pages are working as they should.
  • Submit sponsored links to search engines.
  • Prepare an announcement with a set date and time to announce when the site has gone live and requesting that relevant parties (such as other websites) add links to your site.
  • Try not to launch your site on a Thursday or Friday, or if you have to, ensure that there will be support available should anything go wrong over the weekend.
  • Check that there are contingency plans in place should anything go drastically wrong, i.e., a total loss of files on the server. Your hosting provider should already have something in place, such as regular back-ups of tapes.
  • Document the processes and contact names of people involved with maintaining the site. This will help if something goes wrong and key people are unexpectedly away.
  • Think about how the flow of new/updated content will be maintained and added to your website once it is live.
  • Set up agreements with third parties who will be supplying images, graphics and written content, etc., to ensure that it's presented on time, in the right format and fits your style/tone specifications.