Website Launch Checklist

By Naomi Worden 28th April 2022

Legal requirements

This includes:

  • Displaying company information such as the company name, company registration number and registered company address
  • Cookie notice/preference settings
  • Cookie policy outlining the cookies used on the site and the reasons for them
  • Privacy policy
  • Terms and Conditions


The most common analytics tool is Google Analytics. At the basic level, it is recommended that the following are set up:

  • Live site profile - this allows traffic to be distinguished between development environments and the live environment. Check to ensure the live site code is using the correct profile.
  • Filters - ensure filters have been set up on the live profile to remove internal company traffic to prevent the skewing of visitor stats.
  • Event tracking - ensure actions that the users can complete on the website are being tracked, for example, form completions and button presses
  • eCommerce tracking - if the site is an eCommerce site, ensure transaction and revenue tracking is set up and data is being collected in a way that provides useful business reporting
  • Search parameters - if the site has onsite search functionality, set up the query parameters to ensure search data is recorded correctly

301 Redirects

These are permanent redirects and are used to automatically redirect visitors from the original URL to a new destination URL. Any URLs that were on the previous site that no longer exist should be 301 redirected to the equivalent URL on the new site. These redirects inform the search engines that the old URL has permanently moved to the new URL.This helps to ensure that authority gained for those existing pages is passed to the equivalent page on the new site and prevents users from seeing 404 (page not found) errors. Over time, the search engines should start indexing the new URLs instead of the old URLs.

canonical urls

These are the URLs of the best representative page from a group of duplicate pages and is, therefore, the one that you want to be indexed by search engines. All pages should have a canonical URL even if this is the same as the page URL.


Check all content pages on the site to ensure they have unique meta data (title, meta description) that is written with SEO in mind. Specialist SEO software can be used to report on this and identify issues.

Open Graph data should also be included in the page source to identify which elements of the page you want to show when a page is shared on social media.

On page content

Ensure on page content has been optimised for the user and therefore SEO. Every page should have a unique H1 containing the key term the page is targeting. Check each page follows web content principles ensuring it:

  • Is scannable
  • Is concise but enough text to warrant being a indexable page
  • Includes key terms and synonyms
  • Uses headings (marked up correctly)
  • Includes internal links
  • Contains calls to action
  • Is free from spelling and grammar errors

Site maps

There are usually two types of sitemap used on a website; an XML formatted sitemap and a user sitemap.

XML sitemap
This should be automatically generated by your content management system (CMS). It should contain all indexable content in a structured hierarchy. It allows search engines to find all content on the site, allowing it to be crawled and indexed.

User sitemap
This is a useful addition to a site as it provides a user-friendly index of pages on a website. This is often used as a means of navigating a website by visually impaired users who can quickly tab through each link.

Cross Browser and Cross Device Testing

Test key pages and complete user journeys and main interaction points across all the major browsers as well as devices. Whilst it’s impossible to test every single device that’s out there, testing should be completed on as many real devices as possible rather than emulators to get the true user experience. Use Analytics data to see what devices/Operating Systems/browsers are the most commonly used amongst current website visitors to help narrow this down.


There are a number of browser plugins that allow various accessibility requirements to be tested. Things to check include:

  • Access keys - this allows users to jump to key content areas using keyboard shortcuts. Ensure these are set up and working correctly
  • Contrast - there should be good contrast between colours used and consideration is given to users with colour blindness to ensure everything on the page is readable. This is especially important to check when using text on coloured backgrounds
  • Fonts - the font styles in combination with the size and weight should be clear and easy to read, especially on mobile devices
  • Images - ensure all images have alt text/descriptions that tell visitors using screenreading devices what the image is
  • Tabbing - content should be able to be tabbed through, check forms to ensure you can tab through fields in the correct order
  • Dyslexia checks - check the wording used on key pages to ensure they can be read and understood by those with dyslexia

User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX)

In the context of a website, the UI is the visual elements on a site and how the user interacts with them. The UX can be summarised as the overall experience a user has while using a website to complete their intended actions.

A fundamental principle of UX is ‘don’t make me think’. Can the target audience interact with the various elements in an efficient, obvious way? 

Usability testing, with users from the target audience, is a very useful process to undertake before launching a new site to identify where users struggle and how their journeys can be improved.

Beta testing

This is a very useful process to undertake once a site has been built and all content is in place, immediately prior to launch. Ask users, ideally from your target demographic or even a few of your existing customers that you have a good relationship with, to test the new site and give honest feedback. Sometimes those working too closely with a site don’t always spot potential issues, particularly usability issues because we know how it does work rather than sometimes how it should work.

customised 404/500 page

It is good practice to have customised 404 (page not found) and 500 (server error) pages so anyone who ends up on these pages can be signposted to an alternative page rather than leaving the site completely.


Ensure emails being sent out from the site have been configured with the correct settings, are branded and contain the required information; company name, registered address, company registration number.


Ensure a robots.txt file is in place and it has been updated to include any sections of the site that you do not want crawled/indexed by search engines. This should also be used to tell a search engine where to find the site's XML sitemap.

Remove noindex

If any pages that you want indexed on the live site have noindex/nofollow settings, ensure these are removed at the time of launch.

Google search console

Google search console is a very useful platform that allows you to measure site search performance and identify issues. Ensure this is set up, verified and is reporting on the site. Check this regularly after going live to identify any errors.

If you are launching a new website and would like a usability/accessibility audit completed or some expert advice, get in touch. We are able to offer:

  • Usability studies - analysing the target audience using the site to identify usability issues and improvements from real users
  • Expert website audits - a manual review of your website by experienced and knowledgeable experts to identify and flag any issues as well as make improvement recommendations
  • Technical SEO audits - a combined automated and manual review of the technical health of the website
  • Ongoing SEO support - monitoring site performance, implementing audit recommendations, fixing issues

Read our case study on how we helped Mimecast conduct multi-step usability testing.

Launching a new website?

If you would like a usability/accessibility audit completed or some expert advice, get in touch.

Call us on 01473 655669 or email [email protected].