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Website Launch Checklist

July 9, 2008
Jay

Whether you’re launching a website for the first time or going through a redesign, there’s some things you should do for a site launch:

  • Setup 301 Redirects – only applies to a website redesign and ensures that the search engines know where the old pages are moving to. The process involved in setting up a 301 redirect is dependent on whether you have a Apache or IIS (Windows) server.
  • Setup a Custom 404 Page – When you’re going through a site redesign, it’s a smart tactic to use a custom 404 page to catch any visitors that your 301 redirects missed. Just like a 301 redirect, you’ll either need to setup your custom 404 on your Apache or IIS server. If you’re not sure what to put on your custom 404 page, check out Apple.com. They have a great example of a custom 404 page.
  • Check for Broken Links – make sure that all the links on your site are working. You can use a link checker to find any broken links.
  • Setup an XML Site Map – will provide an easy way for search engines crawl the pages on your website. Google offers a simple XML sitemap generator. Then register at Google Webmaster Tools and Yahoo Site Explorer and submit your XML sitemap. After verifying your website, both search engines can use your XML sitemap as a guide to crawl your website.
  • Setup Analytics – make sure that you’re tracking your visitors from day one. If you’re already using analytics on the old website, make sure that during the transition the code gets placed on the new site. If you don’t have any analytics, sign up for Google Analytics.

And don’t forget, once the website is launched, you’re going to want to launch your internet marketing campaign…but that’s a checklist for another day.