in Programming, Web Development

The essential go-live checklist for any website

You’ve finally got to the stage where you site can go live, design,development all done and now it’s just a matter of flicking the switch. Research has shown in other industries such as medical, aviation and others that a checklist can prevent errors. The digital world isn’t quite so keen to have a consistent approach due to it’s very nature but perhaps we should.

Need a website review or just want a second opinion?, please get in touch and for a fixed fee I can provide a detailed report on your site.

Here’s my definitive checklist broken down into areas

Cross browser appearance ✓

Check for broken layouts on IE, Firefox and others


How to check:

IE Tester
IE Developer Toolbar
Mac in the Cloud

Don’t always rely on developer toolbars or testing apps, looking at the real thing is the best way to ensure your site is glitch free.

Responsive design ✓

If your site is responsive test across as many devices as possible, ideally the real devices themselves, depending on the framework your using or your media query implementation using preview tools that try to emulate the devices may not provide an entirely accurate preview.


How to check:

Iphone Tester – Quick iphone preview
Ipad Peek – Quick ipad preview
Perfecto Mobile – Cross device testing for a fee
Browser Stack – Run official mobile emulators, alternatively download them yourself
The Responsinator – Preview a multitude of devices
Your browser – Firefox, Chrome and even IE11 now have built in developer tools



Check all page titles and meta descriptions, the most important part of the website, make sure the titles are different on every page, and relate to the content. The description is your selling window to the world so make it short and snappy.

How to check:

SEOMoz – Sign up to the 30 day trial if you don’t have an account and you can run a detailed analysis on every page
Google Webmaster Tools – Enable this to check for 404’s and any other issues
Google Structured testing tool – Check your schema markup. Haven’t done this? It’s easy enough to add last minute.

Content ✓

Check every page, and there’s only one real way to do it – proof reading, if it’s a large site assign a section to various people to help with the workload the more people that read through it the better.

That’s assuming the tone and feel of the text is consistent throughout, if it isn’t consider getting a copywriter to re-write your text.

Also check for broken links, there’s a number of automated tools to do this.

How to check:

Spellery – Online tool to spell check a page
Copify – Cheap and professional copywriting service
Integrity – Great affordable tool for Mac
Sleuth’s Link Checker – An oldie but a goodie PC based tool


Feedback from real people! ✓


Most projects don’t have the budget or the time for this, you can instead farm out the link to as many people as you know. If you own a business send it out to everyone.

How to check:

Another option is to set out your own goals for example fill out the contact form and watch how people interact with the site in person. You will be surprised!

Usabilia – Set up real tests for real people

Developer Tests ✓


The developers play the most crucial role, there’s been many times where some small mistake turns into a major issue.

  • Data input/output in the correct formats
  • Data saved in the right format
  • Allowed for internationalisation?
  • Form submissions
  • Removed test files
  • Uploaded all required files
  • Dummy test of live URL with hosts file
  • File permissions set for uploading

How to check:

Not an easy answer where possible unit testing can achieve much of the above. There are some automated tools you could use to perform simple/advanced checks.

Selenium – Automated browsing for testing purposes
There’s various Firefox, Chrome plugins as well
Monitis offer this sort of testing too

Speed ✓

Often overlooked Google has long indicated that it considers this as a ranking factor how important we don’t know, but consider your visitors they don’t want to hang around either.

Get a decent hosting solution many small business’s often use poor hosting solutions from the likes of GoDaddy and 1and1 whilst they are cheap and cheerful backup is often not included and the service can be slow at times not to mention the poor customer support.

How to check:

Google Page speed
Dotcom Monitor

Run tests at different times, I cover some other aspects in one my Magento articles.

Load Testing ✓


Email campaign or launching a product load testing is an essential part of going live. First get a decent monitoring package and then blast visitors to your site. That’s probably a crude approach but may be satisfactory depending on your needs you might be better with goal based load testing.

How to check:

New Relic


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