Website Launch Checklist

Before you launch

Update all plugins and WP core.

Before you run your testing make sure you update everything so you don’t have to retest it again later.

Cross browser testing

Cross browser testing should be done on all page templates (not necessary for all pages) on the following browsers/devices.

  • Internet Explorer 9, 10, 11
  • Latest Version of Firefox
  • Latest Version of Chrome
  • Safari running on a Mac
  • iPhone
  • Android Phone
  • Use Safari Developer mode to test Ipad view.
  • Use to check responsive view on major mobile screen sizes.

Make a backup of the old site

If it was a WordPress site make sure to grab all of the files in wp-content and a copy of the database.  If it was an HMTL site you can download all of the files and zip them up.  If you do not have FTP access to the old site use the program to download a copy of the site.


Check your 404 page by entering a random URL.  You should also perform and check the search template to make sure they look ok.

Before you switch the nameservers or change the @ record put the old nameservers or the old IP address into the password file in case you need to revert back to the old site.

Launching the site (After the DNS switches over)

You will need to change the site address in the wp-config.php file to reflect the live URL.  Do NOT include a trailing slash on the live domain.

Add the website to InfiniteWP by installing or deactivating and reactivating the IWP client plugin.  Create a backup and confirm that it worked before running search and replace.

Install the Better Search Replace plugin.  Do a search in all areas of the database for the development URL and replace it with the live URL.  Be careful not to include a slash on one URL and not the other.  See screenshot for recommended strings.

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 11.43.07 AM

Check common theme template files for hard coded links.  Note that Godaddys find and replace featured on managed wordpress often misses certain links, for example email links or sub domain links.  You should still run a find and replace on Godaddy managed wordpress.

Go to settings > reading and uncheck the box to allow search engines to crawl the website.  Use screaming frog to check of any broken links.  Fix any that you see.

Gravity Forms settings

If you are going to set up Google Analytics goals make sure you create a thankyou page and set the confirmation to go to the thank you page.

Set the send to email address to the client, we also BCC our info@ address so we have an extra copy of any forms.  Set the Send As address to the wordpress@ or other generic email that the client uses.

Change the subject of the form to include the name of the person who filled it out the form, not the title of the form itself.

Send a test message to the client and ask them to “forward this message back to me to confirm receipt”.  If they do not receive the form tell them to check their spam.  You may need to set up SMTP email if it is not getting through.

Install and Configure Security Plugin

Follow the instructions on the iThemes Better WordPress Security post.

Website Setup for SEO clients

Yoast Settings

Configure the SEO settings to no index sup pages of archives.  No index any post types or formats that are not being used as independant URL’s.  For example we may have a post type for SLIDES but these URL’s are not supposed to be viewed individually.  You should also noindex attachments.

You can noindex post formats, and tags if they are not being used.  You can disable the SEO meta box on any post types that are set to noindex.

301 redirects

Install the Simple 301 redirects plugin.  Do a search on Google for to return a list of all URL’s indexed by Google.  Go through each URL and create a redirect to a similar page on the new website.  If a page no longer exists then create a redirect to the home page.

Setup Google analytics.

Create a Google account. See this post for more details. as well as this post for setting up Goals.

Be sure to share Google analytics with the SEO account manager (charlie.strickler) and the info@boom email address.

Setup Webmaster tools

Add a site to Google WMT and share with the SEO account manager (charlie.strickler) and the info@boom email address.

Create a Microsoft account and add a site to Bing webmaster tools.


Add to tracking spreadsheets and monitors

Add site to technical spreadsheet on Google docs. Add to backup schedule on InfiniteWP, Add to uptime monitor on Infinite WP, Add to update group.

Final Steps

Delete any development plugins.  This often includes search and replace, regenerate thumbnails.  If you are moving the site from a different host you can delete the old development files.

Run screaming frog.  Examine the results for broken links, hashtag links, and any URL’s that still point to the development site (check external links as well).

Download W3 total cache or use infinity cache for WP Touch websites.  See this post for how to configure W3 total cache. –

Run a sitespeed test using  Add any issues with page load speed to your notes about the launch.

Make a backup on Infinite WP called “PostLaunch”.

Add to Hosting and Updates spreadsheet.

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