Website Launch Checklist: 50 Essential Things to Do Before (and After) Publishing

website launch checklist

This post was last updated on December 9, 2021.

Making a website is an exciting endeavor, and launching it even more so. It’s a rewarding moment to see your site—a culmination of strategic planning and design—go live. That being said, you should do everything in your power to make sure it’s close to perfect by the time you share it with the world.

When it comes to website design, mistakes happen, tasks go unfinished, and sometimes, technology just doesn’t live up to our expectations. For these reasons and more, following a website launch checklist is a great way to ensure you’ve covered all your ground before you click the “publish” button.

From updating your design to ensuring good user experience and performance, continue reading for our curated website launch checklist, including 50 essential things to do before, during and after publishing your website.

Website launch checklist

Here are the top 50 things to do before, during and after you press “publish.” As you read, you’ll see our website launch checklist is broken down into three parts, according to what phase you’re at with your website creation.

  1. Analyze what needs changing

  2. Check website speed

  3. Research competitors and industry trends

  4. Identify your goals

  5. List out action items

  6. Choose a website builder

  7. Pick a website host

  8. Set a publishing date

  9. Learn the steps of building a site

  10. Decide on a website layout

  11. Develop design elements

  12. Create your website pages

  13. Optimize photos

  14. Include your logo

  15. Integrate analytics software

  16. Purchase a domain name

  17. Design a website under construction page

  18. Arrange strategic CTAs

  19. Add an email sign up form

  20. Polish your mobile website design

  21. Optimize on-page SEO

  22. Link to your social accounts

  23. Connect or transfer your domain

  24. Update copyright year

  25. Proofread written content

  26. Test out forms

  27. Link logo to homepage

  28. Review your design

  29. Get feedback from a friend

  30. Check for broken links

  31. Test out UX

  32. Scan for accessibility

  33. Update contact information

  34. Set up live chat

  35. Customize 404 pages

  36. Write a privacy policy

  37. Plan off-page SEO optimization

  38. Organize your list of contacts

  39. Prepare social media accounts for promotion

  40. Click publish

  41. Back up your design

  42. Perform a usability test

  43. Check site’s security with SSL certificate

  44. Submit your website for indexing

  45. Verify analytics

  46. Test new website's speed

  47. Promote your site

  48. Outline a performance tracking plan

  49. Make it multilingual

  50. Map out a maintenance plan

Website checklist part one: mapping out your site

Before you start your design, you’ll want to map out how to make your website. From choosing the right website builder to making sure your elements are on-brand, here are twenty tasks you don’t want to overlook during this creative phase.

Some of these are relevant only when re-designing a website, which will nonetheless come in handy in the future.

01. Analyze what needs changing

If you’re redesigning a website, your first step should be to understand the scope of your project. Review your current site and make a list of the things that need to change. This can include everything from visual to broken links that negatively impact performance.

02. Check website speed

One of the great things about revisiting your site’s design is the chance to go back and understand how to optimize content for the highest performance. Run a speed test to figure out what’s holding your site speed back and incorporate this feedback into your updates.

website launch checklist screen shot of checking site speed

03. Research competitors and industry trends

Doing an analysis of websites within your industry is well worth the effort. This task can help you discover popular visual and technical features that will level up your design makes this task well worth the effort. Equally important is ensuring it is unique, and offers your target audience a new, better experience than competitors.

It’s also a good idea to investigate what web design trends are making their way onto the scene. Being in-the-know about the elements trending in the web design world will give you fresh ideas, and incorporating these qualities onto your site will make an outstanding impression on visitors.

04. Identify your goals

Whether you’re redesigning your website or building one from scratch, the next thing you should check off your list is identifying your goals for doing so. For example, if it’s an online portfolio, one goal would be to gain more clients; for a business website these goals might include establishing an online presence.

Of course, if you are redesigning your site, you'll have even more to work with. Your goals for this project will additionally focus on improving visual language, performance and user experience.

05. List out action items

Understanding your goals will naturally lead you to think of the practical steps needed to accomplish your website launch. A detailed list of action items will help you stay accountable to the tasks at hand, while helping you manage and track them.

We recommend using this website launch checklist as a starting guide—but as you get into the nitty-gritty of your design, you’ll want to add more details. Including specifics like dates, item descriptions, and who is assigned the task (especially important when you’re working with a team) will help you reach goals efficiently.

06. Choose a website builder

Finding the best website builder for your personal and professional needs is a must. There are a wide range of these platforms today, suitable for users with diverse experiences—from beginners who've never made a site before, to professional designers.

For example, a CMS platform like Wix will connect data from your website with a server, making the entire website launching process more streamlined and user friendly for beginners. Research the options, thinking about how much it costs to make a website on each platform, which of them have the features you need, and look out for user reviews before making your decision.

07. Pick a website host

In order for your final product to appear on the internet, you’ll also need to decide how to host your website. This will ensure it is stored in a web space for visitors all over the world can access. Known as servers, these spaces can be rented and acquired through a website hosting provider, or built locally.

Many website building platforms include free web hosting. Like Wix, these platforms will usually include automatic setup and be protected by security monitoring.

08 . Set a publishing date

A deadline is a lifeline. Make sure you don’t jump into your website creation (or re-creation) process without setting time-oriented goals. In addition to setting a publishing date, you should secure dates for having a draft website ready, getting feedback from your friends and performing a usability test.

09. Learn the steps of building a site

With website builders like Wix, and with plenty of pre-design templates at your disposal, it’s easy to jump into creating your site confidently without preparation. But although you'll have the basic foundations covered, it doesn’t hurt to get a few pointers before you begin.

There are plenty of resources and guides online on how to build a website from scratch which you can review to brush up or expand your knowledge,

10. Decide on a website layout

Planning your site's layout is like setting its foundation, since it will determine the arrangement of visual elements on each page. The best website layout for your design will be determined by a variety of factors: the goals of your website, the message you want to convey to viewers, and what kind of content you’ll include.

11. Develop design elements

Running the gamut from your website color scheme to your choice of font—and even more sophisticated design elements like motion—every visual aspect of your site should be taken into consideration when checking off to-dos from your website launch list:

Images: Have high quality images and videos ready. Nothing is worse for your appearance than bad quality images.

Website color scheme: Choose a color scheme that represents your brand or otherwise creates the effect that you want. If you go the minimalistic route, you might want to stick with classic black and white, but bold colors can always make the right statement.

Typeface: Just the same as color, your choice of font should be considered when planning out your website. You might change your mind when you see the site’s design as a whole, but it’s a good start at this point to have a few typeface styles in mind.

website checklist screenshot of orange subscription page

12. Create your website pages

Once you’ve secured basic visual guidelines for your website, it’s time to start building your individual pages. While the number of pages will depend on what type of website you are creating, here are some basic web pages to consider:

Homepage: Since it’s likely to be the first thing visitors will see, aim for a homepage design that’s clean, organized and eye-catching. It should clarify who you are and what you do, and serve as a starting point for visitors to navigate through your site.

About Us page: A space to share your story, values, methods and any other information that defines your brand.

Contact page: When visitors want to reach out, they should be able to get hold of you easily. Be sure to include a contact page with your phone number, postal address, business email address and social media accounts.

13. Optimize photos

When it comes to photos, quality is everything. Ensure your images are the appropriate file type, because this will affect size and quality. Since Wix supports several image formats, you shouldn’t run into any issues.

Pro tip: If you’re uploading a large photo, only to have it display very small on your website, that’s a waste of storage for you and loading time for your visitors. When you can, resize your photos to the resolution they will display at.

14. Include your logo

Want to strengthen your brand presence? Whether it's a personal brand or business, including your logo across your website will be the culminating factor for branding its design.

Typical places to include a logo include your website’s header, at the top of a homepage and especially in the favicon area. A favicon is a small icon that appears on a tab in your browser that should also display your logo—adding this tiny element only enhances your brand identity.

Don't have a logo yet? Try creating your own with the Wix Logo Maker.

15. Integrate analytics software