The website launch checklist: part 2

If you have already read the launch checklist here, here is the next checklist to optimize your site. (Most of them dont need to be done right before you start, but you should check each of these and mark it as Done/Won’t do/Will do this later.)



1. Optimize your images.


Upto 80% of your page’s bandwidth is used up by images. Optimizing it provides one of the best returns on your time. Smushit,, can automate this.


Priority: High


2. Compress your CSS and JS


Generally in development, you would be working with a verbose version of your CSS and Javascript files. Depending on your technology you may have an automatic way to do this when your site is deployed. If not you can use,



Priority: High


3. Add a favicon


Favicon add a custom icon in user’s bookmarks and title bar. It adds a visual identity when your users have many tabs open. You can convert your logo or a png to a favicon via



Priority: Medium


4. Create custom 404 and 500 error pages


The default 404 and 500 error pages from the server are pretty useless. You should add a more useful page, along with your branding.



Priority: Medium


5. Reserve social media names


Register your site’s name at twitter and other social networks where you plan to interact.


Priority: Medium


6. Remove directory indexes


Many servers default to showing a full list of all your files. This can be a security issue. If you use apache you can stop this by



Priority: Medium


7. Your admin passwords are secure


You may be using “welcome” as your admin password in development. Many web frameworks have a standard place where the admin areas are.


Not that you have important data you should change this password.


Priority: High


8. Add your site to Google Webmaster


If you add your site to Google webmaster, they will provide you data such as what are common search terms they display your website for.



Priority: Low


9. Spell check your website


Sites like can automatically check your site for any spellng errors.


Priority: Low


10. Validate your Html and CSS.


A valid html site can ease debugging your site and make it more compatible with different browsers.


Priority: Low



11. Canonical urls


Ensure that your site is available at both www and non www. Some people think that www in url is not useful ( Anyway you choose, there should be one canonical url.


Priority: Low


12. Your servers doesn’t allow password based ssh login


Your servers should remove password based ssh login, as they are a common vector for attack. Use public/private key login instead.


Priority: Medium


13. Remove placeholder texts.


You might have lorem ipsum or similar copy while developing. Ensure they are removed.


Tip: Search for “lorem ipsum”, “todo” or “remove me”.


Priority: Medium


14. Login, Admin and Payment pages are on a HTTPs page


Pages which get critical data from users should be on a HTTPS secured pages. You can get it for affordable prices from Godaddy or


Priority: Medium


15. Server restarts critical services on a service shutdown


Software like Supervisord, Nagios or munin can ensure that your services are automatically bought up when they go down.



Priority: Medium


16. Legal pages are in place


If your site jurisdiction mandates that you have a privacy policy, or a contact us page, ensure you have that in place.


Priority: Medium


17. You have stress tested your site


You should ensure that you site can take appropriate load. Apache AB, siege or a SaaS tool like can make this easy.


Priority: Low

You can download this checklist as a pdf. 


(Many people before us have created a website launch checklists.)



Here are the urls listed above.



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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Justin Thiele August 15, 2011 at 5:52 pm
Andrew September 9, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Interesting stuff. Any equivalent list for mobile apps?


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