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3 18 Point Checklist for the Perfect Website Redesign Launch

website launch

We’re in the process of a total redesign and restructure of the Duct Tape Marketing site so I’ve recently written about some of the processes we use to ensure a smooth redesign. I’ve been blogging since 2003 and have 1os of thousands of backlinks and lots of pages that rank in long tail searches, so I’m proceeding very cautiously with technical aspects. You can read my checklist on preparing for redesign here.

Now that we are getting close to hitting the launch button we’ve moved into checking and double checking what works and what doesn’t work. Ideally, a good design team like the one we are working with will do all of this checking ahead of the launch, but hey, this is my livelihood so I’m not taking any chances.

Use this checklist with you design team as a way to make sure all of the relevant details are looked after before you push your redesigned site live. My site is built on WordPress using the Genesis Theme framework so some of these elements are specific to WordPress.

1) Check your Spelling and Grammar – You can use a tool like Respelt to scan the entire site and then Grammarly to work on individual pages.

2) Test in multiple Browsers and mobile – See what your site looks like on your phone and in Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer. Browser Stack is a great paid option.

3) Test your Links – Use a tool like Screaming Frog spider to see if any of your links are broken.

4) Do some Speed testingUse a tool Pingdom Tools to see how fast the site is loading and what might be slowing it down.

5) Title and Description – Get a quick snapshot of all of your title and description attributes via Screaming Frog and be on the lookout for titles that are too long (keep under 55 characters), too generic, or duplicate. The WordPress SEO plugin from Yoast is a must for this going forward.

6) Check Image alt descriptions – alt descriptions tell the search engines what an image is all about. Use Screaming Frog spider to check and make sure you have images optimized.

7) Test Forms – Manually test every form on your site to make sure it is functioning as planned.

8) Favicon – test to see that your Favicon is showing browser

9) Tracking code – Make sure your Google Analytics and other tracking codes for things like AdWords, Facebook Ads, or retargeting is properly installed and functioning.

10) Check NAP with Schema – verify that your name, address and other contact data is correct and correctly formatted with Schema code – Check out schema.org for information on this.

11) Check your 404 pages – Type in a non-existent page URL on your site to get a 404 error page. Ideally you’ll want to use a custom page for this that has an error message that’s better than the default server error.

12) Check your 301 redirects – If you had to create a new URL structure, test a few key pages from your old site URL structure to make sure they are redirecting as expected.

14) Check your XML site map – If you are using a tool like the WordPress SEO plugin from Yoast, you’ll get your site map URL from the plugin. Make sure it’s rendering correctly.

15) Do a Plugin audit – have you kept some plugins and ditched others? Make sure all your desired plugins are active and up to date and make sure those that you are no longer actively using are deleted from the site.

16) Test Social contact – Test out all of your social icons to make sure they are taking people where you want them to go.

17) Email migration – if applicable make sure your email is set up properly with you new host.

18) Point Your DNS – Now that you’ve tested the major elements of you site redesign it’s time to push it live or point the domain to your new hosting nameservers.

Once you have your site up and running and you’re adding new content use my Perfect Blog Post Checklist to make sure every new piece of content is fully optimized.




3 Must Have iPhone Trick for Bloggers

When I go around the country to blog related conferences I find that the majority of bloggers I meet are Mac folks and iPhone nuts.

With that in mind I give you the ultimate iPhone blogger trick.

Basically this is a way to create your own little glassy iPhone application icon and put it on your phone’s homescreen as a link to the iPhone version of your blog. (That’s the first step but you can of course make it available to your readers who want your icon and link on their phone’s home screen!)

First, let’s create the icon. These icons, sort of like last year’s favicon, are called webclips.
1) Create or resize an image to 57 x 57 px
2) Save the image as apple-touch-icon.png
3) Upload to the root directory of your site – like this

Now, grab your iPhone, fire up the Safari browser and surf to your blog. (It must be on the same domain as where you uploaded the image) Once there hit the bookmark + sign and select “add to home screen.” If all goes to plan your new image gets the rounded corner, glass button treatment and is now on your phone as an application icon. Call it iPhone vanity if you must, but it’s sure fun.

You can take this a step further and use an application like mofuse to create mobile and even iPhone versions of your blog. See example of the Duct Tape blog – Mobile version and iPhone version.

If you want to add this blog right on your phone just surf to the iPhone version on your iPhone, bookmark and choose add to homescreen.