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.
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 testing – Use 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.