Launching your new nonprofit website can be a stressful time, we know. You want to check and double check all of your bases before your pet project is live for everyone to see. We came up with a website checklist of everything you should complete, double check and discuss with your developer before your site launches.
We created the following website checklist for Wired Impact platform clients, but it can be applied to any nonprofit website launch.
Your Website Checklist
You should be able to accomplish all of the items on this website checklist without outside help, but it never hurts to have a second set of eyes on a page you’re not quite sure about.
- Create a communications plan (internally and externally) for before and after launch.
- Run through the homepage (yes, again) to make sure everything is as you’d like it.
- Get a second opinion. If you’re using the Wired Impact platform, we’ll take a look at your site and provide you with feedback.
- Double check the navigation and sidebars to make sure pages are named and ordered as you’d hoped.
- Read through all of your content, making sure that it’s up to date and factual.
- Double check dates and details of volunteer opportunities and events.
- Click every link and ensure that it goes where you intended.
- Check for spelling, typos and grammatical errors.
- Check any sidebar calls-to-action, like Donate or Subscribe to Emails.
- Make sure every page has a meta description.
- Test out your forms.
- Make sure your website has a favicon and that it’s loading properly.
- Make sure you’re happy with all the images you chose and every page that needs an image has one.
- Double check that you have permission to use all of your chosen images. If you used Envato through Wired Impact, you should be covered.
Conversations to Have With Your Developer
If you’re working with a developer to get your site launched, you likely won’t be able to check these development tasks yourself. But it’s worth having a conversation with your developer to make sure that you’re covered on all of these items.
If you changed your website structure at all on the new site, you’ll need to make sure any links to updated page names or deleted pages don’t land on a dreaded 404 or “page not found” error. Unless you add 301 redirects to your new site, any current link to a page where the URL is changing will no longer work. Plus, any page on your site that was previously ranking in search engine results will lose that ranking without a redirect.
To keep track of your website data, you’ll need to make sure that the analytics service you use, such as Google Analytics, is integrated with your website and tracking all of its data correctly. To ensure you’re getting the most helpful information, you can also ask about setting up a filter so staff views aren’t included in your data.
Any third-party application integration, meaning services like Salesforce, Stripe, or MailChimp, that you’d like to connect to your website will need to be integrated by your developer. If possible, ask them to test them all before as well as after the site is launched to make sure everything is working as it should.
Just because your website looks good using Google Chrome on a desktop computer doesn’t mean it looks good on all Internet browsers or even on all devices. It’s important to make sure your developer reviews your website on all of the big browsers and devices to make sure it’s working as intended and there aren’t any bugs that need to be ironed out before launch.
Ideally, your website should load in about two seconds. The last thing you want is for supporters to give up on your organization because your website is taking too much time to load. Touch base with your developer to see what’s possible on your website. Improving the load speed of a website is a fairly technical process, but there are plenty of tools that help check how fast your site is loading. We like using PageSpeed Insights and the Pingdom Website Speed Test.
Once the site is live, you’ll need to make sure that any passwords are set for optimum security. You don’t want anyone hacking your site, especially once donors, members and event attendees are submitting their information.
Remove Testing Content
Hopefully, you’ll catch any testing content during your pre-launch review of the website. But, it’s worth double checking with your developer to make sure testing content in things like blog posts, pages, media, forms and meta boxes don’t sneak through to the live site.
Secure Sockets Layer
Talk to your developer about the security of your new website and the benefits of adding a secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate. This layer of extra security will encrypt any information that your supporters enter into your site, like credit card numbers and email addresses. You can tell if a website has an SSL certificate by looking at the URL. SSL certificates load addresses with “https://” instead of “http://”.
If your new site will include the added security of an SSL certificate, you can enter your URL into this SSL checker. You’ll want to see all green check marks.
Talk with your developer about what needs to be done to make sure your site is visible to search engines. This could entail things like creating a robots.txt file (which shows search robots which pages to crawl on your site) or double checking that the setting to block your site from search engines is not checked.
At this point, you can also discuss getting your site set up on Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. Useful for both search engine optimization and analytics, these tools will let you see errors, search queries, what’s been indexed and any warning about your site from the search engine.
Touch base with your developer to make sure you’ll have access to everything you may need, like DNS settings and your various technical accounts. It can get a little sticky down the road if you need to update something on your site, only to discover you don’t have access to it.
I know, that’s a lot to remember! To make things easier for you, we created an actual website checklist for you to save and check items off as you complete them.
Get the Website Launch Checklist
Use this checklist to keep track of the tasks necessary to launch a great nonprofit website, including conversations to have with a developer.
Have any leftover questions about what you need to do to prepare for the launch of a nonprofit website? Anything we missed that you’d like to see on the website checklist? Let us know in the comments below.