There's no doubt that launching or relaunching a new website onto a new CMS platform or programming environment can be a time consuming and stressful experience. Lots of things can go wrong or certain details can easily be overlooked, so here's a helpful check list of the top 6 things to be mindful of as you prepare to "flip the switch" on your new site:
1. Take the time to complete your on-page SEO
For some it can be a tedious process, but optimizing your website pages with the appropriate keywords and keyword phrases, based on your page content, accounts for 25% of your site's overall SEO performance. This is the lowest hanging fruit with ensuring your site is found in search so make this a priority.
2. Create any necessary 301 page redirects
More times than not, moving your site onto a new web platform results in a new URL structure for a majority of your existing pages. Implementing 301 page redirects can permanently redirect these old pages to the appropriate page on your new site if someone has it bookmarked or they find the indexed page when conducting a search.
3. Check your site in various web broswers
Although your site could look perfect in Firefox there may be certain elements or graphics that appear differently in Safari or various versions of Internet Explorer. Do your due diligence and browse your site on numerous broswers to check for any inconsistencies.
4. Update your analytics tracking
This seems obvious but it can be easily overlooked. If you utilize Google Analytics for instance, be sure to remove the tracking code from your current site and add it to your new site pages right before you make the switch.
5. Create and submit your official sitemap
Check to see if your CMS automatically creates a XML-Sitemap, otherwise search for an available sitemap generator for your particular CMS. Adding this file to both your root directory and submitting it to Google via Google Webmaster Tools aids in the ability for major search engines (especially Google) to easily index your site pages.
6. Functionality testing
Last but not least, take the time to test out all of your site's funtionality from page to page (navigation, links, forms, etc.). Or better yet, ask someone who hasn't been involved with creating the new site since they may catch something that you're overlooking.
This list could easily go on and on, and it's not exhaustive by any means, but this will start to get you thinking of the items you need to be aware of as you prepare to take your new site live.