14 Magento Pre-Launch Checklist For An Error-Free Website Launch

magento-checklist

Designing and coding a website is certainly captivating for a designer and developer. It involves long-drawn-out processes that make any website attractive and operational. BUT – the journey is not easy as it looks like. If you are a web designer or a developer, you know that how nerve-racking is to launch a website smoothly, right? There are a lot of things in the process, and due to deadlines from the clients, you might forget an important change to push online. Such an event can lead to frustration and your project can fall in stagnation.

So what’s the solution?

That is where a detailed checklist comes in handy. Yes! You (even seasoned developers) may think that everything is under control, but you might have forgot to push some changes online.  In our today’s article, we will cover all the required points to check before you take your Magento website online. Our Magento checklist also includes some overlooked steps that many web developers tend to forget during the website launch.

14 Magento Pre-Launch Checklist that should be part of your launch plan

If you follow this Magento pre-launch handy checklist, you’ll surely launch your Magento website (without any bugs) and can give your customers massive store promos and products to fulfill their needs.

1. Magento Base URLs

Changing base URLs should be the first step in the Magento website launch. When you migrate Magento website from localhost to server these URLs need to be updated or else all URLs will be redirected to your localhost URL or staging website. These URLs are stored in Magento database table core_config_data but it can also be accessed through Magento admin panel.

To change the URLs – go to System > Configuration > Web > Secure > Base URL. 

2. Change the HTML Head

One of the most important step before you start Magento store is to change the HTML Head. Change the title, meta description and keywords. These are the important steps for improving SEO of your Magento store.

To do so, navigate to System > Configuration > General > Design > HTML Head.

3. Change Magento Admin URL

Magento security is a prime concern of a store owner, and to protect your website from any unpleasant cyberattack, it is highly advisable to change your admin URL. To change admin URL you need to open your local.xml file located in your Magento Root Directory app/etc/local.xml. In this file, you will see “Admin” defined as the frontend. To ensure maximum protection, we recommend  you to choose a strong username and password combination.

Note: Clear your caches under the directory var/cache directory before you try to access the new admin URL.

4. Update Magento Favicon.ico

Favicon should be an important asset of the design project as it adds great value in the branding. We have seen that many website owners and developers forget this point – and it looks really odd if your store doesn’t have any favicon. The recommended size of the favicon is 16×16 and you can easily change it from the Magento CMS. Simply navigate to System > Configuration > General > Design and upload your favicon there.

Alternatively, you can also upload the favicon on the path: /skin/frontend/default/favicon.ico.

5. Change Store Email Addresses

Right product and company’s information is the first thing customer look at. An e-commerce website without an incorrect information can be suspicious and visitors may find it spammy. In development mode, some developers put dummy store information and then they forget to change it. Make sure you enter correct contact information of your store. To change the store information, go to System > Configuration > General > Store Information and to change the email address of your go to System > Configuration > Store Email Addresses.

6. Change your Placeholder Images

By default, Magento shows ‘placeholder image’ if no image is found for a product. It is a great automation offered by Magento, but it is recommended to replace the default placeholder image to a customized one. To upload your own product placeholder image, go to System > Configuration > Catalog > Product Image Placeholders. 

7. Update Your Copyright Information

We find it very odd if a Magento website has outdated information in the footer. Well, it is indeed one of the overlooked point that many web developers and website owners miss. It can seriously damage your brand in the market as no one would like to buy from an online store who is fails to update their own website. To update the copyright information on your website, navigate to System > Configuration > General > Design > Footer > Copyright.

8. Minify & Merge JavaScript & CSS Files

One of the most essential factor that influences speed is the JS and CSS files. To optimize the site load time, it is highly recommended to have a minified version of the files. Also, developers should always restrict the amount of HTTP or HTTPS request as it affects the speed of webpages. To merge and minify your JS files, go to: System > Configuration > Developer > JavaScripts > Settings. Do the same for CSS, and click ‘Yes’ to speed up the performance of your Magento website.

10. Clean Magento Logs

By default, Magento records all logs in its database. It is indeed a good mechanism, however, large database files can somehow impact the speed of the website. To improve the performance of the website, we recommend site owners to enable ‘Log Cleaning’ on your database. This will not only improve the speed of your website, but would certainly improve the latency also. To enable this feature, navigate to System > Configuration > Advanced > System > Log cleaning.

11. Clear All Test Data of Your Magento Store

Remove all dummy data that was created during the development time. The dummy data that you need to delete includes products, customers, orders and additional categories. Make sure to do it because at the time of deployment you don’t want dummy data to be there in your database. That will surely mess things up.

12. Create Your Store Maintenance File

Before going live on your host, make maintenance file at the start of your Magento installation.  Maintenance.flag is very useful when you are changing your store layout and making some significant changes. It is more useful especially when you are using slow FTP, and then upload files or folder into your Magento installation directories.

13. Connect Google Analytics With Your Magento Store

Google Analytics is one of the most powerful tools that help you to keep track of all users activity on your Magento store.  It adds significant value to businesses and assists them to make important and game-changing decisions. Magento made it easy for us to connect Google Analytics to our stores, go to  System > Configuration > Sales > Google API > Google Analytics. And enter your Google Analytics Account Number.

14. 404 Error Page For Your Magento Store

For every e-commerce website, 404 error page plays a prominent role as it shows up when something goes wrong on the website. Even popular websites and stores may experience technical difficulties, and to cater this, they use interactive 404 pages. Businesses can send visitors to customized landing page, where they can engage them with their content. In Magento, you can do it just by using 404 page and put some of your product categories by editing the page. Go to CMS > Pages > 404 Page and edit it as per your requirements.

Final Thoughts

Before you deploy your next e-commerce store, make sure that all the above mentioned Magento checklist have been carried out. It will guarantee a smooth and bug-free Magento store launch and will let you focus on scaling your business online.

It is always advisable to make a duplicate copy of your website so you can compare the two version before pushing it online. We ideally recommend a public and staging version of your website. For development changes, use ‘Staging’ version always as it will help you to deploy and test the changes quickly without affecting the live version.

We are sure that the above Magento checklist covered all the definite points you should consider while launching a Magento website. If you think if have missed any of the required steps, please drop us a note in the comments and we will quickly fill our list with your valuable feedback.

  • Alain Gaston

    Many thanks for the post. It’s really helpful!