Magento Website Pre-Launch Checklist

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Magento Website Pre-Launch Checklist

After spending days and months to build wonderful functionalities on Magento website, It is very important for Magento developers to make sure that the web shop launch process goes smooth. You may be in impression that you have covered everything required for a great launch but in the back of your mind, there might be things that you miss out

Here We’ve got you a great pre-launch checklist compiled by our experienced Magento ecommerce Developers. Use it before launching any of your Magento website.

Basic Configuration

  • Store URLs

Make sure that your store’s base URLs are correct for your live site launch. Confirm that your magento website has appropriate URLs on all your stores set up . You can check them here in Magento Admin: System -> Configuration -> Web

Store_URL

  • Security Certificate

It’s always good to make your customers feel secure using your website. Purchase a Security Certificate from trusted SSL provider and make sure that it is configured properly with your server and Magento store.

  • Favicon

Generally website owners often forget to upload the favicon on new websites. This helps in the use experience and visual branding of the website.

  • HTML Head

This information is crucial when launching the site. Update all the info to help with your SEO. Set the ‘Title’, and set Meta descriptions and keywords from the path in Admin: System -> Configuration -> General -> Design.

HTML_Head

  • Placeholder Images

These images are the default images used by Magento to show symbol of Magento on the category and products where you have not uploaded any images for your catalog. For the purpose of branding, you can create a set of your own placeholder images and upload it by going to the path in Admin: System -> Configuration -> Catalog -> Product Image Placeholders.

Placeholder_Images

  • Contact Information

Make sure that all the store information and email addresses are setup to correct ones so that if any customer tries to connect with you, you can get in touch with them. You can find those in Admin paths: System -> Configuration -> General -> Contacts

Contact_Information

System -> Configuration -> General -> Store Email Addresses -> General Contact

Contact_Information2

  • Copyright

In the footer there is a place for copyright information which is always shown on all the pages. Make sure that your copyright information is updated. You can do that in Admin here: System -> Configuration -> General -> Design -> Footer -> Copyright.

Copyright

  • Store Email Addresses

Ensure that all your business email addresses are correctly setup. You can check them from Admin path: System -> Configuration -> General -> Store Email Addresses

Store_Email_Addresses

  • Error Page Design

This page is shown to customers on front of the website when there is any error on site. You must keep a 404 Not Found page and design it to match your website theme. You can also create a different approach and create another layout or design to entertain your customers if they are thrown to this page. You can setup this page in Admin from: CMS ->Pages ->Search for “404 not found” page.

Error_Page_Design

SEO Configuration

  • Email Templates

The emails which are being sent to your customers makes quite an impact on your store’s user experience and SEO. Make sure that all the email templates are designed to match with your website’s theme and has user-friendly layout.

  • Newsletter

Ensure that store’s newsletter subscription functionality is working fine so that customers can subscribe to receive your newsletters. Newsletters are very efficient way to attract new and old customers to your website with weekly updates or new offers for regular shopping. You can check its configuration here in admin area: System -> Configuration -> Customers -> Newsletter -> Subscription Options

Newsletter

  • Invoices and Packing slips

Make sure that these slips are setup with all the required information of order and your store logo is setup correctly for website branding.

  • Google Analytics

Stay updated with your website’s traffic updates by integrating Google Analytics with your Magento store. Magento provides default functionality to easily integrate your existing account by entering your analytics account ID in the path: System -> Configuration -> Sales -> Google API -> Google Analytics

Google_Analytics

  • Google Sitemap

All the search engine crawlers get your store’s catalog information from sitemap files. Magento provides you functionality to create Google Sitemap which helps in SERP rankings. You can generate the sitemap by simply going to this path: Catalog -> Google Sitemap -> Add new sitemap

Google_Sitemap

Sales Configuration

  • Cart Options

Make sure that all the sections on your cart page are working fine. Magento provides Shipping Estimate and Discount coupon codes section on cart page for better customer shopping experience. There are also cart rules and minimum order amount restrictions applied here. Please check all of them are correct as per your business model

  • Checkout Options

You can set the option for guest checkout and also point out to your store’s terms & conditions so that your customers are aware of that information in case of any doubts they may have

  • Tax Settings

Check these configurations to make sure that tax is applied properly on store as they are setup. You can find those at: System -> Configuration -> Sales -> Tax -> Tax Classes -> Tax Class for shipping

Tax_Settings

  • Shipping Methods

Ensure that shipping options visible to customers are applied correctly and they have correct prices as per your shipping logic based weights or order amount. You can check your store’s shipping settings from:System -> Configuration -> Sales -> Shipping Settings

Shipping_Methods

Also, the shipping methods can be setup from: System -> Configuration -> Sales -> Shipping Methods

Shipping_Methods2

  • Payment Methods

Before launching site to production, test the payment gateways to make sure your website processes the payments properly and restrictions applied for currency and countries. You can check your store’s payment settings from: System -> Configuration -> Sales -> Payment Methods

Payment_Methods

Legal Pages

  • Privacy Policies

Many countries require that your websites provide information such as privacy policy so that your customers can know about the legal process company follows and what information is stored from customers. This can be a CMS page with all the information.

  • Terms & Conditions

If your store has specific terms and conditions for customers to place order on your website then you have to provide that information so that customers can agree to your conditions before making any purchase. You can add it from the path: Sales -> Terms and Conditions -> Add New Condition

Terms_Conditions

Also, to show this on checkout you need to Enable Terms and Conditions from this path: System -> Configuration -> Sales -> Checkout

Terms_Conditions_-_Checkout

  • Return Policies

If your store offers facility of returning purchased merchandise for customers then it would be good practice to provide information on the rules required to be followed. This can be a simple CMS page with all the information about your return policy.

Performance & Optimization Configuration

  • Index Management

Ensure that your store’s indexes are updated before launching site to production. Magento provides Index Management for faster process on the catalog information. There are many types of indexes added in the Magento but make sure all are marked with Ready status in green color. If any index is in red then you have to Reindex it to get your store updated with latest changes. You can find the configuration here: System -> Index Management

Index_Management

  • Cache Management

Magento provides default functionality of caching to improve your website’s performance on customers end. There is additional Full Page Cache also introduced by Magento for better HTML and resource caching.Ensure that all the cache is enabled before you launch the website. You can find all cache configurations here at path: System -> Cache Management

Cache_Management

  • System Compilation

Magento provides a feature to get better performance by running compilation process. Basically what it does is store all the files of Magento which are required to run your store on browser in one place and loads it from there instead of using the general Magento framework structure. This reduces time of searching for each file in the structure and results in better performance.

To use this feature go to Admin -> Tools -> Compilation -> click on Run Compilation Process

System_Compilation

This will result in error if any of your extensions are conflicting or your server does not have sufficient space.

  • Log Cleaning

Its good practice to keep your logs clean because sometimes it can cause performance issue on your server and database. Magento generally cleans logs after 180 days but if your store is generating few small errors from code perspective then that log files can grow to be of very much large sizes. The same can happen with your database if your website is getting heavy traffics and results in huge logs in database.

To clean the logs up manually go to Admin -> System -> Configuration -> Advanced -> System -> Logs tab -> Change “Save Logs, Days” to 15 or your preferred time -> Save config.

Log_Cleaning

You can also clean up your logs from database if you have phpMyAdmin access by running following queries.

Log_Cleaning2

  • Minify CSS & JS

Magento store having too many design files and scripts can result into slow loading speed. For this you need to make sure that your website theme is optimized. You can improve speed and performance both by merging all the CSS into one or two files and doing same for Javascript.Go to Admin -> System -> Advanced -> Developer

Under “JavaScript Settings” and “CSS Settings” change the dropdown to “Yes” and click on “Save Config.”

Minify_CSS_JS

Clear your Magento cache after it to reflect the changes on website front pages.

If your theme is a complex one and using many jQuery plugins then merging JavaScript may break your layout or many functionality of your website. If that happens then it would be best to leave it unmerged.

Cron Schedule

There are many processes which are required to run periodically at specific times in Magento such as email, catalog price rules, newsletters, customer alerts, Google sitemaps, update currency rates, etc. To configure it go to path in admin: System -> Configuration -> Advanced -> System and modify the Cron.php file in the root of your Magento store file system.

Cron_Schedule

Launch

Now you are ready to deploy your Magento website to production.

Moving ahead, for any type of maintenance work or edits – You should have 2 versions of your website. First is live website which your customers are using to order and second is staging site which you use for any new functionality development or design changes, and move to live after thorough testing so that live site operations do not get disturbed

Keep taking backup of your store on regular basis so in case of any hiccups you have last working copy of the website to restore the site and keep your sales on the track.

It’s always good to have regular contact with a great Magento ecommerce development company to assist you on all the points listed above

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