Magento 2 Launch Checklist

This checklist is designed to provide support for retailers looking to launch a new Magento 2 store - detailing areas that should be considered prior to going live, through the project and post-launch.

Profileby Vervaunt Team 26 March, 2020

Introduction

It’s a scenario unfortunately all too common in the eCommerce world: a new Magento 2 website is built, launched to the world and the commercial performance immediately plummets. It could be that organic search traffic drops off a cliff or conversion rate halves. Either way, these problems are often caused by something simple being missed or incorrectly administered at launch, both of which are completely avoidable.

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Following a straightforward but comprehensive launch checklist will help to ensure that everyone's hard work over the build period is repaid.

Below we have created a Magento 2 checklist which can be used in the pre-launch, launch and post-launch stages of your website deployment. The checklist is based on the assumption that the website is ‘done’ in terms of development and QA; these are the final checks the eCommerce / Project Manager should make when launching it to the world.

Pre-Launch Checklist

  • To be undertaken when the site is deemed to be complete and ready to launch

  • Checks should take place on desktop, mobile and tablet devices

Product Pages (PDP)

  1. Product images are optimised and display correctly across all devices

  2. Product videos play correctly across all devices

  3. Product title is prominent and wrapped in an H1 tag

  4. Price is displayed prominently across all devices, including accurately showing:

    1. Inc. or ex. VAT

    2. Sale prices

    3. Tiered pricing 

    4. Simple prices when chosen on configurable products

    5. Price changes when options are selected on bundle products

  5. Clicking Add to Basket button:

    1. Correctly adds item(s) to basket across all product types

    2. Displays concise error message when required product options are not selected

  6. Out of Stock products display correctly across all devices

  7. Add to wishlist functionality works as expected

  8. Products with Back in Stock notifications enabled are displayed correctly and email address is correctly stored when entered

  9. Product description (short and main) displays correctly across all devices

  10. If using out-of-the-box product reviews, these are working correctly and feeding through to the Magento admin for the appropriate approval status.  If using a 3rd party review platform, go to ‘Reviews’ section below 

All ‘test’ products are removed from the site

Third Party Reviews

  1. Switched to production mode and test reviews have been added to ensure they are working

    1. At product level

    2. At site level if applicable

  2. Product reviews contain correct schema markup

  3. Existing site reviews have been correctly imported across

Category Pages / PLP

  1. Product images show correctly, as do hover secondary images if applicable

  2. Correct pricing shows for:

    1. Simple products

    2. Bundle products

    3. Configurable products

    4. Grouped products

    5. Gift cards

  3. Filtering works as expected

  4. Category title is wrapped around an H1 tag

  5. Category description if used is feeding through correctly onto the front end

  6. Sort By functionality functions as expected

  7. Pagination functions as expected

On-Site Search

Whether using the out-of-the-box site search (which is generally not recommended) or a 3rd party service, the following steps should be followed to help get the most out of your site search functionality:

  1. Correct attributes for searching have been selected, e.g. SKU, name, description, etc

  2. Popular searches on the previous site (which you can identify via Google Analytics) are checked and bring back expected results

  3. Site search results filtering options work as expected

  4. Any search term redirects have been imported from the old site and are working correctly

  5. Consider implementing new landing page redirects for popular search terms

  6. Relevant synonyms have been set up

The quality of site search results are subjective but through performing a range of relevant searches, you should have a good idea as to whether the algorithm is working optimally.  Remember: a lot of 3rd party services learn as they go, so this may need a bedding in period post-launch.

SEO

We don’t want Google and co to index your new website before it is ready to launch, as this can cause all sorts of problems!  It’s important however to get the site ready from an SEO perspective, so the following steps should be followed at this pre-launch stage:

  1. Site is set to noindex/nofollow

  2. Robots.txt at this stage should:

    1. Block search engines from accessing the site

    2. Prevent dynamic URLs from being indexed

  3. Product schema implemented

  4. <title> tags and meta descriptions have been imported from current website and checked

    1. Both of these should not contain HTML

  5. Fall back <title> tags and meta descriptions have been added

  6. Meta Keywords should be blank (best practice is for these not to be used)

  7. Href-langs implemented if applicable

  8. Images should:

    1. Be optimised for the web

    2. Contain appropriate alt tags

  9. 301 redirects from current to new website are ready to be implemented at a server level and have been manually spot-checked checked to confirm they are correct

  10. Canonical URLs have been set up for products and categories if applicable

Promo codes

  1. All ‘test’ promo rules have been removed or disabled

  2. Check all active Shopping Cart rules (or as many as practical) to ensure they are working correctly

  3. Check Catalog Price rules work and amend prices on the front end as expected

Breadcrumbs

  1. Breadcrumbs display correctly across all areas of the website

  2. Breadcrumbs link through correctly to destination page

Social links

  1. Check to ensure all social icons link to the correct destination

  2. If using social sharing buttons on product pages, check these work as expected

General admin / setup

It is recommended that every tab within ‘Stores > Settings > Configuration’ is checked for each site on your new Magento 2 platform to ensure that nothing has been missed.  Listing every single option here would not be practical but the below are commonly overlooked!

  1. General

    1. The correct default country and allowed shipping countries are selected

    2. Store information is filled out

    3. If only one store is being managed, single store mode is enabled

    4. Store email addresses are updated from example placeholder

    5. Contacts are updated from example placeholder

    6. Currency – correct base and allowed currencies added

  2. Catalog

    1. Catalog – ensure fall back meta data is added

    2. XML sitemap – ensure this is set to update daily

  3. Customers

    1. Customer configuration – ensure the share customer accounts option is as desired

  4. Sales – it’s worth going through every single setting here to make sure you are happy with the setup. Particular attention should be paid to:

    1. Tax – ensure tax is calculated and shown correctly sitewide

    2. Checkout – ensure you are comfortable with how the checkout will look and function

    3. Shipping settings – Origin correctly filled in

    4. Shipping methods – double check all settings

    5. Google API – to add in credentials for GA and/or GTM

Payment methods – ensure these are changed from sandbox to production in order to test live transactions

Transactional emails

Assuming Magento is to be used for transactional emails, check that the following emails send correctly and look as expected on all devices:

  1. Sales order

    1. Guest

    2. Logged in user

  2. New account sign up

  3. Forgotten password

    1. Link to reset password works and can be reset

  4. Back in stock notification

Tax

  1. Tax rules, rates and classes have been entered 

  2. Tax display settings in configuration have been correctly set up

  3. Front end displays the correct VAT price per product on:

    1. Product pages

    2. Category pages

    3. Page builder blocks

Cart

  1. Cart total displays the following correctly:

    1. Subtotal

    2. Total

    3. Tax

    4. Discount

  2. Promo code field

    1. Works as expected with valid codes

    2. Displays user-friendly error message for invalid codes

  3. Changing product quantity updates as expected

  4. Removing product from cart works as expected

  5. If using enclosed checkout, clicking site logo returns user to the homepage

  6. Continue Shopping buttons return the user to the homepage

  7. Gift card field works expected

Checkout

Checks to be carried out for the following as both a logged in and guest user (if applicable):

  1. Error messages on address / billing details are user-friendly

  2. Promo and gift card fields work as expected

  3. Correct shipping options are pulled through with the correct shipping value

  4. All payment options

    1. Have been fully configured and set to production accounts

    2. Show user-friendly error messages for invalid details

    3. Take payment as expected when correct details are used

      1. Order shown in correct state in Magento, e.g. Processing

      2. Order exports successfully to ERP if applicable 

      3. Payment is received in gateway as expected

      4. Order completes as expected

  5. If checking out as a guest, option to register on success page is present and works as expected

Account area

Generally, the account area functionality is not adapted a great deal from a code point of view so will work as expected. Iit is still worth checking the following however (this is particularly important if you have imported your customers over from your current website):

  1. Personal details pull through as expected and passwords can be updated

  2. Address functionality will ensure:

    1. Shown correctly for all existing addresses

    2. New addresses can be added

    3. Addresses can be updated

  3. Orders

    1. New orders show as expected with correct order state

    2. Re-order button works as expected

  4. Newsletter subscriptions

    1. Show the correct mailing list user is subscribed to 

    2. Provides opportunity to remove themselves from mailing lists

  5. Wishlists

    1. Items in wishlist are shown as expected

    2. Clicking on item in wishlist takes user through to the corresponding product

Navigation

Based on the assumption of using the out-of-the-box Magento navigation.  It is particularly important to check the site navigation on multiple devices.

  1. Categories that are selected to ‘show in menu’ do so as expected

  2. Different levels of navigation show as expected

  3. Any dropdowns used do not hinder the user experience, i.e. too fast or too slow

CMS pages

As CMS pages can be infinitely varied, especially if using the pagebuilder functionality, it is important to check that each block used functions correctly across multiple devices.  It is very common for mistakes to be made here, so we suggest creating an example page with all the pagebuilder blocks to be used across the site and ensure that these look and function as expected across all devices.

Cookie policy

  1. Present on the website for new users

  2. Doesn’t show for users who have already accepted the policy

Google Analytics / GTM

Live GA/GTM credentials to be added if you are filtering out traffic to your unlaunched website

404 page

Looks and functions as expected

Holding page

When the new site launches there is likely to be a downtime which can last for several hours, during which the holding page will show.  It is at this point that key stakeholders (as well as users) will be on this page, refreshing to see if it has launched yet, so it is important to get this page spot on!

  1. Check holding page for launch is correct

    1. Phone number (including tel: link)

    2. Email address

    3. Content

Launch Checklist

Launch day has arrived, the holding page has been removed and IP restrictions lifted – the site is now available to the world. The following should be checked as soon as the site is live.  It is also worth running through the pre-launch checks again (minus the SEO steps) for peace of mind.

Test orders

  1. Place multiple test orders

    1. Logged in and as guest users

    2. Same billing / shipping address

    3. Different billing / shipping address

    4. Multiple test of different payment options

  2. Orders go through as expected

    1. To Magento

    2. To ERP / Order management software

    3. Tax amounts are correct

  3. Payment is captured as expected in gateway

Website address

  1. Correctly resolves to HTTPS

    1. Non HTTPS redirects to HTTPS

  2. Non www resolves to www or vice versa

SEO

This part is very important!  Make sure all aspects are checked as soon as site launches:

  1. Spot check 301 redirects – as many as practically possible

  2. Create XML sitemap(s) in Magento

  3. Ensure site is set to INDEX/FOLLOW

    1. View page source across several on FE to confirm text is there

  4. Search engines are unblocked from robots.txt

  5. Webmaster tools account is created / updated

    1. New sitemap(s) are added

  6. If using SEO software, check for broken links across the site and fix

  7. Run product pages through schema markup tool https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool

  8. Double check canonical URLs are in place

  9. Double check href-lang implementation

Transactional emails

A repeat of the pre-launch steps, but worth checking again as these commonly cause issues upon launch. Ensure that the following emails send correctly and look as expected on all devices:

  1. Sales order

    1. Guest

    2. Logged in user

  2. New account sign up

  3. Forgotten password

  4. Link to reset password works and can be reset

  5. Back in stock notification

If emails are not coming through as expected or going into spam, a good step to take is to ensure the developers have added SPF records correctly.

Google Analytics

  1. Use real-time reports to ensure external traffic is coming through to the website

  2. Update the site search parameters if necessary to ensure site search queries are recorded

  3. Ensure transactions are being recorded correctly (these generally are available in GA around 10mins after a transaction is made)

Performance

Run Google lighthouse audit and compare to previous website.  Address any concerns with your technical team as necessary.

Third party service checks

Your site will more than likely have a number of 3rd party modules to enhance functionality.  When a site is launched, these can have issues with licenses etc which can cause modules to not work.  The common ones to check as soon as a website launches include:

  1. Site Search – run a re-index and check results are as expected

  2. Email - sign up for marketing email lists works as expected

  3. Live chat

  4. Personalisation software

  5. Reviews

  6. Tax extensions

  7. Shipping extensions

  8. PSP modules

Post-Launch Checklist

Once the dust has settled from the launch, over the coming weeks the following should take place (multiple times if possible) to ensure that any unforeseen issues are addressed.

SEO

  1. Ongoing checks of the following in webmaster tools

    1. Error log and address if necessary

    2. Sitemap(s) have been successfully read

    3. Robots file is valid

  2. Spot check search listings to ensure

    1. Title tags are displaying in results as expected

    2. Meta descriptions are pulling through correctly

    3. Schema markup is showing where necessary

    4. Review ratings where applicable are displaying

    5. Correct store version showing in the correct search engine locale

  3. XML sitemap is updating daily

  4. New content and images added to the site are optimised

Google Analytics / GTM

  1. Check following traffic sources and compare with previous site data

    1. Organic traffic

    2. Direct traffic

    3. Referral traffic

  2. Ensure orders continue to flow through to GA as expected

  3. If using GTM, all tags are firing as expected

Customer services

No matter how well your site launch goes, customers will always manage to find issues with it!  It is worth talking with the customer service team to see what feedback they are getting about the website, as this can often expose issues that need addressing.

Sales

Orders continue to go through to Magento with the correct status and feed through to relevant 3rd party software.

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You will more than likely find that some of the above are not applicable to your website and other customisation (such as subscriptions) may need to be included, but following this checklist will go a long way to ensuring your website performs well commercially from the get-go.  Good luck!

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Vervaunt Team
Posts written by the Vervaunt team - covering various topics around eCommerce and paid media.