DevOps

Avoidable failures with a Magento Launch Checklist

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  • PLACE HOLDER IMAGE
  • FAVICON
  • UPDATE ADMIN URL
  • STORE SETTINGS
  • ADMIN URL
  • SSL CERTIFICATE
  • EXTENSIONS AND MODULES
  • BRANDED 404 PAGE
  • REMOVE TEST DATA
  • BROWSER TESTING
  • CHECKOUT
  • TRANSACTIONAL EMAILS
  • ABANDONED CART
  • OPTIMIZE SEARCH FUNCTIONALITY
  • DATA MIGRATION
  • 301 REDIRECTS
  • ANALYTICS
  • OPTIMIZE CSS & JAVASCRIPT
  • CDN
  • PERFORMANCE
  • DEVOPS

Magento Launch Checklist

Don’t feel too confident when you are so near to your BETA launch. There’s always something that you overlooked if you didn’t apply a Magento Launch checklist. When this happens you’re killing your conversion rate which will result in lower revenue. Therefore we always advise using a project management tool like Asana. Create for example a team MagentoV2 with the following projects: Extension: You are building a new website. It might that you have overlooked an extension that could make the life of your marketing department way easier. Check out this list with several marketing extensions at low cost.

One really powerful extension for e-commerce is that Elite-Mcommerce. It will take your whole Magento store to the Android & Apple store for as low as $1000. Basically, if you currently don’t have the budget for a custom mobile app project then this is your best solution.

TESTING

Your building a Magento. Better ask your development agency to develop an Automated testing Framework so you ensure at all times an error-free shopping experience. If you don’t want a custom framework we can suggest you apply for trial with LeapTest. Just make sure you have your automated testing in place.

GoLive: Here are the major areas to finalize for launch! (embed the below points in your slack as a checklist and avoid launch failure 🙂

Place Holder Image

If some of your products don’t have an image you will want a placeholder image. Make sure you update the placeholder image in the System Config Catalog setting for placeholder images.

FAVICON

Don’t launch with the default Magento favicon and update it to your brand Favicon! 

UPDATE ADMIN URL 

Update the admin url to be specific to you so random people can’t find it easily. 

STORE SETTINGS

You need to update store settings with your information as well as shipping settings and other basic store settings.

SSL Certificate 

Make sure you have a final SSL certificate ready and remove your Let’scrypt to a final more secure for the production launch.

EXTENSIONS AND MODULES

Your Extension and third party modules may require a to activate the license key or configure production credentials when you go live. Make sure the settings are all in place so that when you move to the live URL none of your third party modules or extensions aren’t working. Test,  Test,  test.

BRANDED 404 PAGE

Why don’t you be quirky here or even try to upsell something? Currently, we are working on one 404 site that gives coupon codes the first time you land it. The second time, you get a quirky message saying. It’s still a 404 page not our deal page. Anyway, you don’t need to copy this idea but it’s just to remind you that everywhere you can enhance the customer experience.  The default 404 page is not your brand, update it to be unique to your brand and perhaps lead people back to where they want to go! At the end of the day, each page is an opportunity to convert customers.

REMOVE TEST DATA

You may have been playing around with test data, make sure you remove it all and keep your site clean for production launch. A clean db will not mess up your data and make your marketing team happy. 🙂

BROWSER TESTING

The first simple place to start is simply browser testing. There are many browsers and versions of browsers and you also have to test mobile and different devices for each browser.

Some of the major areas to test:

  • Google chrome
  • IE versions
  • Safari
  • Firefox
  • Mobile and Tablet browser versions.

Again, user testing is required. But having an Automated Framework will have

  • Improved test efficiency
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Minimal manual intervention
  • Maximum test coverage
  • Reusability of code

CHECKOUT

Once you have tested that all browsers work fine and the site looks good on every device. Its time to make sure people can actually check out and buy!

I would look at:

  • Add to cart
  • Cart functionality / updating cart
  • Checkout
  • Order Confirmation
  • Inventory and stock levels
  • Payment
  • Checkout – Make sure YOU A/B TEST A PROGRESS BAR CHECKOUT compared with a Magento Onepage checkout. Use Google optimize for this.
  • Taxes (Avoid issues with your accountant)

Test to make sure the entire checkout flow works including payment, shipping, and taxes.

One tip: Install enhanced eCommerce analytics so you can easily track checkout behavior.

TRANSACTIONAL EMAILS

Many people overlook transactional emails. At the very least you should update them to have your brand and perhaps customize the language from the default templates. If you have more time invest in making them high quality and truly unique to your brand.

ABANDONED CART

An abandoned cart is low hanging fruit. No matter you don’t have any traffic yet when this is properly configured,  it can have major effects on the turnover generated.

OPTIMIZE SEARCH FUNCTIONALITY

Is your search up to par? Consumers expect high quality search, and basic default Magento search might not cut it. Although the search algorithm is incredibly flexible, it has had no optimization at all, rendering it almost completely useless.  So please have a look at this optimization break down: http://mageplugins.net/blog/post/optimizing-the-magento-search-algorithm/

DATA MIGRATION

If you are coming from another eCommerce system then you will need to migrate all data like orders, password (required in MD5) We DevGappers have created extensions for this so we can highly help with this matter. Otherwise, we suggest you assign this task to a certified Magento Developer.

Base URLs:

The base URL might be a staging URL, so update it to the new production url.

Reindex Data:

Reindex any new data that might be imported.

Enable Caching:

During development, you might have caching turned off to see changes faster. Enable caching for launch and ideally use for Magento Varnish cache.

Test All Forms:

If you have forms for various things like newsletters, contact us, etc…Make sure they are all tested and go to the correct place.

Log Cleaning:

Clean out the log files so they are optimized for launch. Log files can pile up and slow down your site.

301 REDIRECTS

Has your URL structure changed? If so you need to redirect the old URLs to the appropriate new ones or you could lose a ton of SEO value. Make sure you have a plan for this or you could face a much longer SEO recovery time.

GET YOUR ANALYTICS RIGHT FOR GROWTH 🚀

Make sure you are ready to optimize your site for Google via a quality sitemap submission to Google Search Console and your site is trackable via analytics. Don’t be cheap here and invest in custom e-commerce tracking and make sure you install the proper tags with Google tag manager. If you have a newsletter we recommend that you create goals for this one. Make sure that you have installed the facebook pixel with value parameter so you can measure your ROAS from facebook campaigns. You don’t want any gaps in your analytics. At the end of the day you want to measure your ROI on your marketing efforts.

OPTIMIZE CSS & JS

You can minify CSS and Javascript for site performance and reduce it to one smaller files. Of course, there’s an extension for this one. 🙂

DON’T FORGET CDN

I’m not going to go deep into this subject. But please ask your developer to work as much as he can with CDN.  But to summarize: CDN’s reduce latency and provides faster loading of your website. If you wanna know more which CDN is right for me e.g. Amazon Cloudfront for Cloudflare check out this article.

SITE SPEED / PERFORMANCE

Your site might be fine with a few people working on it, but is it ready for production visitors. Make sure you are confident it can handle speed and performance testing for the volume you expect to bring in. Check your PHP and Magento settings to make sure it can handle all the requirements you have for performance. There are lots of sites that provide this. GTmetrix gives you insight but we are a true fan of the Chrome extension Lighthouse into how well your site loads and provides actionable recommendations on how to optimize it. If you want to test some basic SEO and technical aspect regarding marketing. You have had a play with Hubspot’s lead magnet Marketinggrader. This grader is so popular that it delivers over 20K leads each month for Hubspot.

DevOps & POST LAUNCH

Are you ready for deployment and post-launch improvements? Make sure DevOps is in place. Continuous Deployment is a process that automatically deploys the results of Continuous Delivery into the final production environment via Git. Expect bugs and new work to come in immediately so having a process for this is critical to success. What emerges are repeatable processes and reliable systems. Less talk, more rock.

Tools every DevGapper use: BambooBitbucketChefDockerPuppet

A checklist is your best friend when it comes to complex projects. I can highly recommend the book (Checklist Manifesto) of Atul that states that WE ALL can improve ourselves if we should work with checklists.

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