As you prepare to publish your site, use this list to ensure everything is ready for visitors and search engines.
To help you budget your time, we've labeled some items as optional. These can help make a site feel truly yours, but aren't as necessary for getting your site up and running. For example, a custom 404 page makes your site look more polished, but if you don't create one, there's a default 404 page already set up for you. You can always continue to fine-tune your site after launch.
Tip: To get the perspective of a few friends or colleagues before launching, set and share a site password.
Step 1 - Perfect your site's design and style
- Set your site title (always) and add a logo (optional). Logos replace site titles, but the site title will still appear in other places, like search results.
- Use Site Styles to ensure fonts, colors, spacing, and other details are consistent and reflect your brand. For tips, see Selecting the right fonts and colors.
- If privacy is important to your visitors, consider adding a cookie banner, and check that your policies are easy to find.
- Add a custom favicon, the image that displays in browser tabs. If you don't have one yet, you can always upload one later.
Step 2 - Finalize your pages
- Set a homepage and ensure the style and text reflects your brand. Since this is the first thing visitors see when arriving at your domain, it's the best place to make a good first impression.
- Check that your navigation menus are in the order you want. To move them, drag and drop them around the Pages panel.
- Read through the text on every page at least once. Check for typos, broken links, and placeholder text from your template.
- Check URL slugs for all pages. If you changed any page titles, you may want to edit the slugs to match.
- If you've added a collection page, check that its fonts and colors are consistent with the rest of your site. See our tips below for Album, Blog, Events, Gallery, and Project Pages, if your site has them. (Products Pages are covered in Step 6.)
- Ensure each page's size is below 5 MB. Large pages affect your site's mobile compatibility and overall loading speed.
- Create a custom 404 error page in case visitors end up in the wrong place.
- Consider if there are pages your visitors will be looking for that you haven't yet created. For inspiration, visit our guides on About and Contact pages, or our site topic guides.
Step 3 - Check images
- Check that all pages have thumbnails and Alternative Social Sharing Images.
- If you turned any images into links, click them to check they lead to the correct place. To fix any issues, edit their clickthrough URLs.
- Check every image you uploaded. If an image looks fuzzy, check that it follows our image formatting best practices. Use our built-in image editor to make any updates.
- If any images and banners are cropping in an odd way, use this troubleshooting guide.
Step 4 - Check domains and integrations
- Add a custom domain to strengthen your brand and help visitors to find you on the web.
- If you have more than one domain, choose the primary domain you want.
- Send a few test submissions to every form on your site, and check that the submissions go to the storage methods you selected.
- Check every integration and third-party code customization on your site. For example, click each social icon and check that they lead to the correct profile, and check that custom code is rendering correctly.
- Consider using our G Suite by Google integration to create email addresses for your custom domain.
- If you've already set up a custom email address, it's a good idea to send a few test emails to ensure your inbox is working.
Step 5 - Optimize for search engines
Step 6 - Check your online store setup
If your site has a Products Page, ensure it's ready for customers.
- Add a payment processor so you can accept payments.
- Set any required tax rules and learn about collecting VAT or GST.
- Add at least one shipping option if you sell physical products.
- Run a test order to see what checkout is like for your customers. This is a good time to check how shipping options display and how your email notifications look.
- Confirm every product has the correct price, at least one product image, and a complete description.
- Disable test mode to prepare for accepting orders.
- Consider adding tags and categories to every product.
- Your store email notifications have default content you can use, but you can add custom information to them.
- Customize your checkout page. For example, you can require additional information and style it to match your brand.
- Prepare your first sale or discount to celebrate your new store launch.
Step 7 - Publish
When you're ready to share your site with the world, visit Publishing your site.
After changing the site visibility to Live to make your site public, check the following things.
- If you've set any page passwords, remove them individually.
- If you have an Under Construction page, you might want to disable it.
- You may need to invite or remove site contributors, or change their permissions.
- Verify your site with Google Search Console when you're confident that it's ready for Google to index it. This could help your site appear in search results sooner.
- Visit your site on different mobile devices and browsers to ensure your visitors' experience is consistent no matter how they get to your site.
- After people start visiting your site, use our built-in analytics tools and Google Analytics integration to track site traffic and check for trends.
Tip: You can treat your site as a work in progress. After launching, you can continue to customize and add content. Even if your site stays mostly the same, it's good to check periodically to ensure the information is still correct and any links to other websites haven't broken.
Step 8 - Promote your site after launch (optional)
When your site is live, here are some tips for promoting it:
- Share links to your site with your friends and colleagues.
- Push content as you post it with social sharing.
- As you add new content, follow our SEO best practices.
- Send promotional emails and newsletter updates directly from your site with Squarespace Email Campaigns, or learn about our integration with Mailchimp.
- See if you're eligible for Google Ads credit to create ad campaigns.
- Use The Announcement Bar and Promotional Pop-Ups to share exciting news and offers.
- Set up the Shopping on Instagram integration to tag your products on Instagram.
Album Page checklist
For Album Pages:
- Check the album art.
- Listen to each song to ensure it's loaded correctly.
Blog Page checklist
For Blog Pages:
- Publish at least one post.
- Check if you've enabled comments, and decide if they require approval.
- Consider adding tags and categories to every post.
- Decide if you want to excerpt your posts.
- Check the author for all published blog posts.
- Set the number of posts that will display per page.
If you're using your Blog Page to host a podcast:
- Check your podcast details are correct.
- Ensure you've added podcast artwork.
- Remember to submit your podcast to Apple after your site is live.
Events Page checklist
For Events Pages:
- Review the main landing page, and choose calendar or list view.
- Open each upcoming event and review its images, text, times, and links.
Gallery Page checklist
For Gallery Pages:
- Check all images and their captions.
- If your gallery autoplays, watch it go through one full rotation to ensure all the images look good and the transitions are working properly.
- Check the links on any clickthrough URLs.
- Consider customizing the slug for any deeplink URLs.
Project Page checklist (York family)
For Project Pages:
- Check how images display in different browser widths. Project Page images never stretch beyond their original dimensions.
- Review the captions for typos or broken links.
Visit the York template guide for more help.