Get your accounts in order. A lot of services are changed right at launch. Sometimes these services haven't been touched in years, so it is easy to lose track of your login information. When we launch some of the accounts we are changing or applying to the new site can include: Google Analytics, Domain Name Server, SSL Certificate, etc... To avoid scrambling at the last minute for this information, this is something we can be proactive about to prep for launch.
Prevent 404s. When working on a new site, url structures change often. As paths change, a plan should be put in place to set up redirects as the build progresses. We also recommend focusing your attention on your analytics, finding the top 100 pages and setting up specific redirects to these top pages on the new site. This can all happen before launch and can save your search rankings after launch.
Train your team. Is everyone on your team ready to start maintaining this site when the old one goes away? You don't want content to be delayed after launch because no one knows how to use your new tool. Also, it is normal when learning a new technology mistakes happen, and it makes for a much smoother launch if those lessons can be learned on a development site instead of on a brand new site.
Develop on the end server. Whenever possible, it is much faster and smoother to develop your new site on its final resting place. If a site has to move servers, it is very common for a delay thanks to additional work to move and qa on the new environment. Developing on your end host also helps your team get familiar with their new hosting environment and get used to the the new development process.
Clear your schedule. Murphy's law says if you try to launch a site at a high volume time or at 5:00 the day before a Holiday weekend, all hell will break lose, and no one wants that. We work hard to help pinpoint the most strategic time to launch a site with you, but if you want a smooth fast launch, it is important to set expectations and make sure every necessary partner is going to be on hand for support.
Freeze your content. Content is an important piece to the website puzzle. To avoid any content getting missed during the transition, it is important to put measures in place to freeze your old site before launch. This doesn't just impact staff, if your site allows users to submit content, change their profile, or comment, all of that should be frozen too, to avoid losing any changes.