This is an abridged version of Smashing Magazines Checklist of the 15 Essentials you need before launching a Website.

1. Make sure you have a Favicon.

2. Make sure all pages are titled and contain Meta Tags unique to each page.

3. Do a Cross-Browser Check. Make sure everything works on IE 6, 7 and 8, Firefox 3, Safari 3, Chrome and Opera.

4. Proofread everything or better yet get several friend to do it for you. Having a fresh pair of eyes goes a long way.

5. Check all Links to see if they work. Here is a handy tool that will aid you in the process; http://validator.w3.org/checklink

6. Check all Functionality or once again get your friends to give the site a good once over.

7. Graceful Degradation, test your site with JavaScript turned off. It should work with or without it.

8. Validate! Validate!! Validate!!! This is a handy tool that will help out:  http://validator.w3.org/

9. If you have a blog then make sure you have an RSS Link. One that is ultra easy to find.

10. Google Analytics is a must for any website about to go live on the web.

11. Have a Sitemap in your ROOT DIRECTORY. That way search engines can index it easily.

12. Engage in “Defensive Design.” That means having your own 404 page and make sure you check all forms by filling them out and submitting the data.

13. Optimize, for better performance use things like CSS sprites, optimized images and compressed JavaScript. Here is a Web Site Analyzer that can give you lots of details; Web Site Optimization.

14. Always Back Up!

15. Include a Print Style Sheet so users can print pages from your website.

For a much more in depth version of this list see Smashing Magazines website.