-Launching a new site today is a much more weird process with many more anomalies than in the past
Not sure I agree with that one, to me it's become more simple. e.g. the more simple my site the better.
I'd add choice of host into the mix, since 2011 Google downgrades sites just because of the host they are on if that host offers free/cheap hosting that has become a haven for spam. Don't start out in that crowd.