What is the best day to launch a website? Let me take you through the website launch checklist and I will clarify each of the key directions.
Launching your WordPress site must be an exciting step. You have already gone through the motions of choosing your website builder, getting your way about WordPress (which can be quite overwhelming), designing your site interface, and now, you are about to launch your gleaming new site! Exciting, right?
However, before you hit that publish button, you need to run a thorough check of your site. Failing to check your website before it goes live could lead to malfunctioning, which is not what you want while trying to build a reputation in the blogosphere.
This checklist will help you identify the most important fine details to check right before you launch your site to ensure everything works well.
1. Check your Contact Page
A contact page allows your readers to get in touch with you. You can include a working email address, phone number, or mailing address for the more old school site viewers. In addition to obtaining feedback about your site, the contact page will let visitors inform you of a glitch. It will also improve the credibility of your website and your identity as its owner.
2. Delete dummy content
If you installed WordPress from scratch, you may have some dummy content like ‘Hello World’ to guide you in site configuration, design, and customization. Ensure you get rid of these before you launch your site.
3. Check your website media and text for typos
Typos are known to ruin one’s reputation. Regardless of the quality of your content, if there is a typo in your site title or widget headers, site visitors will regard you as sloppy and careless. Running a website requires a lot of intricacies, and a typo makes you appear incapable of keeping up with them. You also need to ensure that the images, videos, slideshows, and other media to ensure they load properly and have alternative texts.
Ensure that your website’s font size and type read well and that sentences are short and easy to read. You also need to have plenty of white space on your website, so your site is not crawling with text and media.
4. Test your website’s usability
Ensure that your website’s functional aspects are working as they should. Usability is a critical factor for SEO and user experience. In this step, check if all the add-ons are working correctly as follows:
- Are your images optimized for speed? There are many plugins you can use to quickly and efficiently optimize the images on your website for speed
- Ensure that the ticket site, contact, and CTA forms are working and allow users to enter information easily
- How is your website’s UX? Is your website easy on the eyes, appealing, and easy to navigate? Your site visitors should be able to find your archives, previous and current articles, and comment sections.
- If your website is eCommerce enabled, you need to ensure that the WooCommerce plugin is well-configured and that your email notifications, payment methods, shopping cart functionality, and other vital aspects are in tip-top shape.
5. Compatibility testing
Plugins are important in enhancing site functionality, but some plugins may clash with each other and cause a site malfunction or issues with site upgrades. Consider using a separate plugin like PHP Compatibility Checker to make certain that the themes and plugin you have integrated work well together.
6. Browser compatibility
Check how your website loads on different browsers. Sites load differently on different browsers, and you need to ensure that it at least loads clearly on Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari. These three browsers and the most used, and Chrome is especially popular. You can use a tool like Browsershots to predict your site’s performance on varying browsers.
7. Check your search function
A search function is critical in helping your visitors quickly find the pieces they want on your site through the application of filters and other methods. Run some random searches yourself to determine its efficiency and accuracy.
Website security is especially important when running an online platform. Different types of cyber threats lurk online, like hackers, viruses, Trojan horses, and others. These may take your site offline permanently, steal your site visitors’ details, and corrupt their devices, or even your own computer. You also need to ensure that your admin portal is secure by using a password or passcode to protect it from unauthorized people.
9. Check your SSL
Your SSL is another aspect of security; it encrypts your data, so hackers do not intercept it. Failing to have an SSL also invalidates you as the site owner and makes your site vulnerable to being labeled as ‘Not Secure.’ You can buy an SSL certificate from a reputable supplier and use an online checker to ensure that it works.
10. Mobile responsiveness
Over 50% of your website visitors will visit your website via their mobile devices, and you, therefore, need to ensure that your site reads well across Android and iOS devices. Mobile-responsiveness is a vital part of a website launch checklist. Every plugin, media, and feature of your website should load and work just as well as it does on a desktop browser on a mobile browser. Your text should also be legible and interface clean and navigable.
11. Brace yourself for the 404
The 404 errors are rare on new websites, but some users may still encounter them and get a bad impression. The best backup plan for this error is a custom 404 page. You can also set up an email alert to track 404 errors to ensure you are aware of them and fix them quickly.
12. Place some clear calls-to-action
Calls to action or CTAs are vital in conversion of site visitors to repeat visitors if you run a blog, or repeat customers of you run an online business. CTAs also direct site visitors to the most vital areas of your website, such as an email sign-up section.
13. Install a dedicated SEO plugin
There are dozens of ways you can improve your website’s SEO, such as having readable posts, posting regularly, and optimizing your website speed. You also need to have a unique title, meta description, and keywords on every page and article. Keeping up with these parameters can be tasking, which is why you need to install an SEO plugin.
These plugins will identify all key determinants of search engine friendliness and offer tips on how to make improvements. A reputable SEO plugin you can use is Yoast.
14. Check your XML sitemaps
An XML sitemap is important for SEO and is a simple file that contains your website’s pages, posts, and other important features. It helps search engine crawlers understand what your content is about and its intricate organization, which makes it easier for them to crawl through it. Another advantage of having an SEO plugin is that they will create an XML sitemap for you. You still need to ensure that the XML sitemap exists and that it includes all relevant content.
15. Check your robots.txt file
A robots.txt file is another ‘tool’ that enhances SEO by making it easier for search engine crawlers to crawl through your website easily and rank it better. It is especially important if your site has additional tag and category pages; these are low quality and may impede crawling. You can view it on your cPanel’s file manager, and can be opened using Notepad. You can also create one, save it as robots.txt, and upload it to your website’s root folder.
16. Ensure that your URLs are correct
As you move your website from the staging region to production, you also change the URLs, and you must ensure that the URL on the live website is accurate before you launch your website.
17. Check the permalinks
Permalinks are used to provide the content on each of your site’s pages. They are a must-have for optimal SEO, and will easier for site visitors to use and remember. Configure them and ensure that they work optimally.
18. Check AMP compatibility
Website speed is a critical factor in improving site SEO and in reducing bounce rates. Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) feature helps your site load faster on mobile browsers regardless of the data plans your site visitors are using.
AMP is excellent for a WordPress blog with reduced interaction because it strips down your content to the bare minimum. If you are using a Google AMP plugin, load your site on a mobile browser to ensure it is working properly. You can also use an AMP testing tool.
19. Test your social media compatibility
If you would like your site visitors to follow you on social media, ensure that the icons are working and leading to the right pages. If you are using plugins like Jetpack and Social Pug to facilitate social media sharing, ensure that they are well-configured by simply using them. The last thing you want is to have stylish icons that give echoes.
Site accessibility is all about ensuring that everyone, regardless of disability can readily enjoy your content. You can improve your WordPress site’s accessibility by using special themes and plugin to improve layout, design, navigation, and content. This way, you will improve your site’s reputation, improve traffic, and offer your content to more people. Consider using tools like the Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool (WAVE) to improve its current accessibility.
Backups are vital for hassle-free site management. In case anything catastrophic happens to your websites, like a cyber attack or a massive glitch that takes it offline, you can readily restore your site and minimize its effect. Before your website goes live, ensure that you install a backup solution like UpdraftPlus to ensure your site has a constantly updated backup. You also need to have a backup offline as well, in case you are not able to access the internet for a while.
22. Keep spam at bay
WordPress is especially popular, and this popularity exposes it to spam. Spam especially shows up on your comment section and prevents legitimate users from having conversations. Spam may also have dangerous links and make your site look unprofessional. To ensure your other site visitors are not offended or put off by spam, you need to have an anti-spam plugin comment moderation plan. It will also make it easier to manage comments.
Related Read: How To Deal With Comment Spam In WordPress?
23. Check the timezone on your site
The timezone on your website regulates when automatic activities like backups and updates occur. You do not want your site to become unavailable for visitors at 10 am because it is running an update at ‘3 am.’ Visit your site settings, check the ‘General’ tab, then select the correct time zone on the corresponding drop-down.
24. Ensure that your website conforms to the legal standards
The legal side of running your website may be rather boring, but you need to iron it out to avoid bigger issues in the long run. Legal aspects you want to check to include:
- Have a Terms and Conditions section that explains your content and services in detail, especially if you are running a store on your WordPress site.
- Ensuring that you obtain licenses for images, fonts, plugin, videos, and other features
- If you collect payments online, ensure your site is PCI compliant
- Check the local, state, and federal legal requirements for running your kind of website. Ensure your site meets the requirements for age verification, credit card processing, licenses for selling products, image use, and other factors.
25. Delete unnecessary plugins
Avoid having unnecessary plugins; they may interact with the most important plugins on your site and drag it down by consuming space. Carry out an audit and remove the least important ones.
This checklist may sound like a lot of work, but in the end, you will be glad you went through it. Have a great launch day!