What Should Be On Your Checklist Before Launching A WordPress Website
Launching your WordPress website is an exciting time. You’ve spent months slaving away, making little tweaks to ensure your website’s theme, content and user experience is just right. You think you’re finally ready to launch, but want to make one last check before sending it out into the wild. So, what should be on your website pre-launch checklist?
Optimize on-page SEO / Google Indexing
Crafting a beautiful, informative and responsive website is no good if no one is able to find it. It’s essential that your website can be picked up by Google before you launch it or else risk people wondering why it’s not appearing in their searches.
To ensure your pages rank from day one you need to make sure their on-page SEO is optimized. The easiest way to do this is to use an SEO plugin. Adding the essentials, including titles and meta descriptions, permalink structures and HTTPS, is heavily simplified through this process. This simple change won’t take long, and save your blushes when you realize you can’t search for your own website.
Just as important is making sure your website is set up for Google indexing. For another quick fix, just ensure the ‘noindex’ tag is removed on the back-end of your website and use a test tool to check your change.
Social media has become one of the most vital tools for new businesses to reach an audience, conduct industry research and ensure their content is seen by the widest audience. Audiences want to connect with their favorite brands and websites through social media, and there needs to be a seamless integration between your new WordPress site and these platforms.
Make sure that your social sharing plugins are working properly, any links to your social sites are pointing to the relevant pages and your social feeds are showing the correct content. If you have any social analytics monitoring tools, make sure they are linked up to the right account and tracking properly.
Poor performance can ruin a website’s potential before it even gets started. Slow load speed is often the number one issue that will cause a user to leave a webpage. Ideally, you should look to make your pages load in a maximum of three seconds, as after this time you’re expected to lose up to 40% of your visitors, no matter the quality of content or design on your website. Furthermore, poor website speed can affect your overall ranking on search pages, as it’s one of the factors Google takes into consideration when ranking your page.
Don’t just test overall website speed though, see how particular specialist elements load. If you have a video background on your homepage or auto-playing video content on a blog page, make sure you check how that affects the loading time of those important pages.
Online experiences are no as linear as they once were. Not every visitor to your WordPress website will be sitting down on their desktop PC for a browsing session. They’ll be using mobile and tablet devices and will expect just as seamless an experience. Making sure your website is prepared for that is one of the most important elements of your pre-launch text.
In 2019, mobile traffic accounted for 52% of all web traffic. If your website theme isn’t optimized to perform on mobile, which can often mean a rather large change in appearance to accommodate mobile user habits, you will turn off half of your potential visitors. If you’re sending your audience to your WordPress site from social media this is especially important, as the majority of social media users access the platforms through mobile devices.
A backup plan
Your WordPress website should always have a backup option waiting in the wings should anything go wrong. Some website owners look at the time it takes to back up all their files and decide it’s too time-consuming, but they couldn’t be more wrong.
If your website were to have a malware issue or be broken by a new plugin, a recent backup of your website allows you to simply revert back to it. The simplest way to automate this is to either use the built-in WordPress backup solution or find a backup plugin that suits you.
Backups are an essential part of the security checks you should be doing prior to your launch, which also includes ensuring your admin area is protected from common malware attacks. As the most popular website building tool, WordPress is a common target for hackers. Having the most updated version of your theme and plugin ensures you have the highest level of protection available.
More to think about
Removing dummy content: You don’t want temporary images or Lorum Ipsum text making your website look unprofessional.
Installing Google Analytics: You can’t hope to improve your website if you can’t understand the details behind its traffic and use.
Check for 404 pages: Broken pages can create a bad user experience and make your website feel unfinished, make sure any links to them are removed.
These are just a few things you need to check before you launch your website. There is lots you need to do to make sure your website is not just stable, but ready for users who are going to find issues with it.
Rodney Laws is an ecommerce expert with over a decade of experience in building online businesses. Check out his reviews on EcommercePlatforms.io and you’ll find practical tips that you can use to build the best online store for your business. Connect with him on Twitter @EcomPlatformsio.
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