The Ultimate Pre-Launch Checklist For WordPress Websites
Designing and developing a WordPress site- whether on your own or through a client- is a heck lot of work! One needs to amalgamate a lot of scattered parts to form a consistent and successful site. With so many things to take care of, one can easily forget a few. Though the mistakes are quite fixable, you never want your launch day to be chaotic but a day of success and celebration.
When you have a pre-launch checklist, it helps you get things done on time and deliver right results- and certainly, it is of great use!
Why Should You Have a WordPress Pre-launch Checklist?
People often wonder: Why do they need a checklist? It is obvious that a good site designer, developer, executor needs master all these processes by heart, right? But, what makes you rely on an aid like the pre-launch checklist?
So, here it goes… having a checklist keeps you on the right track. Surgeons, pilots and other professionals of high-standard professions rely on the checklist to perform their jobs at the highest level.
If it works phenomenally well for them, then why not you?
Other than that, making a checklist allows you to relax your mind with the mental stress included in website creation and frees it for some innovation, better decision making, and other important things.
Lower pressure on mind and dithering leads to higher productivity and better action! How can you not like the format? Moreover, checklists help in breaking down a big job into small fragments, thereby leading to a more organized work. The step by step format makes it tougher for one to skip or omit something important.
Furthermore, there is nothing more inspiring and contending than having the check off points on a checklist. Well, I don’t know about you, but I definitely find it satisfying and soothing!
Here comes the Ultimate WordPress Pre-Launch Checklist
You may know it from before, that checklists are a little personal. While you can have a universal to-do list but very often you will see that not all of it applies to every situation or project you’re working on. It is not like one size will suit all!
However, the list surely works as an inspiration and accordingly one can phrase their own checklist. Just pick the stuff that suits you and ignore the ones which don’t, personalize them according to your requirements.
Content is the core of a website. It allows the visitors and the search engines to know what your website is all about. Thus, it is significant to get the right content from the commencement. The following pointers will help you accomplish it:
- Get rid of dummy content:Keep a check on the website for placeholder text and ensure that real content is put in the right place.
- Proofread, proofread and proofread:Nothing is more unprofessional that poor spelling and grammatical errors in content, so double check the content for such mistakes.
- Well-formatted content: Layout plays a significant role in making your site appealing and easy to navigate. Do not use big paragraphs and remember headings.
- Look out for placeholder pictures:The stand-in images are removed with real images.
- Check out the audio and video files: Ensure that the files are kept in the right place and that they work efficiently.
- Go through the page links: Ensure none of the links are broken and the internal and external links are placed exactly where they are supposed to.
- Look out for downloadable files: If your site has downloadable files, ensure they are well-linked and can be downloaded in an instant.
- Have a 404 Error page: Themes do have a default page for content which cannot be found on your site, but you should also have a personal 404 error page.
- Execute a contact page: One of the pages appreciated by the visitors is contact page. You can make use of the plugin to for communication with your users.
Organize redirections: if you need redirections, ensure that it is set up in the right manner.
A good design assures that the web content has been presented in the perfect way and apt for different devices. Though it means a lot of effort, it is surely worth it. According to Milton Glaser “You have three responses to a particular design- Yes, No or Excellent! Excellent is the one to object for!
Authenticate HTML markup: in order to get rid of incompatibilities, you have to use the right tools to check all the site pages and stick to web standards.
- Authenticate CSS: What is eligible for HTML is also right for your style and with the right you can acquire it.
- Preview the results of the sites in all the browsers: In order to check the browser compatibility, view your website on Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera Mini etc. look out images and videos especially.
- Look out for a responsive design: You have a lot of traffic through smartphones these days. For optimum user experience, you should test your design on different devices (PC, tablet and mobile phone) and platforms (Android, iOS)
- Make use of Google testing tool: Along with manual testing, Google also provides you with mobile testing equipment. Just put in your URL and evaluate your website completely.
- Image optimization: Lowering or expanding the image size without compromising with the quality will enhance the load time of the page imparting better user experience.
- Include a Favicon: People often forget this part of web design. A favicon is placed on the browser tab to give your website a more professional look.
- Connect the header logo to the homepage: Ensure that the logo of your company is sited on the header. And see if it links back to the home page of your site so that users can return back to the site fast.
- Set your website page as print stylesheet: Often users desire to get the content on paper, you can help them by providing them with the print style sheet.
If your site doesn’t render the functionality that it should, no content or design can fill up the gap. Thus, it is very important to check the functionality before presenting it to your users.
- Closely test the web forms: Regardless of what format you have, make sure that they submit the data in the right way and it connects to you in the right way.
- Attest form messages as well as redirects: Find out if the users are getting the needed help messages and if it’s moving to the right place after submission of the data. It is important that you find out.
- Evaluate auto responders: If you have automatic emails set up, then ensure that it works correctly.
- Look out for speed score: With Google tools, you can find out the speed with which your site loads and how you can make it work quicker. Try to set a loading time for less than 2 seconds.
- Check out social sharing spec: Check, if the social sharing is working correctly or not and has the right platforms sited.
- Don’t forget to check site feeds: If you have applied RSS news or other feeds on your website, make sure that is 100% in function before the site launch.
- Execute accessibility pointers: Accessibility plays a vital role for the sites. Make sure you implement it well on your WordPress site.
- Check out third party equipment: If you’re making use of external equipment for e-commerce, CRM, marketing, and then check if they are available onsite and performing well.
Obviously, you want everyone to see your site on the search engine from the very starting and wish that it starts indexing on the very first page. In order to achieve this, you have to follow the below points:
- Install and organize SEO Plugin: Though WordPress is well-organized for SEO, with an SEO plugin, you can take it to the next level and ahead.
- Have a good site title as well as a tagline: If the title and tagline of your site aren’t taken care of by the SEO plugin, then set it under Settings > General.
- Set SEO pages and titles: The posts and pages of your site should have individual titles of 70 characters or less along with the keyword.
- Execute Meta description: Similarly, create distinctive and impressive Meta descriptions for the pages and posts along with the keywords in characters less than 156.
- Configure permalinks: Make sure permalinks is set according to you and every page URL has the major keywords.
- Image optimization: Check the file name of images, description, keyword tags and more and make sure every image is compressed.
- Configure focus keywords: For those who use SEO plugin, every page and post should have a focus keyword.
- Check out the content analysis: With the focus keywords setup, make sure you check out the content analysis tips to accomplish desired results.
- Make sitemap: You should set a site map with for the search engines.
- Configure metadata: Evaluate Meta tags for RSS feeds and see if they’re correct and don’t forget to proofread.
When you’re making a new website, it is important that it throws a good impression on just the search engines but also its visitors. Here are some points that will help you with your marketing strategies:
- Execute newsletter signup: Make sure you include a signup form at the important pages. You can also make them appear as pop ups and prompts.
- Join hands with email marketing providers: When you put up a form, make sure it goes to a place where the email collection is functioning aptly.
- Put up the social icons: Evaluate the social icons for efficient functioning, completeness and link them to the right address. See if the social sharing of your site is working properly or not.
- Look out for social profiles: Check, if you have a social profile that belongs to the website see if all the details are put correctly and up to date on it.
Keeping an eye on your legal duties during website building is important. Not abiding by the standards of legal requirements could be a big disaster and could actually bring you in trouble. So, do not forget this section
- Display your company details: Allowing your company details to be easily accessible from anywhere is a sign of reliability and often obligatory. Make sure you include tax registration.
- Go for the needed licenses: If you’re using the code, plugin, videos or images which require licensing, make sure you have all of it.
- Mention copyright note: Put up a copyright statement, if needed.
- Put down terms and conditions: T&C are very important. If you have an e-commerce site or dealing with money, then it is an absolute necessity.
- Execute cookie alert: The cookies warning is very important as it saves you from a lot of legal troubles.
- Look out for local requisitions: Setting up for anti-spam, credit card procedures and more is important. Try to adhere to the standards and norms.
7. Shift the Site to New Server:
If you have followed the above steps well, then your site is ready to move to its new location. It brings in a lot of challenges and points to remember, but do not forget, your checklist has got your back!
- Purchase and setup the domain: Configure the domain for your site now.
- Get ready the database: Create a user and database for the new site.
- Copy the database and data site: Now you have to shift the data of the site and MySQL database to a new place.
- Put domain to its location: When the site is in place, point the domain to new directory.
- Look out for site display: Check if the site is displaying efficiently in the place. See for missing icons and pictures. See if everything is correct.
- Test pages and links: Plunge deep inside the site and see if the links are functioning properly and pointing to the correct address. Find out if the secondary pages are displayed correctly and well-reachable.
8. All Set for Launch:
Now the countdown for your site launch begins now. However, you still have important stuff left to take care of:
- Relicensing of the products: If you have a commercial site, then it is important that you renew the license for the new domain.
- Initiate site caching: Caching helps you speed up the site. A good hosting provider can manage caching for you.
- Link to CDN: For a faster site, set up a CDN (Content Delivery Network)
- Organize Google Analytics: Track the performance of the site by collecting usage data. Google Analytics makes the job easier for you.
- Clean out: Lastly, make sure you remove the unwanted files, database, and residue of the development site as well as subdomains.
9. Security and Backup:
The last step is still left! Before releasing your site in the scary Internet world, you have to make sure it is secure and safe.
- Set in anti-spam software: Regardless of the type of traffic your site has, you’re bound to get spam on your site. With the anti-spam solution, you will not face such issues.
- Execute login security: The login page is highly vulnerable on WordPress. Thus, you have to keep it safe. Apart from a secure username and password, you should have plugins for security also.
- Configure a backup solution: What’s worse than losing your site is not having the support to bring it back. Thus, you need to set up a backup solution for the data as well as a database. Your hosting provider can manage your backups.
- Check the backups: Backup plan will only work for you if it’s actually working. So, create backup and then verify it.
- Update admin password: Set up a safe password, if you haven’t done it yet.
So, the time has come to bring your site in front of the online world. The moment for which you have been really waiting and worked for so many weeks. Make your big moment happen now!
- Disable “Discourage Search Engines”: Make sure you disable “Discourage search engines” from Settings > Reading uncheck or you’ll have to wait a lot for organic traffic.
- Assess Robots.txt: If you have a robot.txt file, delete it so that search engines are available for the live site.
- Create sitemap: If you forgot to do it while SEO settings create a sitemap now. It will help your site rank well.
- Time to promote your website: Well, it is the time when you should tell people about your site. Post about your launch on social networking sites and shout it out loud to everyone!
Congrats, now your site is online and everyone can access it. Unluckily, your job doesn’t end here. Especially, if the site has been designed for clients, then you still have a lot to manage.
Here is yet another checklist, when your site has just begun:
- Assemble documentations- for a better hand over to your customers, you need to have all the required documentation ready:
- Login ID and password
- Hosting details
- Database info
- FTP authorizations
- Login details for other accounts
- Expiry dates if any
- Guide to use the site
- Transmit site payouts: For any payments linked to the site, make sure you pass it to the clients.
- Time follow up: In order to address a specific issue which comes in the future, make sure you schedule follow up meeting or calls with your customers.
- Written invoice: Possibly the best part of the procedure. It is the time when you collection payouts for all the time and energy you have invested.
- Stay updated with your portfolio: Before spending your hard earned cash, make sure you add the site to your portfolio. It will help the clients know the great achievement of yours.
Well, your job for this site is almost done!
What is present on your WordPress Pre-launch list?
A WordPress site launch is a complex procedure with several pieces and components to take care of. It is confusing and overwhelming at the same time. A pre-launch checklist is a productive tool for those who desire to make their site every bit successful. The checklist helps in getting things done, make it less likely for you to forget anything critical point and render a good structure for your website.
Having your customized comprehensive checklist is a perfect investment for future when you have to do things again.
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