When building a WordPress site, there’s a number of things you should do prior to launching it. From content to design to the legalities of setting up your site, check below for some essential things to check off before your site is viewable to the world.
1. Be Content With Your Content
Being happy with your content includes proofreading, examining page links, and removing all “dummy” content and space-filler images that don’t serve a purpose.
You should also make sure your video and audio files are compatible and play without any hiccups. It’s not a bad idea to compress image files so they don’t take up bandwidth, as well as make sure your videos are coming from an external site like YouTube rather than uploaded directly, which can slow your site down.
Also be sure to review your site over and over again so it’s perfect for launch day. It would be worthwhile to recruit a second set of eyes to review it just in case you’ve missed something. That extra reassurance will give you the contentment and confidence you need for launching your site.
2. Preview Your Site in Major Browsers and Check its Responsiveness Across devices
To make sure your site is responsive on multiple browsers, view it in major ones like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc. to check for compatibility problems. It’s also a given that you want your site to be compatible with mobile, so testing it across those devices and ensuring all your content loads is a necessary step. To do all this you can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test that can give you feedback and analysis.
3. Make Sure Your Site Does What It’s Supposed To Do
This includes ensuring your forms are submitting data correctly to get back to your users quick. In order to receive messages and feedback, you want to make sure the emails are going to the right place too. To take this one step further, you should review auto-responders as well. You don’t want your automatic emails to say something you didn’t intend.
Something also very essential to the functionality of your site is the check the speed of the site. You can use the WordPress Speed Test to detect which parts of your site are lagging and which are blazing fast.
4. You Don’t Have to Handle SEO Alone…Configure a Plugin
Yoast SEO is a very trustworthy plugin to get your SEO on the right foot. It’s a wise idea to configure your SEO immediately so you don’t have to play catch up later on. After you do that you can set the Google search title, tagline, and post titles — all which are vital to showing up at the top of search engines. Each title should be unique and less than 70 characters.
Prior to launching your site, you should also make sure search engines can’t index your site yet. If you go to WP-Admin > Settings > Reading, the selection “discourage search engines from indexing this site” should automatically be checked. Do not uncheck this part until you are ready for search engines to crawl and index your launched site.
5. Don’t Forget to create a marketing plan
Tasks such as implementing newsletter signups and setting up social icons should be part of your website design strategy prior to launch. You’ll want to include signup forms in all the right places to build an email list so that you can communicate with your audience and keep them updated. As you may know, your social outreach is unlimited if you configure it properly. Once you set up all social icons, ensure the links work and the social accounts are set up.
6. Don’t Forget About Legalities
The best way you can do this is to be transparent to build trust. Show company details and include stuff like tax registration and contact info. If you’re building an ecommerce store, be sure to communicate the security measures you’re taking to secure the checkout process. If you need licenses, be sure to acquire them and try not to break any laws out there. Make sure you have all the right copyrights for images, fonts, etc. and include a copyright statement if necessary.
7. Move Your Site to New Server
If you haven’t by now, you’ll want to acquire and set up a domain for your site. After you’ve secured the domain, you want to create a database and user for the new site location. The next step is to move the data and MySQL to the new location. After that, you can point the domain to the new directory, check the site display to make sure it shows properly. You’ll want to make sure there are no missing icons or some sort of messed up design. Finally, you’ll want to test links and pages to make sure they all work correctly and pointing to the live site rather than the development environment.
8. You’re Going to Need Backup
Security backup is essential and a hot topic these days. BackupBuddy is a great plugin for making a backup of your site in case something goes awry. It would be a complete disaster to lose your work without having saved it. If you’re on WP Engine we automatically create backups of your site for you.
9. Preparing for Launch
Once you’re near ready for launch, look over any miscellaneous tasks you may have missed. Check your third-party plugins and themes and renew their licenses just in case. Caching speeds up your site. WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache, and WP Rocket are good tools to add caching (these plugins are disallowed on WP Engine because we already do the caching for you). If your site doesn’t run at an optimal speed, configure your content delivery network for even faster page load times.
Congratulations, you just built a WordPress site! It’s time to decompress and watch your site take your brand or client to new heights.
Of course, the maintenance of your site doesn’t stop there. Make sure you backup your site and set up admin logins. After launch, you still want to set up Google Analytics, connect with Google Webmaster Tools, and clean up anything that sticks out to you still.
This is a very condensed list of things to check off before launching a site. For a more extensive list, read our ebook.