When using WordPress to launch a site, many things can go awry. From the entire thing crashing to unnoticeable things that can hurt you in the long-run like a part of the site not working properly.
To avoid running into any problems, it is wise to prepare a sort of checklist to make sure everything is set for launch and that it will operate as intended. Think of it as the equivalent of a shopping list, you might remember everything on your own, but why risk backtracking when you can completely avoid it?
Here I’ve provided the Ultimate WordPress Checklist that will help you to launch your website.
Before you do anything else, set up an insurance policy. And by the insurance policy, I mean backup. There is simply too much at stake and too much that can go wrong not to look into good options for saving everything in case it needs to be recovered later on.
There are a plethora of free plugins that offer this service with each having its own pros and cons. A general rule of thumb is to look for backups that are automatically scheduled and are kept in cloud storage – this eliminates any what ifs that might come to mind.
Next important step in our WordPress checklist is security. Like in everything that is connected to the internet, hackers are a constant threat. Granted, many sites have been blessed and have never come into contact with anything substantial, but why risk it. There is absolutely no reason not to use protection when it is available.
It is much better to simply cross off a potential problem right away than to constantly keep asking ourselves if today is the day we get hit. Investing in proper security for your admin area is simply the right way to go, no way around it.
Set up an email
Another common problem when using WordPress is the inability to send or receive emails. This issue is nothing new to users as the majority of email servers tag these as spoofing.
When an email’s address and its domain do not match, most services consider this a red flag and block out communication. This might not always happen, so even receiving email notifications might not mean that you got all of them. To avoid this, most people tend to opt for using SMTP or Simple Mail Transfer Protocols – these utilize better authentication – thereby boosting deliverability.
Fear the dreaded 404
Make sure everything is loading properly. Nothing will turn away users like having a nice big 404 error shoved in their face.
If operating an older site, before going in and manually testing every page and link associated with your site, you can use Google’s Webmaster Tools (if you’ve added your site) to automatically do this and provide relevant info in the crawl report.
New sites will have to get their hands dirty and go through page by page, it’s slow but necessary. It is worth noting that an email notification can be setup so that you are immediately notified when any new 404 errors surface.
Test everything thoroughly
The work doesn’t stop there. This is where you will unavoidably spend the majority of your time, testing everything out, click by click. Here are some WordPress checklist essentials you need to check:
- The first thing that needs to be checked is the functionality of your forms. These will be your bread and butter for interested users and it is imperative that they are up and running as intended. Check your email list and make sure that everything is being sent properly to a few emails. This will provide peace of mind when the mailing list eventually reaches triple digits.
- After you have finished checking up on the various forms you have popping up around your site, now it’s time turn your attention to the images. Take special care to make sure that every image is optimized for the web, this will give you speedier load times which will influence success down the line. With that out of the way, comb through every image on your site to make sure that it is loading properly and is scaled accordingly. Another step would be to try and load any video material on your site via different devices and software to make sure you’re not ostracizing potential users for using i.e. Opera or a tablet.
- Last but certainly not least, make sure your social media plugins are operational. In today’s day and age, we cannot fathom the impact proper social media coverage can have on virtually anything. The buzz generated on these platforms is large that missing out that would be considered a serious handicap to the launch of your site. Test every outbound link and consider looking into social monitoring tools to easily monitor and further develop their integration into your site.
Get Google Analytics
This one is pretty straightforward, you won’t know how you’re doing unless you take a look. As the name would suggest, Google Analytics provides information about what people do when they actually land on your site. It measures how long they stayed, what they interacted with, where they connected from etc.
Professionals like Websitesdelivered use this information to compare different periods in order to gauge how much a site has improved over the span of i.e. three months and to figure out what direction to take. This helps make managing a site less of a gamble and more of a calculated plan.
Don’t forget about SEO
Our WordPress checklist can’t be complete without mentioning the SEO. Everywhere we seem to look, SEO manages to find some way or another to pop up in conversation. With search engines providing traffic to websites all around the globe, investing in SEO has become a profitable affair. Luckily, WordPress has a couple of SEO plugins itself which already to the majority of the work for us.
Although a bit tricky to calibrate, people have seen satisfactory results while using Yoast SEO. This plugin will make sure that your site is search engin-friendly and will pull in more users by helping your site climb the top of search queries.
You’re all set
With these steps taken care of, you are ready to launch your site. Keep in mind that flukes are bound to happen and if you should end up facing one, take a deep breath and just go through this WordPress checklist once again. If it does end up launching correctly, then congratulations, you’ve just gone through hell – time to reap what you sowed. By going through all of these, anyone can successfully launch a site and, more importantly – keep it going.
If you have any other thoughts that you want to add in this WordPress checklist, please share them in the comment box below.