22 Must Check Items Before Launching Your WordPress Website
Before you launch your website or a client’s website, it’s extremely important to make sure everything is how it should be. By going over these 22 must check items before launching your WordPress website, you are setting yourself and your website up for success!
- Scope- Always make sure to go over your scope of work. You want to make sure that everything that you set out to do has been completed. This includes any functionality, pages, posts, etc. This is an especially important step if you are building a WordPress site for a client.
- Revisions- While working on your website, you may have come across changes you wanted to make. Before getting too far into everything, you should check that list of revisions and make sure you have addressed all of them.
- Page Review- This is going to be a tedious task, but you will need to review every single page on your site as if you were a visitor. Make sure you come at this step with fresh eyes and a clear mind. You will want to check everything about every page including links, navigation, logos, images, contact information, text, forms, logins, sidebar areas, social media, widgets, header and footer, the design, pop ups, and anything else you have on your pages. You’ll want to check each part for things like readability, functionality, and appearance. Once you complete this task, give yourself a break!!
- Content Review- Another tedious but extremely important task is content review. Your content can make or break the site. Read through all of the text on all of your pages and check that it makes sense and that you also don’t have any dummy text hiding on your pages. You will also want to go over spelling and grammar issues at this point.
- Photos- at some point while you were working on your site or your client’s site, you or your client determined that everything looked good. Once you have that approval you will want to check that you have all the rights to use any images you put on the site. This may mean purchasing photos.
- Favicon- The Favicon is the little image that appears next to your site’s name on a browser tab. The majority of themes will automatically do this for you but if you notice that you don’t have one, there are many plugins out there that will help you do this. Once you’ve installed, activated, and setup your chosen plugin, test it in all browsers.
- 404 Errors- Even though you’ve already gone through and checked all your links to make sure they work, it’s still possible for users to type in a wrong URL or somehow get redirected to a Page Not Found. It’s important to have a custom 404 error page setup for these circumstances. You can either use a plugin to help you design a custom 404 error page or you can choose a plugin that will actually redirect your visitors from a 404 error page to a different page that works on your site.
- Social Media- This is the time where you will want to check your whole social media loop. You will want to test all of your social media links and then if you use automatic post publishing or anything like that, you will want to do a test post to make sure everything is publishing correctly on all of your social media networks. Once you verify that they published correctly, you will also want to make sure that any links on your social media sites work.
- SEO- All of your pages, images, posts, etc need to be optimized for search engines in order for your site to be found. You can use plugins like Yoast SEO and All in One SEO to help you do that.
- txt- After a sitemap, having a robots.txt file will be very important for search engines to properly crawl and index your site. You can learn more about robots.txt files and how to make one here.
- Processes and Functionality- If at any point on your site you’re asking people to fill out a form or purchase a product, you will want to make sure that whole process from start to finish works. You will want to do a test run on each of these processes to ensure that nothing is confusing and nothing is broken.
- Customizations- You most likely have made lots of customizations to your site whether it’s in the theme itself or with plugins. You will want to make sure it was all done correctly and that everything works as it should. This is going to include things like site analytics, extra security measures, and any special plugins and features you might have added in to the mix.
- Mobile Friendliness- You can use this Google tool to help you test out your site’s mobile friendliness here. It is crucial that your WordPress site is mobile friendly since over half of search traffic comes from mobile users.
- Browsers- Go to your site on each major browser including, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, and any others you can think of. Make sure everything looks the same and functions the same.
- Accessibility- In order for your site to be seen by everyone, it must be accessible to anyone of any ability. WordPress has some great information about accessibility in the codex. You can use tools like NVDA that will help you test your site to see if there are any accessibility issues.
- Code Quality- High quality coding will help keep your site safe and secure. It is a good idea to be compliant with the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium). You can check your site’s compliancy here.
- Updates- After you’ve gotten to this point, it’s now a good time to update your WordPress version, plugins, and themes that may be out of date. Our article about how to update your WordPress site is a good place to start for this. After each item is update, be sure to check over your site for anything that looks out of place or broken. We do not recommend bulk updating things on your site.
- SSL Certificate- If you’re using a SSL certificate on your site, make sure it works. You can go to places like this that will test your SSL certificate for you.
- Security- This is one of the most important things you can do for your site. Make sure it is safe and secure. You should install a plugin like WordFence that helps protect against malware and hackers and also some kind of backup plugin. A backup plugin will help you out big time if you ever need to restore your site to a previous version.
- Speed Test- Your page load speed will ultimately determine whether a user stays on your site or not so it’s important your site loads quickly. You can use Google PageSpeed Insights to get more information and you can test your site’s speed here. If it’s more than 4 seconds, you will more than likely lose traffic.
- Update Logins- Before you launch your site or hand it over to your client, you will want to update and test any logins. Make sure they all have secure usernames and passwords that are hard to guess and make sure they all login correctly.
If you have any questions about these 22 must check items before launching your WordPress website or if you would like any other WordPress support, please give us a call at 877-844-9931 or email us at [email protected]