WordPress is one of the most widely used content management systems available in the market. It is a platform that allows users to create and launch websites without having the technical knowledge to code.
7 Things You Should Know Before Launching Your WordPress Website
More than a whopping 35% of the websites out there on the internet are made using WordPress, and many are doing well in their respective domain. (Source: https://digital.com/web-hosting/wordpress/statistics/)
Consider the fact that you’ve done your research, spent weeks or months getting everything right and finally created what you believe is a great website, and are all ready to launch but wait a minute, are you truly ready to launch?
Here is a checklist that will help you answer that. So go ahead and tick everything off the list before going ahead with the big launch.
The primary step before launching your website should be to ensure that the entire data of the website is backed up. Also, ensure that future backups are scheduled so that all the data is at your disposal in case of a mishap or in case the need to retrieve it arises. WordPress provides a backup option to save data to popular cloud storage like Google Drive, Amazon, etc., that can be explored.
Creating a website clone is also a great option to test changes before pushing them to the main website. This helps prevent website crashes due to errs in the development code. There are multiple plugins available that can help serve this purpose.
With WordPress websites gaining popularity in today’s day and age, they are also a major target for cybercrime and breaches. This makes having an SSL certificate an asset that ensures security and is an essential part of your WordPress Website Pre-Launch Checklist.
They ensure encryption of in-transit data between the web server and client browser. SSL certificates are available from many companies, like Comodo SSL, GeoTrust SSL, Thawte SSL, RapidSSL Certificates, which come in handy to ensure safe data transfer to and from your web servers.
In addition, create the essential login credentials needed before the website is launched with secure usernames and passwords.
The passwords must be a combination of alphanumeric keys, special characters and preferably changed after periodic intervals to prevent any vulnerable gaps that can be breached.
Regular or scheduled updates should be done for all software and plugins used so that their security levels are competent and the best available.
Ensure that performance testing of the website is performed and work on loopholes if any are found.
2. Search Console and Analytics
It is a great idea to have an analytics solution installed, the most popular one being Google Analytics, to verify that website data is kept track of.
This helps give proper feedback on how well the website is doing, what the users are most attracted to on the website, how much time they are spending on the page, etc.
Also, take care that any IPs related to the website admin and others working around the website are removed and omitted from the tracking results to make the tracking information accurate and reliable.
If your search doesn’t give any relevant results, it is a good idea to display related products and have a redirection if the user hits a 404 not found page.
This helps retain customers and prevents them from leaving the website as most customers tend to navigate away from a page if they hit a page that is not found.
3. Legal/Compliance Aspects
Once launched, there shouldn’t be any legal or compliance issues or charges against the website, its content, media, etc. The website should also be protected from getting copied by others.
This content can be generated automatically using plugins available, but be sure to consult a domain expert to help alter the requirements and ensure your statements meet all of what is required according to your website in particular.
Verify that all the necessary licenses, rights for images, content, etc., are taken care of to avoid any Compliance issues later.
First and foremost, create a coming soon page as soon as designing the website commences. It gives users a sense of existence even if they stumble across the page at a pre-launch stage and act as a teaser depending on the sneak peek you can give from the upcoming website.
It is important to check the validity of code to prevent errors in production. Review each category and component of the webpage.
Start verifying each element top-down and show up on screens of different sizes, how efficiently they interact, and how the overall user experience is.
A good user experience is what gets a user hooked onto the website. Hence it should be appropriately tested with a test audience and enhancements made as suggested for best user response. However, this is not an easy task – if you are not sure you have enough knowledge or experience to do this by yourself, you can always find a top New York web design company that can help you create that perfect website.
5. Written Content, Images, Links, and other Multimedia
“Content is king” is not just a famous maxim; it is true and can be a game-changer for the website. Doing a thorough check of the content in all respects, including grammar, context, and spellings can go a long way as these basic errors give off the image of unprofessional conduct and presentation.
Ensure that the text format and color are easily readable and no extra spaces or gaps are left. Use bullets, bold, and other formatting whenever required to prevent the content from being presented as a long, bland paragraph.
Check whether all images, videos, audios, are visible on the page and produce the desired result on click (e.g., leading to a new subpage, etc.). Add accurate descriptions if the media doesn’t get displayed due to any reason like slow internet speed at the client’s end.
In social media links, ensure that the profile is marked public so all users can view its content, uncheck the autoplay button while giving youtube links. Test the different functionalities for your social media page, including reshares, tagging, etc.
6. UX/UI & Integrations
All forms of integration on the user interface should be tested and verified. These may include integration with forms used for subscription, forms that trigger emails (like feedback forms), maps to locate the business center, other user-defined functionalities.
Send test emails to identify the efficiency of various forms and click and check the links sent in the mail content, if any.
In case of any downloadable, test the functionality and open the downloaded files to ensure they open up in the correct format, with the correct extension, and don’t give garbage information to the user.
Also, check all the contact information and direct email integrations, whether the functionalities work as expected.
Verify the website’s compatibility with different browsers and compare the performance to see if any modifications need to be made to suit a particular browsers’ needs better.
Also, test that your website works with different devices, including phones, laptops, tablets, PCs, etc. As audiences may use various devices to access your website, improper formatting or design can be a huge turn-off.
7. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization is one of the essential tools for your WordPress launch checklist in today’s times. Include SEO keywords, title tags to get a higher rank for your website, which will, in turn, increase footfall on your page. The use of natural language, alternate text for aptly descriptive images also improves SEO ranking.
Recently Google also announced that the search engine now uses SSL as a factor for its SEO ranking. A higher ranking by google means that your website will come up in the first couple of pages in search results, giving all the more reason to buy SSL certificates for your website.
Utilize the permalink structure generated by WordPress and not change it later, which may damage your SEO rank.
As mentioned earlier, too, the more mobile-friendly the site is, the better it will be, so check its responsiveness across devices and browsers. Online validator tools can also be used to validate CSS and HTML code written.
Favicons are also important in a website and one of the most clicked elements in the website so ensure that they work. Also, many times, some formatting errors are left overlooked, so do check for them.
A website is the culmination of a lot of planning, hard work, sweat, and tears, hence taking an extra precaution by going through the above checklist can ensure there are fewer or no hiccups in the launch of the website.
The launch of your website can be followed by many users flocking to the website, which has a good google SEO ranking allowing visibility to a larger audience, crisp content, good customer retention, and all of it is possible by adhering to the points above. Now you are ready for the big day, all the best!