Things to Consider Before Launching Your WordPress Website
Launching a website is, without a doubt, a pivotal moment of your career. Regardless of what you do, this is something that can either make or break your business. You’re undoubtedly spending a lot of time working on it, making sure it fulfills all your needs and requirements. However, it’s still possible to overlook certain things that could potentially jeopardize the way your website functions. This is precisely why you should develop a strategy and make a list of absolute must-haves for your site. You’re not alone in this though, so worry not! We’ve sat down and compiled the ultimate checklist of what you should take care of before launching your WordPress website. It’d be for the best to tick all the boxes to ensure everything runs like clockwork!
Here is your WordPress site pre-launch list of things you need to pay attention to:
- Choose the Perfect Theme
- Backup Your Website
- Website Security
- Be Happy with Your Content
- Cross-browser Compatibility
- Make Sure Everything Is up to Date
- QA Your Website
- Set up Your Privacy Statement
- Prepare Your 404 Page
- Keep It SEO Optimized
- Sync Social Media in Real Time
- Set up a Domain for Your Website
- Set up an Email Address for Your Website
First and foremost, you need to be careful when choosing a WordPress theme for your business. Set your goals straight and make sure the theme you picked has all the functionalities you need to accomplish them. It might be for the best to browse them depending on the category, but even in that case, there are some things you should pay special attention to. Read user reviews, see what other people’s experiences with the theme are like.
It’s important that the theme gets regularly updated, and that there are no glitches. If you’re into, say, design, see if there are enough portfolio elements that you’ll certainly need to showcase your projects.
It’d be for the best to stick to reputable developers, too. There has to be a reason why they’ve become popular and are trusted by many! Don’t be scared to contact them either! There’s always a way to drop them a message, so try to get the answers you need beforehand to be sure the theme has just what you need!
Whatever you do, don’t forget to backup your website! You wouldn’t want to go through the hassle and frustration of losing everything you’ve worked so hard on! People usually safeguard their data, but rarely do they backup entire websites. Now this, of course, is entirely wrong! You could either get hacked, your computer might crash, or a simple update can go wrong. The result is obvious, you’d loose something that showcased your capabilities, services, etc.
To prevent such thing from happening, do yourself a favor and install one of the WordPress backup plugins. Many of them protect your entire WordPress installation and also include anti-malware features, so you can be absolutely certain that your website is safe.
WordPress is pretty much a secure platform, and your hosting provider might ensure there are some security levels for your website. Alas, in this day and age hackers are super savvy, so our advice would be to set up some security measures by yourself. Especially since you’ll install themes and plugins from third-party providers.
A website is an investment in your future, so you’d want to protect it to the best of your abilities. There are many WordPress security plugins that’ll lock out the bad guys, and you should definitely install the one you deem to be the best. Run security scans often and fix vulnerabilities to keep your website secure and protected.
If you’re serious about your business, than your website should look and feel great on absolutely all devices. We live in an age when people don’t browse the web just on desktop computers, which is why we advise you to take the website responsiveness seriously. Furthermore, keep in mind the fact that, as of 2018, Google started primarily using mobile versions of websites for ranking and indexing. Due to this increase of the importance of mobile-first design it’s a must to have an amazing-looking website on all devices. Make sure the theme you decide to go for is a fully-responsive one to save yourself from trouble afterwards!
To avoid negative UX, make sure your content is a top-quality one! As your website is what you’ll use to reach bigger crowds and to upscale your business, mistakes are to be avoided. Check thoroughly for grammar and spelling errors during your WordPress site pre-launch period. It’s possible to overlook some things, mistakes can happen, which is why it’s important to read through every page. Edit what needs to be improved and add what you maybe forgot to include when you first started creating your website. Your content reflects your values and it’s supposed to keeps the crowd engaged, so invest time in creating compelling copy!
Before you launch your website, it’s highly advised to test how it’ll look and perform on all major browsers. A common WordPress user will most likely not run into cross-browser compatibility issues as this is normally dealt in the WordPress core. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so make sure you do the test. There are tools online that you can use, but you can also see it for yourself by running your site on all browsers. If you don’t have them installed, go ahead and download them. You surely want your content to look spotless regardless of the browser it’s being viewed on.
Prior to your website going viral, it’s important to check if your WordPress installation is the latest one available. The same thing goes for themes and plugins you’re using. With each new version, developers work on fixing bugs, improving the overall performance, and they also add new features. Every time a security bug is reported, a team of experts works on fixing it and releases an updated version that takes care of the issue. Besides security reasons, you should keep the installation updated to ensure your WordPress version runs as fast as possible and that it’s compatible with all the tools your using. You could configure automatic background updates or add an automatic updates plugin, the choice is all yours.
QA is basically a process during which you’re trying to ensure your website fulfills the desired requirements and quality. You should carefully review every page to be certain everything functions the way you expected to. For instance, if you want to let the visitors download something from your website, make sure the links work properly. Or, if you’re running an eCommerce website, check if the online ordering process works without a hitch. Run speed tests as well, and try to make your WordPress site loads fast! Don’t kill your conversions because of poor speed load, and use tools such as Pingdom and Google PageSpeed to test it.
To avoid getting sued and any possible legal issues, it’s incredibly important that the images you upload on your website are either your original creations or that you’ve obtained the author’s permission to use them. The same goes for fonts, don’t use them if you don’t gave a license! Make sure you avoid copyright infringement. Be transparent with everything, and as aforementioned, display your contact details and also tax information.
You may wonder as to why you need a 404 page in the first place. Well, your goal is to keep the visitors on your website, right? If, for some reason, they run into a page that doesn’t exist, you don’t want them to just navigate away, do you? Set up a WordPress 404 error page that’ll inform the crowds that they can find helpful information on another page of your website. You can always redirect them to your homepage, or to a popular product page, blog post, etc. A 404 page will reduce your bounce rate and it’ll keep the visitors engaged with your website.
To have your website rank high in search engines, you ought to keep your content SEO optimized. From pages, to images, and the overall content, everything must be up to SEO requirements. WordPress is already SEO-ready on its own, but our advice would be to also add one of the WordPress SEO plugins to your site. The most popular one is definitely Yoast SEO, but there are others that are worth your shot. Since your website contains your blood, sweat and tears, it’d be a shame not to make most of it and for others not to notice it!
Social media is something that, business-wise, can literally make or break you. This is why you need to connect all your social media accounts to your website. Users should be able to connect with you easily, so don’t forget to add social share plugins to your site. Make sure they function properly, and add live feeds as well as links.
A domain on the web is your identity. Take your time with choosing the domain name that will best reflect and promote your business. It may not be easy as many names may already be taken by others, but try to think of something catchy and easy to remember. People should associate your domain with your brand or the area of your expertise, so try to choose it wisely!
Last but not least, set up an email address for your site. You can use a custom domain or connect another provider to your custom domain. It’s important for visitors to be able to reach you, so if you’ve already set up a custom domain name for your site, use it for your email address too! It looks far more professional if your email address is not, for example, email@example.com, but rather firstname.lastname@example.org.
To Wrap Things Up
By sticking to our list of all the things you should consider during your WordPress site pre-launch period, you’ll avoid some common mistakes and you won’t overlook what really matters. If you’re getting ready to launch your content and for it to go viral, then this checklist is all you need for the process to go as smoothly as possible. If you can, have someone else take a look at what you’ve created, as two pairs of eyes are surely better than one. It may take you some time to take care of everything that’s on the list, but the outcome will definitely be worth your while.