The importance of a WordPress website launch checklist
Launching a WordPress website can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. Thankfully, there is a way to reduce your stress to a minimum. One way to make sure your WordPress website is ready for launch is a WordPress Website Launch Checklist.
Our list of tasks covers over 50 aspects, from web design and development through plugin configuration to marketing. By checking off completed tasks, you can increase your motivation and productivity.
Pst! Once your website is ready to launch but you would still like to tweak its SEO, move on to our WordPress SEO Checklist and boost it to the top of search engine rankings.
Who can benefit from the WordPress website launch checklist?
Our WordPress website launch checklist is beneficial for everyone who wants to make sure their website is ready for public launch:
- Business owners
- Web designers
It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or an expert, our list has all the necessary tasks that need to be completed before your website goes live. So, if you are looking for a stress-free WordPress website launch, make sure to use our checklist.
How to launch a WordPress site
Obtain a license for any WordPress plugins used on your site. Ensure they are compatible with the latest version of WordPress and that there are no security issues associated with them. Go through each premium plugin on your site and see if you’ve activated it with a license key. This way all of them will be updated automatically, so there is no chance that you will forget about any upgrade.
If there are too many pages to update manually, consider adding the Yoast plugin that will do the job automatically. It is compatible with all WordPress themes and can be used with free and premium plugins.
If you’re using custom permalinks, ensure they are still valid and have not been changed when you upgraded to the latest version of WordPress. A custom URL structure, such as mysite.com/blog or mysite.com/category/post-name should be relative, meaning it will still work properly if someone visits your website from a different location.
If you use the default WordPress timezone setting, make sure it’s correct. The best option would be to set up a custom time zone in your website’s configuration panel so that users from different countries can view their local times when publishing or reading blog posts. Some WordPress themes may also use their own methods of formatting timestamps and dates, so check the theme’s documentation to see how it works in your case.
If you have a terms and conditions page, make sure to attach it properly so that all users can access this information before submitting their personal data. This way, they will be fully informed about the collection of any personal or non-personal data and how such information will be used.
Depending on your location, you might have to follow some additional local requirements before launching your WordPress site.
Some countries require that your WordPress website be hosted on servers physically located in the country, while others only allow sites with local content to use their services. However, some governmental bodies might even ask you not to launch a self-hosted site at all.
The good news is that this information will often be covered by the agreement you sign with your web host. It is also something that can be easily changed if needed.
If you have been using the same hosting solution for a while, your WordPress website might be filled with old files and plugins that no longer work. It is important to remember not to delete anything related to your current active site until it has been adequately launched. However, if there’s something in an inactive folder or plugin that you think can be safely removed, now is a good time to do so.
One of the most important aspects of having a good WordPress website is responsiveness. It should work well no matter what type of device it’s accessed from, and your pages should resize themselves to fit any screen size.
Not all themes are fully responsive by default, so try accessing yours on different devices before launching it to see how everything looks. If it’s not responsive, you can switch themes or try finding a more flexible one on the WordPress plugins directory.
Check your website’s mobile rating with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. This will tell you how easy it is for people using smartphones and other mobile devices to access your site. If the results aren’t good, there are a few things you can do to improve them:
- Make sure your site’s font is readable without zooming
- Use larger buttons and tap targets
- Place links far enough apart that they’re easy to click with a finger
Before launching your site, you should also connect its domain with the email provider you already use. This way, all new emails sent from it will be forwarded to your main inbox and existing ones saved for later.
As your WordPress website will likely have more images, videos, and other media than it did before in order to make it look nicer, you should pay attention to its load time. If visitors are forced to wait too long for content or elements of the page to load correctly, they might simply leave instead of sticking around. Make sure your WordPress website doesn’t take too long to load, especially if it’s a high-traffic site.
Your website visitors won’t stick around if the site is slow and unresponsive, so optimize your server-side configurations for a short response time by using a tool like Google’s PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom Tools. They will tell you how fast each element of your site loads, which pages might need to be improved, and what resources are being loaded at a given moment.
A caching plugin can help speed up the loading time of your WordPress website by storing a static version of its pages in the browser’s cache. This way, whenever someone revisits your site after already loading it before, they won’t have to wait for the page to load fully every time.
There are a few plugins that can help you enable caching on WordPress sites, and most of them come with other valuable features as well. For example, WP Super Cache can also minify your pages and remove unnecessary whitespace to further improve the loading time.
If you’re using Google Search Central, formerly Google Webmasters, be sure to add your website before launch. This will help you monitor your website’s health and detect any potential issues down the road.
A secure connection is something that should not be overlooked if you are running an online store or any other type of site where people provide personal information to make a purchase. You can check your website’s SSL connection with an SSL Checker.
If you are unsure whether your site has SSL enabled or not, contact the hosting provider that manages it. They should be able to tell you if something is wrong on their end and help resolve any issues.
Once you have confirmed that your website has a valid SSL Certificate, the next step is to enable the secure connection (HTTPS) through your WordPress site’s settings. This can be done by installing and activating the Really Simple SSL plugin, which will take care of all the necessary changes on your website to start using a secure connection.
If you don’t want to use a plugin or your hosting provider doesn’t allow it in their shared plans, you can install and activate the Force SSL option in Jetpack. This will redirect visitors from an unencrypted connection to a secured one (HTTPS).
No matter how carefully you manage your website, there will always be a chance of something going wrong at some point. That’s why having a backup plugin installed and activated on WordPress is so important. It can automatically create new backups for your site when needed or manually whenever you click ‘Backup Now’ in the plugin’s menu.
There are many backup plugins to choose from, both free and paid. BackWPup, WPBackItUp, and Duplicator are some of the most popular.
Another essential security measure to take is to install and activate an anti-spam plugin on your WordPress website. This will help protect it from spam comments, which can be a nuisance and damaging to your site’s reputation if they are left unchecked.
An attacker can try to gain access to your WordPress website by guessing different combinations of email addresses until they find the right one. That’s why it’s crucial to control the email address used to log in to your WordPress admin area.
You can do this by installing and activating the Limit Login Attempts plugin. This will add an extra layer of security to your website by blocking any IP addresses that have tried to access your site too many times with incorrect credentials.
This is a simple step that you can take to protect your site from the start. Login protection locks down all but "admin" user accounts, which means if any bots or scripts try to crack into websites indiscriminately, they won’t be able to find yours and gain access.
Go to Settings -> General in your WordPress dashboard and scroll down to the "Login Protection" section to activate login protection. Next, tick the box that says "Enable Login Protection" and save your changes.
A strong password is a must for any WordPress site. The stronger your password the harder it will be for hackers to get in, so don’t use the default. A strong password should contain upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Choose a random sequence of more than eight digits for the best results.
It’s always essential to ensure that the HTML and CSS code on your site is valid, otherwise it can lead to display issues for specific browsers. To validate your HTML and CSS you can use the WPTest.io tool, which will check your code for errors and give you feedback on fixing them.
One of the dangers of launching a website is that it can quickly become a target for spammers. To protect your contact form from being abused, be sure to check all form submissions for spam. Several plugins are available to help you do this, such as Akismet and WP-Spam Shield.
One of the first things people will see when they visit your website is your logo. And, if you have a link to your homepage in the header, it’s one of the first things they’ll click on as well.
To make sure that this happens, go to Appearance -> Customize in your WordPress dashboard and scroll down to the "Header" section. Then, under the "Logo & Header Text" heading, tick the box that says "Link Logo to Homepage" and save your changes.
If you’re using contact forms on your website, it’s essential to ensure they are set up and working correctly before launch. To do this, create a test form with some dummy data and submit it from different browsers and devices.
After you’ve tested your forms, the next step is to make sure they are sending submissions successfully. Once something is waiting in your inbox at the test email address, click on any submissions in your form and confirm that they’ve been received. When you’re ready to launch, delete the test data from your forms and replace it with factual info.
If you’re using any autoresponders (such as those from AWeber or MailChimp), ensure they are set up and working correctly before launch. Create a test email campaign and send it to yourself to do this. Then, check your inbox to see if the messages were delivered correctly.
If you’re using social media icons on your website, check that they are correctly sized and in the right places. You can add a new social media icon to each post by using the "Add Media" button on top of your editor.
If you have a specific design for your website, be sure to make it match the look and feel of your social media channels. This will create a more cohesive branding experience for your audience.
Favicons are those small images that appear next to the URL in the browser tab, and they’re 16×16 pixels square.
To change your favicon, go into Appearance -> Customize in your WordPress dashboard, click on "Site Identity" under Site Title & Tagline and upload your chosen image.
Before you launch your website, it’s a good idea to double-check all of the company details displayed on it. This includes everything from your contact information to your social media profiles. Ensure that all text is correct and up-to-date, and that any images or logos are high quality and look professional.
If you’ve won any awards or received positive reviews from customers, be sure to list them on your website. This will help build trust and credibility with potential clients. You can add an award badge or review widget to your website by using a plugin like the WP Review Pro plugin.
Check that all of your pages are appropriately linked and that the content is high quality and relevant to your target audience. Your visitors need to have a reason to stay on your website, so make sure that the content is exciting and valuable.
Before you launch your website, be sure to delete all dummy content (such as text or images). It shows up on some pages when there’s no real data to display, and so can be confusing for visitors. If you’re using a theme with multiple layout options, ensure that they display correctly.
Finally, don’t forget to proofread your website for grammar and spelling errors. Nothing looks worse than a website with typos and errors, so make sure it’s perfect before you launch.
If you’re using any copyrighted images or text on your website, be sure to include a copyright notice to protect you from any legal issues in the future. It’s just as important to update copyright information as website content. If someone else created the site for you, they might have already added a note in the footer of every page to credit themselves.
If you have multimedia files on your website, be sure to add them. This will help keep people engaged with your site. Be careful to optimize images before uploading because they can take a while to process.
When formatting text for a website, be sure to use headings and subheadings to break up the content. This will improve the readability of your on all devices. Use a table of contents to make your site easier for people who are skim reading and also help search engine bots find relevant content more easily.
Formatting text makes it easy for readers to follow what you’re saying without having to read every single word on a page. Use subheadings and bold/italic text to highlight key points, plus lists where appropriate.
When creating a print page design, be sure to use large fonts and plenty of white space. This will make the content easy to read on paper. You may also want to consider using a larger typeface for the body text.
There’s no need to create a separate print stylesheet, just adjust your regular one instead so that it looks good both on the screen and in print. Use large fonts, plenty of white space (especially around your images), and consider choosing a larger typeface for the body text.
Remember to check for every broken link before you launch your website (they can be really frustrating for your visitors). You can use a tool like BugBug to check for any links that don’t work correctly or at all.
If you have links to external websites, set them to open in new tabs. This is a common practice that will help to avoid confusion and keep your visitors on your page. You should also be wary of any social share buttons, as they could potentially link out into a new tab as well.
If you’re providing downloadable files, be sure to include the correct extensions. For example, a PDF document should use .pdf as the extension. This will ensure that a valid file is downloaded by your visitors.
An RSS feed is a way for website visitors to subscribe to your content in a standardized format. This will allow them to receive updates whenever you post new content on your website.
If visitors land on a page that doesn’t exist on your website, they’ll see a 404 error. Design a custom 404 error page so that visitors will have a fun and engaging experience when they encounter this situation.
Don’t forget to test your website on every browser and device. This will help you catch any potential errors that may occur on different platforms and ensure a smooth launch.
If you’re using external tools or plugins, check that they are compatible with the latest version of WordPress. This will help you avoid any potential issues down the road. Otherwise, they might not work correctly and could make your site look or behave differently.
Check your email list for active subscribers. If you have an email marketing service, check the number of currently subscribed people. This will help you determine if a large audience might visit your new site.
Google Analytics is a free tool that tracks website traffic and behavior. This will give you valuable insights into how your website is performing and help you to make necessary changes or adjustments.
It’s time to take advantage of your existing audience and their followers. Create a short, engaging post that focuses on the benefits of reading your blog posts. Keep it simple and promote it with images or videos.
This will help get the word out and let your audience know that your new website is now live. Include a link to your website, and make sure to use appropriate hashtags. Don’t forget to also notify website visitors of new content/blog posts via email marketing campaigns.
Before you launch, make sure your website is accessible to everyone. WordPress has many plugins you can use for this like WP Accessibility, for example, which is easy to install and will help everyone navigate through your blog post content (and improve the user experience).
And that’s it – you’re ready to go! Be sure to monitor your website traffic and Google Analytics data to make necessary changes/adjustments. Launching a WordPress website can be daunting, but following this checklist will help ensure it goes smoothly. Wishing you the best of luck in your new endeavor!
Summary of the WordPress website launch checklist
- Obtain a license
- URL format
- Set up the timezone
- Attach terms and conditions
- Enable a cookie warning
- Follow any additional local requirements
- Delete old, inactive files and surplus plugins
- Test the responsiveness
- Review your mobile rating
- Connect an email provider
- Watch the loading time
- Test site speed and performance
- Active caching plugin
- Add your website to Google Webmaster Tools
- Activate the SSL Certificate
- Enable HTTPS
- Turn on a backup plugin
- Install anti-spam
- Control the admin email address
- Activate login protection
- Create a strong password
- Validate HTML and CSS
- Update plugins
- Check form entries for spam
Design and content checkup:
- Link header logo to the homepage
- Set and test contact forms
- Confirm form submissions
- Test autoresponders
- Place and check social icons
- Integrate design with social media channels
- Don’t forget about favicons
- Double-check all company details
- Add awards and reviews
- Content checkup
- Delete dummy content
- Proofread grammar and spelling
- Include a copyright notice
- Add relevant multimedia files: video, audio, images
- Format the text
- Create print page design
- Detect any broken links
- Open external links in a new tab
- Check files for download
- Create an RSS feed
- Design a 404 page
- Test your website on every browser and device
- Check external tools functionality
- Check newsletter signup list
- Turn on tracking with Google Analytics
- Launch announcement social post
- Check accessibility
WordPress website checklist FAQs
How do I share my WordPress site before launching?
Not everyone will know to visit your site at the exact moment you launch. If you plan on making an announcement before launching, consider scheduling a post in advance and creating a lead magnet for those who follow your newsletter. Once it's time to go live, create another post with directions on where people can find you now.
Can you edit a WordPress site after launch?
Yes, you can always change your WordPress site after it's been launched. However, it's best to make any changes after your site has been live for a while. This allows you to test them properly and make sure they are working correctly before updating the live site.
How long does it take to launch a WordPress site?
This is a difficult question to answer. The time it takes to launch your site depends on the size and complexity of the project and how quickly you can make decisions about features and design elements.
How long does it take for WordPress to launch the site?
WordPress will launch your site as soon as it is ready. There is no set time that this takes, but you should receive an email notification when the site is live.
How to remove the 'just another WordPress site' tagline?
You can remove the 'just another WordPress site tagline' at any time by going to 'Appearance' and then selecting 'Widgets'. Next, locate the widget area on your page where you want the text to be removed, select it, and hit 'delete'.