WordPress Website Pre-Launch Checklist

Peter A. Liefer II | Posted: December 15th, 2020 | Updated: January 14th, 2021

Before launching your WordPress website, you need to make sure everything functions as it should. The last thing you want is for people to visit your website for the first time and discover it’s not working correctly. You know what they say about first impressions.

Take your time and spend a couple of days to go over the many parts of your site. This checklist will help you to perform the task more effectively. It is not a complete list but gives some essential elements to review.

✅Test All Web Forms                                   

Web forms establish a connection with customers and capture their feedback. Users will more likely fill out forms that are easily accessible and easy to use. Ensure all forms on your site (contact, order, etc.) are submitting data correctly, and that form emails are sent to the right places.

✅ Ensure Cross Browser Compatibility

Check if your website is cross-browser compatible with extensive testing. Having a web page that displays and functions perfectly across multiple device-browser combinations is a necessity. It helps establish brand credibility and ensures that you connect with as many potential customers as possible and boost revenue.

✅ Test for Responsiveness

People use their smartphones for shopping every day, finding information, entertainment, and social networks is continually increasing. Therefore, your site must be mobile-friendly and available on other devices. To ensure your users’ best possible user experience, avoid problems with your site with responsive design testing.

✅ Check Loading Speed

Page speed is essential to site visitors as pages that load faster gives users an improved on-page experience. Page speed is a signal used by Google’s algorithm to rank pages. The speed at which your site uploads affect many things – SEO rankings, the web performance and customer experience, conversions, and site navigation. GTmetrix is a free tool you can use to analyze your page speed.

✅ Compress Images

Image compression makes your website faster and saves bandwidth. There are many ways to compress photos. The way you go about it depends on which file format you want to compress. There are many tools available to reduce images online. WordPress offers image compression plugins, both free and paid. Reduce all the image sizes by almost 50% by compressing the PNG & JPG files using TinyPNG or WP Smush it plugin.

✅ Use Latest Version of WordPress

Make sure your website is using the latest version of WordPress. If not, upgrade before you go live. The newest version of WordPress ensures that you have the latest security fix. Not updating your version of WordPress may leave your site open to hackers. It is also important to upgrade all the plugins on your website before going live.

✅ Check Broken Links

Broken links point to non-existent resources—these can be either internal to other pages on your domain or external pages. Broken links give a terrible user experience and can also be harmful to SEO. You can use that WordPress Broken Link Checker plugin to find them.

✅ Adhere to Accessibility Guidelines

Make sure your website is The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant. ADA is a comprehensive civil rights law to protect people with disabilities. Use the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to make your web content accessible to blind and deaf users and those who must navigate by voice, screen readers, or other assistive technologies.

✅ Manage 301 Redirects

To improve their user journey, 301 redirect forwards visits to an old URL to a new location. 301 redirects are used when a page is no longer relevant, useful, or has been removed. It is crucial to redirect any old URLs that won’t be staying the same on a rebuild of your website. You can manage 301 redirects with the help of the WordPress Redirection Plugin.

✅ Make Sure Your Site Can Be Crawled

When developing a WordPress website, you’ll want to keep search engines from crawling your site. When you launch, don’t forget to make the site visible to search engines. This is done by unchecking the option under Settings “Discourage search engines from indexing this site.” Not making sure your site can be crawled would be a disaster for your online presence as few will know you are there. If you are using a “Coming Soon” page, don’t forget to disable that.

✅ Use Alt text On All Images

Make sure there is ALT text added to all images on your site. Alt text is written copy that shows where an image fails to load on a user’s screen. Alt text helps screen-reading tools describe images to visually impaired readers. It also improves SEO by supporting search engines in crawling and ranking your website.

✅ Meta Tags

Check all webpages to see if they have proper meta tags, including titles and descriptions. Meta Tags are for people as much as they are for the spiders or bots that search engines use when looking for information. They tell the search engines information that only the search engines can see; technically, we can see them as they appear in search results. Include keywords in your titles and descriptions to boost SEO.

✅ Check Robots.txt

A correctly placed and optimized Robots.txt file is an important aspect of a new WordPress site. A robots.txt file tells search engines which pages or files the web crawler can or can’t request from your site. This is used to avoid overloading your site with requests or to keep a page off Google.

✅ Submit for Local Listing

Submit your site to local listings such as Google My Business if your site is about locally related content. Search engines reward businesses with accurate and consistent listings across directories with a more favorable position in search results.

✅ Add Social Sharing Icons

Don’t forget to include Social Media icons on all pages of your WordPress website. Through social networking and social sharing sites, you are better able to reach and engage potential customers. If visitors like your content, they can easily share it with their friends. Social sharing helps build and maintain your brand, generate leads, and respond to client feedback.