Launching a brand-new website is super thrilling.
You worked hard and planned for it for so long, and now this is your moment of truth!
You are finally going to launch your website. While opening the site for your visitor might be super exciting, it can be very stressful too.
The same nervousness we felt before the exam!!!!
The content may have typo and grammatical issues and needs editing. The contact us page might be non-functional, a plugin is broken, or one has a conflict with another.
Or there may be some silly errors that need to be noticed!!!!!
Yeah, I can relate to what you feel right now. Being in the web design & development industry for almost a decade, we built a Website Launching Checklist that we check every time before hitting that launch button.
Last Minute Website Launching Checklist for the Developer Who Strives for Flawlessness
We always believe that……
A successful website launch depends on a combination of planning and hard work. And that’s why we made a proven website launching plan to save your time.
Configure WordPress Basic Settings:
#1 Setup Homepage & Post Page
The homepage is called the living room of a website.
The homepage is where users first see the site, and it is also where the majority of traffic to the website comes from. That’s why it’s the most basic yet the most important task of building a website.
And the catcher is…….By default, WordPress thinks you want your website for blogs.
If you want to display a blog post on the home page, hola- it’s already done for you.
But that’s not always the case, right?
Not everyone wants the latest post on the homepage. Suppose you want a welcome vibe on the main page, then you have to choose “A static page”. The question is, how do we do that? It’s pretty simple, actually. All you have to do is….
Go to Dashboard>Setting>Reading>Front page display>choose the static page & homepage
Oh, don’t forget to save the changes. Trust us, having a well-designed homepage can make a huge difference.
#2 Delete Dummy Content
When you open the post section first, you will probably see something like “Hello World”.
That’s the classic example of dummy content.
By default, WordPress keeps the demo content in categories, menu items, pages, and various images to give the user an idea of what the site may look like. Once you are ready to use your own content, you can delete and customize your design or place the information on the template.
How to remove the dummy contents?
- BLOG POSTS- WordPress Dashboard > Posts > All Posts>checkmark the post you want to delete>Move to trash
- IMAGES/MEDIA- WordPress Dashboard > Media > Library> checkmark the images you want to delete> “Delete Selected.”
- PORTFOLIO- WordPress Dashboard> Portfolio > Portfolio> checkmark by the stuff you want to remove> Move to Trash.
- PAGES- WordPress Dashboard> Pages > All Pages> Move to Trash.
- COMMENTS- WordPress Dashboard > Comments> checkmark the comments you want to delete> Move to Trash.
#3 Deactivate & Delete Unused Plugins
A few plugins- what can they do to my website speed!!!
Are you thinking like this?
You have no idea how much damage these innocent-looking plugins do to your website performance. The plugin has a lot of code, icons, and elements which will make your site heavy. So delete the useless plugins. And if you think some plugins could be handy later, just deactivate them.
Uninstalling WordPress plugins won’t take hours. All you have to do is-
Go to Dashboard>Plugins>Delete/uninstall the unnecessary plugins
#4 Setup Your Permalinks
A simple Permalink Structure can make a huge difference.
Yeah, talking about those permanent URLs.
With proper permalink practices, you can ensure that all of your posts are easily accessible from anywhere on your site and that readers have easy access to important information. And WordPress makes it super simple.
But here is the kicker…….
The default permalink settings on WordPress. All you have to do is optimize it to keep it short and simple. For that, go to……..
wp-admin / Settings / Permalinks
And most importantly, remember to save the changes once you’re done.
#5 Change Your WP-Admin Email
Love Em’ or Hate Em’- There will be a bunch of emails you gonna get regarding your website.
These could be from the security plugin, theme if there are any major changes or simply from WordPress when comments are made.
Or for any pesky hacker activity!
That’s why setting WP-Admin Email is crucial for you. So how to do it? WordPress makes everything easier-
Go to Dashboard>Settings>Put the address in the Email address field>Save changes
#6 Set Your Time Zone
WordPress uses UTC to define the time to display.
Yes, that’s also by default.
There is a problem though, universal time will mess up the publish date. In addition, tracking user data on analytics will be even more confusing.
Do you get it? Why do we put time zone setting as the fundamental task?
Now let’s see how to do this.
Dashboard>Settings>General>Select local time zone>fix data format>time format>week>Save change
That’s it-You are done!
#7 Make Sure You’re Allowing Search Engine Indexing
Search engines are simply answering machines.
And it works through three processes: crawling, indexing, and ranking. To make your site visible or found on SERP, you have to give them permission to crawl and index.
Enable indexing and let the search engines (Google/Bing/DuckDuckGo) do their work.
#8 Set Site Title, Tagline, Logo, Retina Logo & Favicon
While the site title, tagline favicon and rating logo aren’t the most important part of your website, you should still not overlook these stuff.
Here is why:
Setting up a nice favicon and ensuring the logo is compatible with the retina display is a core part of your branding effort.
How to set up these things?
For Site Title, Tagline-
go to Dashboard>Setting>General>Input the new title/Tagline>Save changes
And for logo and fav icon–
Theme Options>General >Logos & Favicon
Tell us, what’s the first thing that pops up when we enter the site lately?
The cookies preference, right?
Have you ever wondered why this is so strictly maintained lately?
Well, the General Data Protection Regulation is a new EU law introduced on May 25, 2018. And give website owners strict rules about collecting, using, and protecting personal data.
#10 Activate SSL Certificate & Enable HTTPS
SSL is a security measure that helps protect your website from data breaches and cyber-attacks.
The main aim is to get HTTPS.
Including SSL on your website ensures that your customers are safe and your site looks secure.
And getting the HTTPS protocol is pretty easy now. Most reliable hosting (SiteGround, WPEngine) offer that option with just one click. If your hosting does not provide these benefits, you can also try a free SSL certificate from Cloudflare.
#11. Setup Your Goals and See If The Website Can Fulfil
Launching a website without a specific goal wastes time and resources.
They say, “A goal without an action plan is just a daydream.”
The same is true for the website. What action will your visitors take? What do you want your visitors to do on your website? Some of the ideas for your website goal could be:
- Capture leads and setup a sales funnel
- You want to convert your leads
- You want to provide information to your visitors
Having a specific goal helps you in many ways. First, it gives you a clear idea of how to set up your site. Additionally, this will also help you further identify your ideal competitors and analyze what they are doing on their websites. In the meantime, you can also get ideas on what to improve on your website.
#12. Build & Optimize Your Conversion Funnel
Kinda surprised to see this in the launching list?
Well, your website is ready for the buyer’s purchase journey. So it’s the right time to ensure traffic converts into qualified leads.
There is a specific process of how customers make a purchase decision. This might differ from industry to industry, but most have a similar pattern.
Yeah, talking about the golden rule of the conversion funnel is AIDA.
……… (Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action).
When visitors land on your website, you give them information and create awareness of your offer. A percentage of visitors now will be interested. So you need to grab them to put them on a lead list.
Before you launch, you must analyze and set up your sales funnel with a bulletproof strategy. Then, enable your customers to visit and make a purchase decision without interruption on your website. But where to optimize CRO?
- Landing page
- Pricing page
#13. Make Sure the Design Matches Your Brand Guideline
Design is what makes a brand.
It sets the tone and message for a product or service. Every element of your design (photo, logo, color, fonts) is separate, and you should be an expert at putting them all together to achieve something meaningful.
To ensure that your design matches your brand guideline, it’s important to look at the overall design approach and ensure everything falls within this system’s confines. If not, we still have time to make some changes or modify the stuff.
#14. Proofread The Content (Again!)
Everyone makes mistakes—even writers!
A simple typo, wrong punctuation, or goofy spelling can totally change the article’s meaning and tone.
That’s why we proofread the content before publishing to ensure accuracy and completeness. The list of things to look for is quite lengthy, but proofreading them is essential…
- Grammar and spelling mistakes
- Redundant content
- Inconsistencies and relevancy
#15. Create Custom 404 Page
Ops!- Page not found!
Yes, that’s 404 we’re talking about.
As a visitor, we prefer to avoid seeing dead links. Because of this, we should better customize these dead links for a better user experience.
Having a well-thought-out custom 404 page can turn your users’ negative experience into a pleasant one. A splash of humour can make a big difference. In addition, you can track your lost users through Google Analytics.
#16. Don’t forget to Make A Dynamic Contact Page
The contact us page is more than a form.
It is a great way to get in touch with you for the audience. Having a dynamic contact page means you open the doors for your customer or audience to interact with you.
Apart from that……
With a well-functioning dynamic contact page, your website will be seen as more professional and user-friendly.
You can create a contact us form using HTML & CSS. Not a technically sound person in programming? No worries, WordPress is again your guardian angel and has a plugin for this.
#17. Ensure the Links Are Working
Links are like a bridge between websites.
…..and also the backbone.
Both internal and external links are crucial for any online presence. Therefore, link management plays a key role in improving your SEO.
- Check the link’s relevancy before you make a connection. Keep it small and easy to read.
- Give Do-follow and No-follow tags carefully to get the most link juice.
- Make sure there are no redirects that could stop visitors from leaving your site.
- Check for spam links often. Spammers love link building, so they try to send you spam links that may cause trouble in paradise. So check for spam links every time you make a new connection with somebody!
#18. Check Browser Compatibility, Responsiveness and Mobile-Friendliness
If a website is responsive, it will automatically adapt to the browser’s settings when the user interacts with it.
That’s the beauty of responsive web design.
Yeah, we design that way, but we still check to ensure the site is working fine in displaying content on different devices.
You shouldn’t take it lightly, as over 90% of the global internet population use a mobile device to access online.
Creating a responsive website isn’t enough. You need to run cross-browser testing to check that your website functions in all browsers.
#19. Analyze UX
Did you ever think about who you are doing all of this for?
That’s why User-Experience should be your top priority. User Experience (UX) is how an experience feels to the user. It includes Usability and accessibility testing to look through everything from how a product looks and feels to how someone interacts with it.
- Are all the links working correctly?
- What about navigation?
- Are images loading properly?
- Does the site look good on mobile?
- Are the CTA buttons prominent and catchy?
- What about usable accessibility?
In a word, have a look as a user, not as a developer. Then, if you find anything odd, fix the issue immediately.
#20. Check Web Forms and Review Autoresponders Functionality
No matter what they say- Email marketing is not dead.
As a successful email campaign starts with opt-in forms, you should take this seriously and need to double-check whether it’s working properly or not.
Another deal is- We love instant feedback.
Even if that is a script that automates email replies, we are happy. Check that the autoresponders are working smoothly as part of the last-minute checklist.
#21. Page Speed Check
Believe us or not, improving your load time by 0.1s can boost conversion rates by 8%.
And you know what?
Search engine giant Google launched an update to penalize slow-loading websites. Independent research carried out by Kissmetrics found that an average delay of 3.0 seconds to load can make a quarter of the visitors leave the website immediately. So this significantly impacts your conversion.
How fast does your website load? This can impact the following:
- Search engine ranking
- Visitor Satisfaction
- And most importantly, the conversion rate
So, don’t launch a slow website! That’s a rule!
Our favorite tool is Google’s Page Speed which displays your current speed and how you can improve it. Another reliable tool is GTmetrix which shows why your site is slow and shows the optimization opportunity.
#22. Setup Profiles, Connect Your Social Media Accounts & Check Social Sharing Functionality
The rapid spread of social media is striking.
58.4% of the world’s population uses social media. The average daily usage is 2 hours and 27 minutes.
So ignoring the power of social media will be a foolish decision. Having a sync between your website and your social media platforms will give you a solid base to reach more and more audiences.
Setting up your profile and connecting your site with your social media platform could be a brilliant start for your social media strategy. And don’t think connecting to all the media will take a hell lot of time.
Oh, and remember that the sharing option works just fine.
#23. Test Third-Party Tools Compatibility
Whether you are a big fan of third-party tools or not, we have to use them a lot on your website.
These could be Analytics partners, Chat Service Providers, Social Networking Button Widgets, or Payment Service Providers.
But before hitting that launch button, you have to make sure these tools are compatible and running OK on your website.
#24. Install & Configure SEO Plugin with Best Practice
SEO plugins are the heart of a website.
But the golden rule is- Less is more.
Install only those plugins that bring value to your site. There are some SEO plugins like Yoast and Rank Math are so handy in going above and beyond to improve site’s overall performance.
#25. Optimize Your On-Page SEO
No matter what they say……on-page SEO is still a big deal.
And it doesn’t need crazy $$$ to optimize like off-page SEO. And that’s why it is one of the smartest steps you can take to improve your website’s ranking in search engines.
If you can use the right keywords and keyword phrases on your website smartly, you can increase your chances of ranking higher on SERP. To optimize your on-page SEO, be sure to use the following tips:
- Have a look at the title and Meta description.
- Use keyword research to determine which keywords are most relevant and effective for your website. But don’t do stuffing or over-optimize.
- Take E-A-T seriously.
- Be careful about headers (h1,h2,h3 etc) and use wisely.
- Craft content with relevant information and data.
#26. Conduct a Technical SEO Audit & Analyze What Needs Changing
The main purpose is to identify any potential issues with your site’s coding and content that could be causing it to fall sharply in search engine results pages (SERPs).
That’s not all……..
A technical SEO audit can also help you identify any potential problems with your site’s layout and design, which could lead to its downfall in the long term.
There are tons of factors to examine closely, but some of the parameters you must audit are…….
- Remove Duplicate Content
- Fix Redirects
- Check your SEO score
- Take care of broken links and orphan pages
- Restrict Indexation
#27. Install & verify Google Analytics, Webmaster & Sitemap
You don’t need any fancy tools to collect website traffic and performance data.
Google gives you a tool for FREE!!!!
Both Google Analytics and Webmaster are great open-source tools that let you track how users reach your site and identify any potential marketing or advertising campaigns that may be worth pursuing.
How cool is that!!!!
Install and verify these handy tools to better understand your website traffic and activity so that you can make smarter business decisions.
It’s totally free and relatively easy to sign up.
And why sitemap?
By installing a sitemap on the website, webmasters can better track where their content comes from and where visitors are coming from. In a word, it keeps your website’s navigation system organized and easy to use. Generally, WordPress SEO plugins create a sitemap, but you should check with the webmaster whether it is working properly.
#28. Check Your robots.txt File
The robots.txt file is often used to restrict how many robots can access a site.
It can also be used as a way to control which websites can access your users’ data and services. In a nutshell……block Google and other browsers from crawling.
Check the file manually and Disallow or on-index those content of categories that you don’t want Google to index.
Using Google’s robots.txt testing tool is the easiest way to manage it.
#29. Setup Anti-spam Protection like Akismet
Being scammed is not a fun thing.
By implementing anti-spam protection like Akismet, you can increase the security and reliability of your website. Moreover, this protection can save you from fake posts and fraudulent activities. So take precautions by setting up Anti-scam plugins to protect yourself from any cyberattack.
#30. Keep a Backup Solution
You did everything to make your site a blast, but what about data security?
Yeah, you should have a plan B for an emergency.
Here is why:
Random crashes and errors can come out of nowhere.
When you keep a backup solution, you can quickly restore your data should something happen wrong with your primary system. Not only will this help to protect your data, but you can also relax knowing that if something happens to the primary system, all of your backups will still be intact.
Nowadays, hosting companies have this facility so that your blogging life is as easy as possible. And if you don’t have that privilege, you can back up your WordPress website with free plugins. This will take no longer than 5 minutes.
#31. Security Plugin Setup
Hackers are eagerly waiting to breach your website.
Thanks to the security plugins, we can now protect ourselves and the users from potential vulnerabilities. Many different security plugins are available, so choose the one that best suits your needs.
Here are some reasons you should include security plugins on your website:
- To protect your users from data breaches: If your site is unprotected, anyone with access to your data can potentially steal and exploit your customers. By adding security plugins, you can keep your users safe and secure.
- To prevent fraud: By implementing security plugins, you can deter fraudulent activities such as phishing or credit card fraud.
- To ensure the site is secure and protected from malicious activities.
#32. Check Legal & Copyright Issues
You have to use a lot of stuff for design and functionality purposes.
Am I right?
Before launching the website, it is essential to check all the legal and copyright issues. Ensure that you didn’t break any copyright issues and use things that have been properly licensed or cited.
#33. Ask for Feedback from Friends & Colleagues!
No one can be excellent at everything.
…..& we can make mistakes too.
Getting feedback from a third person is always a wise idea to hear about some areas you could improve. No offence, just solve those issues to make your work better.
It’s Time to Hit that Launch Button!!!!
After long and meticulous work (& endless revision), it is finally time for your website to launch. You have put in so much effort, but now it is time to enjoy the fruits of your labour. You may have worked on it for months or even years, but now is the time to see all the fuss.