Nervous about launching your WordPress web site? I’ve got some advice for you.
Don’t wait until your site is “perfect” or “finished.” Delaying your launch for just minor reasons will hurt you. Procrastinating allows your content to get stale and your design to become yesterday. It is one more day that you lose out to competition.
As the site is developed, have a checklist of all the elements of your site that need to be produced. As launch approaches, the tasks either get done or they are moved to the post-launch list. This is when you can really see what is mission critical and what can be postponed. What is a “must have” and what is a “nice to have” become very clear at this point, if they haven’t already.
Look At It This Way
When it is time to move into your new home you don’t say, “Honey, not yet. Maybe next week. They still haven’t installed the lighting fixture in the fourth bathroom on the third floor.”
It’s all about priorities. Unless you are beyond crazy, you will move into your house even if it is not completely finished. The same holds true for launching your site (let us hope).
Here’s My Little Pre-Launch Checklist No Matter What Type of Site
1. Check your spelling and grammar.
I know, I sound like your High School English teacher.
Have someone carefully check over your copy. Spelling and grammar are factors that build trust. I have a valued soul (my Wizard Of Words) who looks over my words. This task is not something you do yourself.
You won’t catch all your errors. Don’t use a plugin for this. Put human eyes on your copy.
After your launch – and as you add new content – make sure you keep on checkin’!
2. Check for broken links.
WordPress has a great plugin, Broken Link Checker, that monitors your site for broken links. You can have it send you an email when a broken link is detected. Sure beats manually clicking on every link in your site (which is a waste of time).
When the site is fresh, and just as you go live, use the plugin to do a site-wide scan for links that don’t work anymore. Then fix those broken links.
3. Check for re-directs.
If you are launching a site that replaces an existing site, chances are you will be removing web pages that others may have linked to. These back links are precious. They impact ranking with Google. You need to have a url which replaces the page which no longer exists.
For example, if you have a url like this:
and your new WordPress site has this:
these are NOT the same urls!
Get yourself a very handy plugin, Redirection. Use it so that users will be redirected to the new url when they try to access the url that no longer exists.
4. Check to make sure your site is mobile ready.
This is something that needs to be looked into well before you launch. Best thing is to test, at minimum, the current versions of all devices, operating systems, and browsers.
Here is my short video about what you can do in a pinch to make sure your site looks the way it should on all types of display devices.
With most modern WordPress themes, chances are your site is good for on-the-go consumption.
5. Check that your site is backed up.
This should go without saying. There are plenty of great, free plugins to backup your site. I like BackWPup because it is easy to configure. Whatever you use, you must make sure that your Database is backed up. If it isn’t, then doing a backup will have been an idle exercise.
6. Check that your forms are working.
No matter what you use to generate a form, make sure it does what you want it to do when users fill out the form. Test to see if you are getting the submitted data and that the user gets a confirmation message (if that is what you intend).
But Wait. The List Goes On.
This was my quickie list. It does not cover everything that you might like to check on pre-launch.
Here is where you can find a lot more on this subject: