2021 WordPress website launch checklist

2021 pre-launch WordPress checklist: 21 dos and don’ts (part II)

Overview: Media; grammar (it’s “you’re,” not “your”); security — before you launch your WordPress site this year, be sure to do these things for a successful post-launch.

Previously, we listed out 9 things you should pay attention to before launching a WordPress website… and the list goes on. We said it before and we’ll say it again: We could argue that your 2021 WordPress website launch checklist is more important than the launch itself.

It’s kind of like composing a song versus releasing a song. The release is important, but the release wouldn’t be successful if things weren’t addressed on the back-end. It’s because of everything happening behind the scenes that the release is able to be successful (or not). The same goes for website launches.

If you haven’t checked out part I of this two-part article, you can find it here. Now, let’s consider the remaining pre-launch tips.

11. Make sure all images and/or media are loading properly — A website with images that don’t load looks sloppy and will tarnish your brand’s reputation. Review each page to ensure that all images are showing up as they should – both the important images that are large on the page, and the smaller stuff like social media icons.

12. Review each page for grammatical and punctuation errors — Even the best writers and editors know how easily a typo or misused word can slip through.

Even if your copywriter or content team proofread everything once already, do it one more time. Read over every page on the website to make sure it makes sense, supports your brand strategy, and doesn’t include any embarrassing typos or grammatical errors. It’s the difference between “you’re beautiful” and “your beautiful” (my beautiful what?).

In addition to checking for typos, check to make sure the text on each page is formatted in a way that looks good and makes it easy to read, and that the spacing is consistent throughout.

13. Create a custom 404 page — Your 404 page is what visitors will see if they try to visit a page on your site that doesn’t exist (which will happen fairly often as your site grows). It’s an important page to have because it gives you a chance to help those visitors find what they need and keep them on your site.

14. Set up 301 redirects if needed — A 301 redirect lets you automatically “redirect” visitors to a different page. For example, let’s say you change the URL of a post from yoursite.com/old-title to yoursite.com/new-title. A 301 redirect lets you automatically redirect people who visit yoursite.com/old-title to yoursite.com/new-title. 

If you’re creating a brand new website, you probably won’t need any 301 redirects at the beginning. However, if you’re working on relaunching an existing site, you might need to set up 301 redirects to account for any changes that you’ve made.

15. Check how your site looks in different modes (mobile, on different browsers) — A lot of the people that come to your website will be doing so on their mobile devices.  You have to make sure your website is mobile friendly. If you are using a mobile responsive design theme (most are these days), you can mark this off your to-do list!

At the same time, different visitors will be viewing your website through different browsers. By this point, you’ve checked how the website looks through the browser you use the most often. Now it’s time to go back and test it out in all the others.

The most popular browsers you should be sure to check are:

  • Chrome

  • Internet Explorer

  • Firefox

  • Safari

  • Opera

16. Check that your favicon is in place and showing up — Your site icon/favicon is what appears next to your site title in visitors’ browser tabs, bookmarks, etc. It will also be used as the “app” icon if someone saves your site to their mobile device. We’ve mentioned for other points, but this is likewise a great branding opportunity.

17. Install web analytics to start understanding your site’s visitors — Web analytics are a useful tool that lets you see how many visitors your site gets, what content they like, where they come from, and lots more. You’ll want to have web analytics installed from day one so that you can start understanding your site’s visitors right away.

The easiest way to get started with web analytics is to use the free Google Analytics tool 

18. Secure your site is with a WordPress security plugin — This might seem like a bit of a no-brainer, but it’s a reminder that’s worth reminding. Securing your site is one great strategy to help make sure you never need to use the backups from the previous checklist item. 

19. Secure wordpress admin area — As the most popular content management system in the world, WordPress is often a popular target of hackers. Many WordPress sites have run without having to face any of these threats for years, but it is always better to be prepared than to be sorry.

Some online businesses set up a firewall which makes your site super secure and prevents you from attacks. Setting up a firewall is definitely a way to go if your site is a business. Doing this is like having a private security system at your physical business location… and guards… and really scary dogs that look like they’ll bite your leg off if you even breathe close to the building. Yeah, it’s something like that.

20. Sign up for Google Search Console — A Google Search Console account gives you the means to communicate certain things directly to Google. If you want to submit new content for crawling by Google or remove pages you don’t want to be indexed, this is an easy place for you to do that.

21. Backup your site daily, weekly, and/or monthly — This is last, but certainly not least. Being good at backing up your website doesn’t necessarily mean you’re enhancing your online presence. It means you’re saving all your SEO efforts. When you choose to backup your site – daily, weekly, monthly – everyone wins.

Related article(s): WordPress Checklist: 17 Steps to Launching Your Site; Elementor Team Writes: Website Launch Checklist — 25 Must-Dos Before A Website Launch; Your Final Checklist Before Launching Your Website; Checklist: 11 Things To Do Before Launching a WordPress Site

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