April 11, 2017 | Kayla Hollatz
Pressing the publish button on a blog post is scary enough, but on a newly designed website? That can be even more nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t have to be.
When you know which elements to include and those to double-check, you’ll feel more confident launching your WordPress website without worrying that you may have missed something.
This is how we prepare for our client website launches, and we’re sure it’ll help you, too.
1: Proofread Copy and Content
One of the first things you should do before building your WordPress website is proofread every page of content. Check for correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling. It may even help to read each sentence aloud to catch any errors or statements that don’t sound quite right.
One tool that may help with this is the Hemingway App. Not only does it highlight errors you have have missed, but it also gives your writing a readability score with personalized suggestions on how to improve your copy.
2: Text Formatting
Now that you have your website content proofread and edited, it’s time to format the text in WordPress. Do you have the right headers? Are you using bold and italic options for emphasis? Are you breaking up long paragraphs so the content is easier to read?
3: Published Blog Content
Along with your website copy, you’ll also want to launch with blog content. Blog posts educate your audience on what your company offers and solidifies your position as a thought leader in your field. We recommend having 4-6 blog posts published when you launch your website for a strong foundation.
4: Image Quality and Formatting
Nothing is worse than a website with low-quality images or incorrectly formatted photos. Before launching your website, check to make sure every image is correctly sized and looks good on every device screen.
Do you have a high-resolution logo? Have you optimally resized images on your website and in blog posts? Have you optimized your images with alt tags and title tags?
Favicons (short for favorite icons) are small 16×16 pixel icons that are displayed next to the URL of your website in a browser’s address bar. Because the icon is so small, it’s best to add a symbol that matches your visual branding.
6: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
We’ve talked at length about SEO on our blog. We even have a whole blog content category dedicated to it. How your website ranks for industry keywords on search engine result pages (SERPs) is important in increasing your website traffic and lead generation.
Have you included industry-driven, well-searched keywords into your website? Is your content readable (aka no keyword stuffing)? Are you using internal links to other relevant pages of your website? Are you using WordPress plugins wisely (like Yoast, our favorite SEO plugin)?
7: Website Analytics
We are huge fans of Google Analytics, so much so that we use it daily for our clients as an official Google Partner. Knowing your analytics is the best way to understand your audience’s actions so you can build a high-performing website.
Have you added the correct tracking code into WordPress? Do you have a strategy for how you will use analytics to influence your website’s design and function?
8: Link Check
Once you’ve gone through and added links on your website, it’s time to manually check that each link works. Yes, it may be a bit tedious, but it’ll save you from having a website with broken links.
Have you checked every external and internal link? Have you checked your call-to-action (CTA) buttons?
9: Cross Device Check
We’re close to getting your website ready for publishing! In preview mode, check to see what your website looks like and how it functions on all devices: phones, tablets, and desktops.
We always recommend Responsive Website Design (RWD) since it makes your website accessible on any device screen. Oh, and Google recommends it too. No need to have a separate desktop and mobile website. Less time, less hassle, more payoff. #winning
10: Cross Browser Check
Once you’re done previewing your website on different devices, check to see if your website design is properly displayed and functions well on each of the major browsers: Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. (Does anyone even use Internet Explorer anymore?)
11: Test Site Speed
No matter how great your website content is, if your website doesn’t load quickly, visitors will look for the exit button. Images, videos, and plugins can all slow down your website speed if you’re not careful. If you’d like a more in-depth tutorial on how to test your website’s speed, our blog post on website speed can help.
12: Test Forms
You don’t want to launch your website and find out a few weeks later that your forms haven’t been working. *facepalm* Testing all of your contact forms and opt-ins will save you from a potential lead generation nightmare.
13: Website Backup
Technology can be a fickle thing. For extra security and peace-of-mind, create multiple backups of your website. This can be done through plugins, cloud storage, external hard drives, and other software. It never hurts to be over prepared!
You’re officially ready to publicly launch your website! If you want to go through the full checklist once more to ensure everything’s ready, that’s okay too.
Now it’s time to celebrate! Our favorite way to celebrate at the office is with local beer and Wii Golf. What’s yours?