Pre-launch Checklist

For all of the websites that I launch I go through a Pre Launch Checklist to make sure that it is READY!

By READY I don’t just mean looks nice and is responsive (even though this is of course important and part of the checklist).

But it also needs to be able to be FOUND, be SECURE, and be FAST.

I am going to go though my Pre launch checklist and explain what I do, how I do it and why it’s importan

Look & Functionality

  • Test Website on Different Devices

If you can use the real thing that is great but otherwise there are many tools on the internet that can help including:

https://www.responsinator.com/

https://material.io/tools/resizer/

  • Review Cross Browser Compatibility

Again you can’t really beat the real thing, but again there are tools to help you test on a arrange of different browsers*.

http://browsershots.org/

*Remember a lot of websites will not be designed to work on outdated and unsupported browsers please see below for a breakdown of browsers that are supported:

  • Standard View
    • Firefox
      • Current and ESR versions are supported.
    • Chrome
    • Opera
      • Presto-based Opera is not supported
    • Safari
      • Exception: Safari on Windows
    • Edge
    • Internet Explorer, version 11 only
      • This browser is mostly supported on a “because it works” basis. Support may be dropped in the future, without notice, if new functionality is implemented that cannot be made to work in Internet Explorer 11.
  • Mobile View
    • Android browser (including Chrome for Android)
      • Supported: 4.0 and up (source)
    • Mobile Safari (iPhone browser)
      • Supported: the versions that come with iOS 9 and up.
  • Check FavIcon

This is what you see in the tab of your browser and it just smartens up the look of the site if you pop your logo in there.

Here is a good article which explains 3 different ways on how to add the favicon:

https://www.wpsuperstars.net/add-a-favicon-in-wordpress/

  • Add Social Share Image

This is the image people will see when you post your URL on Social media

If you have the Yoast plugin installed here’s some great information about optimisation:

https://yoast.com/social-media-optimization-with-yoast-seo/Optimize Images on your Website

You need to set the Open Graph image which you can do through Yoast or by adding the following to your page <head> </head>

<meta property=”og:image” content=”https://YOURIMAGEHERE.png” />

  • Check Grammar and Spelling Mistakes

Check check check!

https://app.grammarly.com/

  • Proofread Content on all Pages
  • Check all Forms on the Website

Make sure you are receiving all messages from all forms on the site and if you have an auto-response that these are also being received.

  • Check Timezone Settings

Go to Dashboard>Settings check timezone city is relevant.

  • Check Licensing of Plugins, Images, etc.

For continued support and updates any premium plugins need to have a valid license.  Most plugin licenses are valid for 1 year and then will need to be renewed.

Plugin updates are essential to ensure they can be updated so that they continue to work as they should and are compatible with the latest version of WordPress.

Also check the licences for any images you use, please don’t just take images off of Google as if you get caught out you can get fined.

Some places you can get free stock images include:

https://unsplash.com/

https://www.pexels.com

https://pixabay.com/en

https://gratisography.com/

https://www.stockvault.net/

https://www.pikwizard.com/

https://www.rawpixel.com/

  • Ask Feedback from Friends & Colleagues!
  • Domain and Hosting

Ensure you’re with a well known and trusted Host and you know the details to be able to log on to your site’s host.

  • Setup Up-time Monitoring

Most hosts will have monitoring, but you can also do it yourself:

https://www.pingdom.com/free/

https://managewp.com/ – this is what I use and can’t recommend it enough.

  • Mailchimp

Make sure you are building your mailing list using Mailchimp.

Speed

  • Remove Unwanted Plugins, Images, etc.

Anything your not using is taking up space and could be open to security risks as well as slowing the site down – so remove!

  • Remove all Unwanted Pages/Posts

Again if you don’t need it then remove it.

  • Remove WordPress Post Revisions

I would recommend putting the following code in your wp.config file:

define( ‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’, 3 );

This limits you to the previous 3 revisions.

But ony do this if you knw what you are doing (Take a copy of the wp.config so if you break it you can put it back!)

You can also use plugins to remove revisions such as:

  • Optimize Images on your Website

Here is a list of image optimiser plugins:

https://www.wpbeginner.com/plugins/best-wordpress-image-compression-plugins-compared/

I personally would use:

https://wordpress.org/plugins/tiny-compress-images/  (100 free per month)

and this is the people behind:

https://tinypng.com/

https://shortpixel.com

(I got a lifetime license from

https://appsumo.com/

  • Check Performance

The following tools are great (and free):

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

https://gtmetrix.com/

https://tools.pingdom.com/

SEO

  • Title & Meta Tags of All Important Pages
  • Allow Search Engine Indexing
  • Add Google Analytics Code

https://analytics.google.com/analytics/

  • Submit Website to Google

https://search.google.com/search-console/

  • Google My Business

https://www.google.com/business/

  • Get clients to review your business
  • Configure SEO Plugin

Yoast is the most popular WordPress SEO Plugin and has lots of tutorials and is simple to set up.

  • Check Permalinks

In Dashboard>Settings>Permalink

Custom:

/%postname%/

And with the category prefixed:

/%category%/%postname%/

  • Check for Broken Links

https://www.brokenlinkcheck.com

Once you have found the broken links – either remove them or redirect them:

https://wordpress.org/plugins/redirection/

  • Check SEO and Overall Grades

Here’s a really good tool especially as it gives you a detailed report and ways of improving:

https://neilpatel.com/

  • Optimise headers – on page analysis

http://tools.seochat.com/tools/seo-on-page-analysis/

Security

  • SSL Certificate

This must be installed and alllinks and images must also be https://  – most hosts offer this for free.

Sites that do not have a ssl certificate are penalised by Google.

  • Harden Security
    • Add a security plugin

Wordfence/Securi

  • Protection Against Spam
    • add recaptcha/honeypot to all forms
  • Take Website Backup

These should be scheduled and kept in 3 places (i.e. server, cloud, local).

Check that your hosting company take regular backups – if they don’t this should be a red flag and maybe look to host elsewhere.

Use a plugin to backup:

https://managewp.com/ (pay the $2 to get the daily backups)

https://updraftplus.com/ (free version should be enough – usually)

  • Remove default “Admin” user (if applicable)

As admin is the default user for WordPress, it is the most used to hack you website. So if it’s their delete it – **you may need to reassign posts and pages created by admin.