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16 Things to Check Before Launching Your WordPress Website

Whoop Whoop, you did it!
You finally finished working on your new website. It might have taken days, or weeks or perhaps a couple of months, but you are done and ready to proudly share it with the whole world!

You’ve worked hard and are excited to start collecting your well deserved compliments and likes. Yet.. before you hit that “publish” button, make sure you go over this quick checklist to ensure that everything works smooth and looks stellar!

The steps are broken down by categories. Start with whichever you like the most, yet make sure you tick all these boxes! 

Design & Aesthetics

Does the Site Look Good? As funny or weird as this question may seem, it needs to be asked. Sometimes, with all the stress, long working hours, research, tutorials and emotions put into the process of building a website – you just want to be done. This is exactly the scenario in which you might overlook or give in to small but vital design mistakes. If you can’t spot any, get a pair of fresh eyes! Ask a friend or a colleague to check everything, so they can give you an honest opinion and constructive feedback.

Cross-Browser Compatibility. Not all browsers render your site in the same way, so it’s crucial that you test your website out with all popular browsers(Chrome, Safari, Firefox). Some things to look out for are fonts, your logo, image display and colors, animations and navigation. Make sure that everything is displayed and works properly.

Cross-Device Functionality. With Flothemes your site should display nicely on any screen size, however it never hurts to double check. Get a few devices (borrow from your family and friends) or use a tool similar to Browser Stack to check out your website on different screens. See how the main layouts adapt to each screen size. Some things to look out for: overall look, ease of site navigation, layout consistency, text readability, etc.

Favicon. If you don’t know what a favicon is, it’s the little icon located right next to your title bar in the browser window. Usually companies use their logos as favicons, or a visual that represents their brand. If you won’t upload your own favicon, our Flothemes watermark will be displayed in the browser tab. Here’s how you can upload your own. Make sure your file is .ico format. You can use tools like Convertico to convert your .png file into an .ico file.

Must-Have Pages – Do you have all your important pages setup? An About page to help potential clients put a face and personality to your brand. A Contact page with a functional form and additional details (email address or phone number) so prospects can easily reach out to you. Your Blog, Portfolio, and Home pages should all look professional and polished as well. Also, make sure that each of these pages are easy to access and included in your menu. Your users need to have a simple and seamless browsing experience on your website. 

Site Functionality

Link Testing. This is not as painful as you imagine, and it’s very important. Nothing is worse then clicking on a link or button and getting to a 404 page or realizing that nothing happens (when the author forgets to add the link). So, to make sure that your clients and leads have a sweet time on your site, either go page by page and click on each link and button to make sure they all work and redirect to the correct destination. Don’t forget about your menu items, in the header and footer, as well as your social media links and newsletter sign up. You can also opt to use automated tools that do all the link checking for you. One of them is Broken Link Checker. 

Test Your Contact Form(s). This is actually something you need to do not only before launching your website, but on a regular weekly or monthly basis. Your contact form facilitates your sales process. If for any reason it’s not working, you’re missing out on potential clients. Test your form. Make sure that everything is set up correctly, that you have the right email connected to the form, and submissions go to the right place. If you use third party integrations, Studio Management software, autoresponders, etc – test each single one of them.

If you use FloForms to create your own custom contact forms, be sure to follow all the instructions to set everything up properly. If you notice that your form is not working, here’s how to troubleshoot the issue. And one more useful resource on how to avoid missing inquiries that come through your contact form.

404 Pages. Even if you performed a very thorough analysis of your links, it’s still possible that somewhere, somebody refers you on their blog, but it’s an old article or page that you removed or will remove at some point. This is when 404 comes up. It’s good practice to have a simple yet functional design for your 404 page. Some brands take it to the next level with humour, videos or animations. Yet, no need to spend too much time here. Create a simple template, that looks friendly, redirects your clients to your homepage or any other relevant page that your user might be interested in. Check out this article for plugin recommendations and design inspiration for your 404 page.

Site Security. This is a very important aspect, yet often overlooked. Here’s a quick article with 12 steps you can take to make your website more secure

Site Backup. Regardless if you choose to do it manually, with the help of a plugin, or get a hosting provider that does regular automatic backups for you – this is important. It can save you a lot of effort after a major update gone wrong or a security breach. 

Recommended Plugins.Did you install and activate all recommended plugins, such as the Theme Updater, Yoast SEO, etc? You can find here the full list of plugins we recommend for various purposes.

Content

Proofread Your Site. Check each page and make sure there are no misspelled words, grammar mistakes or Lorem Ipsum sections. Ask a few friends to proofread your site too.

Having content that works for your SEO and drives more traffic to it, is also something to consider. Though this is a more long-term goal, starting early and implementing keywords into your titles and paragraphs can make a significant difference for the way Google and potential clients find you. Check our SEO Guide and SEO resources for more recommendations and tips.

Site Performance & SEO

Site Speed Check. These are basic rules, but crucial, especially for photographers. How many times did you exist a website because it took forever to load? Exactly! The recommended time for a site to load is under 4 seconds, otherwise you risk losing a lot of potential clients, who won’t be patient enough to wait. If you’re not sure how well is your website performing, use GTMetrix or Pingdom to check out your score. If it takes longer than 4 seconds, or if you page is heavier than 5MB, consult this article for ways to improve your score.

Image Optimization. While there are multiple factors that can influence your site’s loading speed, unoptimized images is the most common one. These 2 articles include everything you need to know about image optimization and image SEO: 

Follow these instructions every single time you upload images to your site, be that for a page or blog post.

Here you can also discover 5 additional SEO tools recommended for our Flextheme users.

Analytics. We strongly recommend you to set up set up your Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts from the very start. This will not only satisfy your curiosity in terms of traffic that you’re getting for your new site, but will also point out any performance problems or weaknesses (if any exist). For more details on how to set up your Google Analytics account, check this article. For Google Search Console follow these instructions.

Social Sharing. Check how your site and pages look when shared on social media. You can easily change the featured image, headline or text snippet through your Yoast SEO plugin.  Follow the instructions from this article to ensure a great result.

Announcing Your New Site

Hooray! If you’ve taken care of all the points described in this checklist, you are officially ready to launch your beautiful new website. Last thing to consider, is your social media. Especially if you’ve rebranded, if you’ve changed your style and aesthetics – your social profiles need to reflect and promote that. Update your profile and cover image, create a beautiful banner or video to announce your new website (maybe even a short facebook and Instagram LIVE).

Now you’re ready! Share your site and enjoy all the compliments, likes and love coming your way!

P.S. We also gathered a bunch of tips and ideas on how to maximize your websites’ exposure. Check them out if you’re curious!

Flothemes Team,
Rooting for You. 

2 comments

    Tom Robak

    22:11 November 2, 2016

    great advices! nice one Flothemes

      Nata Flo

      13:19 November 3, 2016

      Thanks Tom! Glad you've found it helpful! :)

Comments are closed.
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