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WordPress Website Pre-Launch Checklist

OnMax Host Digital - Checklist For Launching A WordPress Website

Road map to creating A Beautiful WordPress Website

Checklist For Launching A WordPress Website

The Checklist for launching a WordPress Website is your road map to creating and launching a great digital experience for your website, built on WordPress, the platform that powers over 30% of the web today. WordPress offers tons of benefits for anyone who wants to create a new website. You do not need to have advanced coding skills to launch your new WordPress Blog or Website. WordPress comes out of the box ready for SEO and there are hundreds of thousands of themes and plugins available on the market to help you build the website you have always wanted and expand the functionality of your website. As the Internet continues to expand and competition is increasingly stiff, we feel that this checklist will help many maximize the benefits of WordPress and leverage them to launch a website that with competitive performance, offers your visitors a great user experience, is highly visible to your target audience, and helps deliver your Brand Story effectively. Find more WordPress Resources to help you build your WordPress Digital Experience.

Content Is King!

OnMax Host Digital - Checklist for launching WordPress website

A website project must begin with content. The purpose of a website is to display content that provides answers to the queries of Internet users. Therefore, content is at the heart your website project. You must therefore start by defining the type of content that will help you achieve your goals for your online presence. And you must write your content with both search engines and your website visitors in mind. Your content demonstrates your expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. You need to be familiar with the EAT Guidelines. We incorporate them fully in our website design to ensure the best user experience for the visitors. In order to achieve this, make sure that the following items are checked on your checklist.

You must ensure that all your downloadable files are correct and that you have a contact page so that visitors can communicate with you.

  • Write Your Ideas Clearly
    If you are using a WordPress theme, it is likely that you will have placeholder text - such as "Lorem isum" - on your website. You need to replace that text with your own text. You must pay close attention and remove such text throughout your website. You also need to replace placeholder images with your own images. It will be very confusing for your visitors to come across the dummy content and images that came with the theme.
  • Format & Proofread Your Text
    The Internet offers you a platform to present your ideas to the world. At the same time, your website visitors will make a judgment about your business within 2-3 seconds upon arriving on your website. This means that your margin of error is very thin. You can't afford to have words that are misspelled. Grammar and spelling are critical online because small mistakes can quickly tarnish your Brand image.
  • Set up a custom 404 Page
    When people click on a link on your website, or maybe on your Social Media posts and get an 404 Error page, they will simply leave your website. You need to have a custom 404 Page where you offer them a soft landing with instructions on how to find what they are looking for. Though most WordPress themes come with a default 404 Error Page, it is better for you to provide a custom page that help retain your visitor on your website.
  • Examine Page Links
    You need to have both internal and external links on your page. You must make sure that there are no broken links in your content. Therefore, test every link to make sure that they point to the places you want your website visitors to go after clicking on the link.
  • Set up Categories & Tags
    Categories are like your broad chapters on your table of content. Categories group your content into meaningful topics. They provide a better user experience for your visitors by helping them find what they are looking for easily. They also help boost your SEO value by making your content searchable by search engines. Tags, on the other hand are like keywords that relate pieces of your content together.
  • Set up Redirections
    If you are redesigning your website, there may be a need for you to redirect an old URL to a new one. You may have links published on other websites, including ads. Those links may have earned much juice. It will be helpful for you to create a redirection so that visitors following that link will not be lost on your website.

Website Design

The design is what makes it easy for visitors to enjoy the content on your website. Design will also ensure that your content is optimized and presented on various devices correctly. So, in addition to good content, you also need a good design. This will impact your choice of a WordPress Theme as well as your Website Designer. Make sure that the design gives full expression to your Brand. At OnMax Host Digital, we provide you with the FREE WordPress Resources and training to help you with your WordPress Website Project.
OnMax Host Digital - Checklist for launching a WordPress Website - Website Design
  • Validate HTML & CSS Codes
    As the Internet continues to grows, browsers are also evolving. HTML and CSS Codes must are also evolving. You must validate your HTML and CSS codes to ensure that they are adhere to current web standards. W3C Markup Validation Service is a free tool you can use to check your web pages for compatibility.
  • Test Your Website Speed
    Page load speed is an important ranking factor because it affects user experience on your website. Many people are likely to abandon a web page that takes a long time to load. This is interpreted by search engine algorithms as a bad user experience. You can use free tools such as GTmetrix or even Google PageSpeed Insights
  • Responsive Design
    Google has shifted to Mobile Indexing First. That means that they are placing increasingly more value on how your website looks and performs on mobile devices. Research shows that mobile accessibility is now not just a matter of convenience. If your website cannot perform well on mobile, you will lose. Make sure to text your website on various devices before launch. Read Google's Mobile Friendly Update dated April 21st, 2015. You can use Google's Mobile Friendly Test Tool to check your website.
  • Set Up Permalinks
    Set up your permalinks structure under Settings. Our advice is that you use the permalinks structure that includes the post title in the URL. We recommend including keywords, instead of a random string of letters and numbers. This will increase your search rankings using keywords, enhance Google’s crawlability on your website and create simpler links.
  • Some Design Details
    The small details make a big difference in design. Brand your website with a Favicon. This is often forgotten. Favicon appears in browser tabs and makes your website look really professional. Don't forget to link your site logo back to your home or start page to enable your website visitors to return to the home page quickly. Author Bios and Author Display Names are also very important. Don't forget to also set your comments preferences - for example, closing comments after a certain number of days.
  • Website Structure
    A good website structure is critical. It makes it easy for visitors to navigate and find the information they need on your website. It also helps search engine crawlers to find your content on your website. Structure your website with your visitors' navigation needs in mind. Help them find what they need quickly and efficiently. Include internal links (link content to other related sections within your website.

Website Functionality

OnMax Host Digital - Checklist For L

Your website must not simply be a beautiful design. It must be fully functional. In other words, it must do what you intend it to be. So, beautiful design and awesome content are not enough. At the end of the day, your design and content are meant to get your visitors to take action(s) on your site. You must therefore ensure that all user interface aspects of your website are working as they should. If you expect visitors to fill a form, you need to make sure that the form is working and delivering the message. We have a domain name search tool on our website.

We have made sure that when a visitors types his or her preferred domain in the tool, the visitor will get the results they expect. Here are a few things that you need to check before launching your WordPress website.

  • Web Forms
    There are many types of forms used on websites: Contact Forms, Survey Forms, Order Forms, Subscription Forms, etc. You must test each one of them by performing the action you want your website visitors to take to ensure that the form performs correctly. Make sure that the email is able to send messages and that you are able to receive the messages into your receiving email address.
  • Test Site Speed
    Use various page load speed tools to test every important web page on your website. Perform the tests for mobile and desktop. You may want to even go out on public wi-fi to test your website speed.
  • Third-Party Tools
    It is common now for websites to incorporate third-party tools. Such tools may include CRM, eCommerce tools or marketing tools. It is important to check and confirm compatibility and functionality. Do this every time you make changes to your website to ensure that they still work properly. Remember that whenever there is a core update on your website, some of those tools may not automatically update their tools. This can cause compatibility and security problems on your website.
  • Social Sharing
    You may be using third-party tools to facilitate sharing your content to various social media platforms. You need to test each one of them. Click on it and make sure that it does share exactly the way you would like your visitors to do. If you are using feeds or other news sharing features, you need to test them as well. Don't assume that they will work.
  • Comply With Any Accessibility Guidelines
    Recognize that there are many within your target audiences who may have accessibility limitations. Depending on the nature of your business, you may also need to comply with accessibility required set by law. Take time to double check to ensure that you are fully complying with these regulations and that your features are working well.

Website SEO

The ultimate goal of launching a website is to reach your intended audience. This is called visibility. You will not simply want visibility. You want to be visible to those you are targeting. This is the work of SEO – both On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO.

SEO is not something that we do after we have completed the design of the new WordPress website. At OnMax Host Digital, we incorporate SEO at every stage of the design process. Our goal is to ensure that the new website achieves your goal and begins to work as soon as it is launched.

We will not provide a full list of all the things you need to do to optimize your new website. You can read more on our website. Here are a few points that you need to take into consideration:

OnMax Host Digital - Checklist For Launching A WordPress Website - SEO
  • Install SEO Plugin(s)
    WordPress comes out of the box with some SEO features integrated in it. There are also many WordPress Plugins available that you can use to help you configure your website further for SEO purposes. Many of them also offer training videos to help you do it yourself. We provide both training and reviews for many WordPress Resources, including WordPress Plugins. Here, we will just mention a couple that we believe are great: RankMath and Yoast.
  • Keywords
    Keywords help search engines understand what a web page is about. Keywords range from a single word to a complex phrase or "term". It is important to choose keywords that not only inform about your web page content but also match the words or terms (phrases) used by searchers in their queries online. Keywords are center to your organic traffic strategy. We provide Keyword Research services either as a single service offering or as part of our SEO Services Plans - both our Local SEO Plans and National SEO Plans
  • E-A-T Guidelines
    Your content must demonstrate Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. Such content will generate real engagements from real people and build a loyal community around your Brand. You will also be rewarded by search engines. The Quality of your content will determine your success on the web. Invest into creating and publishing / Distributing your content to the right places. Remember correct grammar and spelling are a part of quality requirements. Your content must also include both internal links, inbound links and outbound links. Learn more about Link Building.
  • Complete On-Page SEO
    Complete On-Page SEO to ensure that your website performs well from day one. Please note that On-Page Optimization is not a one time event. It is a process that you will continue to do on a daily basis. You can use WordPress plugins (RankMath and Yoast are a couple of example) to help you complete the process. Let us however point to some On-Page SEO factors that you must not forget below.
  • Headings, Titles & Meta Description
    Set your Site Title and Tagline under Settings > General tab in your WordPress Dashboard. Then create a descriptive summary of your content for every blog post and every page on your website. This is the summary that visitors will read whenever you share your blog post or web page on Social Media, for instance, or wherever you share your links. Include your focus keyword into your titles and meta descriptions to help with organic traffic. Your meta description must be compelling enough to make the reader to click on your link to find out more.
  • Connect Your Website To Search Engine Tools
    Search Analytics help you track your site’s performance and optimize where you spend your time and money. Site Kit by Google is a free plugin that helps you get insights about how people find and use your site, how to improve, and monetize your content, directly in your WordPress dashboard. Remember to check for "No-Index" across your website otherwise Google will not index your content.

Website Marketing

OnMax Host Digital Checklist for Launching A WordPress Website Marketing

Don’t wait until your website is completed before you start worrying about marketing. At the very moment I am writing these words, there were 84,463 Google Searches performed online per 1 second. That represented over 36 Million Google Searches in 5 minutes. There were 3 Million Email Messages exchanged online in 1 Second. At the end of 2019, there were about 4.7 Billion Active Internet Users.

Imagine that by 7 PM CST, there were over 5 Billion Google Searches conducted. As I am writing (Thursday July 23rd, 2020 at 7:18 PM CST), there were about a total of 1.8 Billion Websites on the Internet. Less than 200 Million of these websites were active today.

What do these numbers tell us? You can design and publish the best website and publish it on the Internet, that will not be enough to break through. You must have a Marketing Strategy, both online and offline, that will work for you. And you must plan your marketing strategy before your begin working on your website. You can learn more about our Digital Marketing Services for more information.

  • Social Media Marketing
    Connect your website to all your Social Media accounts/pages. Use Social Media buttons and optimize them to match your Brand and ensure that the links to your social media pages are working. Social Media offers a huge marketing opportunity to have your Brand in front of billions of people every day. Make sure that your Social Media audience is able to click and come to your website easily.
  • Email Marketing
    Include an Email Sign Up Form in all important places on your website. Make sure that you are connected to an Email Marketing Service before you do that. Then test to see that it works before you launch your website. You can also place your Email List Sign Up Form in other places outside of your website, such as on your Social Media Pages/Accounts. Your goal is to maximize every opportunity to get more people on your Email List. Then use your Email List to introduce your new website to your subscribers.
  • Networking
    Place your website on all your marketing assets, such as business cards, flyers, videos, etc. Get involved in networking and distribute your marketing materials containing your website. Encourage your contacts to visit your website. Include a link to your website on your email signatures also.
  • Search Engine Marketing
    The process of SEO done well increases the chances of your website attracting relevant and quality organic traffic to your website. Organic traffic represents over 70% of total traffic for most websites. By doing SEO right, you invest in the long term growth of your business.
  • Public Relations
    Public Relations are a huge opportunity to introduce your website and business to millions of people. Take advantage of Press Releases, for instance. Get involved in community activities. You can sponsor certain events in your community where you have a chance to hand out business cards, flyers, etc. with your website address on them.
  • Analytics
    At OnMax Host Digital, we give our SEO & Social Media clients access to our proprietary SEO and Social Media Dashboard. The dashboard provides them with daily performance updates.

Legal - Disclaimers - Privacy

This is one thing that most website owners do not pay attention to. But if you want to gain the trust of your website visitors and earn their business, you must display all the legal notices – both those that are mandatory by law and those that are not, but give your website visitors and customers certain assurances. Here are a few things that you definitely must have in place before launching your WordPress Website.

You may have to obtain qualified legal counsel to make sure your business is fully covered to avoid un-necessary liabilities and legal issues that could cripple your business later.

OnMax Host Digital - Checklist For Launching A WordPress Website - Legal
  • Terms And Conditions
    This is a must have on your website, especially if you are an eCommerce website that conducts money transaction on your site.
  • Copyright Notice
    Do not forget your copyright notice on your website. Update it regularly as needed.
  • Add A Cookie Warning
    It is true that a cookie warning can tamper with your design. But you must have one in place to avoid legal problems in the future. The In the European Union (EU), cookie warnings have become the law of the land.
  • Add your Privacy Policy
    If you are collecting personal and business data from your website visitors, it is good business practice to add a Privacy Policy reassuring your website visitors of how you handle their personal information. Become aware that this is now law in certain jurisdiction.
  • Secure required licenses
    Don't just go online and grab images without permission. Secure licenses for everything that you want to place on your website, such as plugins, images, etc. It is simply good business practice.
  • Display Company Details
    Displaying your company details proves that you are committed to transparency and will earn the trust of your website visitors. Include your tax information. Make sure to inquire about mandatory requirements on this in your jurisdiction.

Hosting, Backup & Website Security

OnMax Host Digital - Checklist for Launching A WordPress Website - Hosting

Hosting is what displays your website to the world. Take the time to research the right hosting service for your website. You need to consider several critical factors in your decision: infrastructure, server configuration, security, scalability, speed, power, support, etc.

OnMax Host Digital provides Web Hosting services to help you launch and deliver your website with unparalleled performance. The OnMax Host Digital WordPress Hosting has page loading speeds that are among the top 5 WordPress Hosting Companies in the industry. We offer a variety of plans that are flexible and can grow with your business. The Hosting Plans also come with Nightly Backup & 1-Click Restore, Website Security to protect your website from malware and hackers, and SSL Certificates to protect your customers private information from prying eyes. We also provide Award-Winning Technical Support available 24/7 to help you whenever you need assistance.

  • WordPress Hosting
    Choose a Hosting Plan that meets your needs. At OnMax Host Digital, we provide various web hosting plans, including WordPress Hosting, cPanel Hosting, Business Hosting, Windows Plesk Hosting, VPS Hosting and Dedicated Hosting.
  • Website Security
    The Internet is a wild web full of bad guys roaming and seeking a website to break into and cause havoc. Many of our Hosting Plans come with basic security pre-installed. We advise that you upgrade quickly to a plan that provides you with the security you need to protect your investment. See all our Website Security by Succuri Plans that meet your needs.
  • SSL Certificates
    Speak the language of security with an SSL certificate. The little green lock lets visitors know that you’ll keep their data safe. Learn more about our SSL Certificates.
  • Website Backup & 1-Click Restore
    Keep your data safe while you grow your business online. Automatic Backup & 1-Click Restore means you’re ready for anything that comes your way.
  • Update Your Admin Password
    Set up a strong password for your admin account. Then save it in a safe location. It is generally advised to change your password regularly. Avoid using your names or business names in your password.
  • Update Robot.txt
    Help search engines understand what pages to index and which ones to ignore. Update the file accordingly.
  • Create A Sitemap
    Build a sitemap for your new website and submit it to various search engines, such as Google, Bing, etc. A sitemap helps search engine crawlers to understand your website better.
  • Remove 'Discourage Search Engines'
    Go to Settings > Reading and remove the check mark where it says "Discourage search engines from indexing this site." This will allow search engines index your new website.

Checklist for Launching A WordPress Website Completed!

Good Job! We’re almost done. We’re moving to the next step soon. But it’s okay to just go over your work for anything that is not in place. You may enlist the help of a third party. Have someone with experience proofread your content, and give you an honest feedback on your work. Ask a colleague with knowledge who can address more than just the feel and look of things.

Get at least a couple of different feedback. Ask friends and family members to take a look and give you a quick feedback. They are not experts. They will tell you what the average visitors to your website will experience.

You must be receptive and open to criticism. The feedback may sound like criticism. Just listen. And make the necessary adjustments or changes.

OnMax Host Digital - Checklist For Launching A WordPress Website - Good Job

Launch Your WordPress Website!

OnMax Host Digital - Checklist For Launching A WordPress Website - Launch

Congratulations. Finally, you’ve made it!

You’ve worked for weeks and months to get here. Your new WordPress Website is now ready and you are now about to embark on the journey. This is the moment you have been waiting for. The next step is to promote your website. It is time to dominate your niche, your industry. And OnMax Host Digital is right here to help you Build A Better Brand Story For You!

Let’s go. We’ll help you build your Brand. We’ll connect you with real people, create real connections, build real relationships, generate real excitement, establish your Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness in your industry. The goal is to drive traffic to your website and convert them into sales.

Chat with our Digital Marketing Experts to discuss the best Digital Strategy for you.

  • Social Media
    It is time to saturate Social Media with announcements. Create a Group and start building your community. Let the conversation begin. Share new offers with special deals. Maybe a Grand Opening Discount. Build momentum.
  • Digital Ads
    Let OnMax Host Digital help you place ads and start generating traffic quickly and get sales right away.
  • Email Blast
    This is a good time to build your Email List. Use pop-ups on your website and collect email addresses.
  • Press Visibility
    Give interviews on the radio, podcasts, etc. Increase your visibility and get a word out. Talk about your new website and your vision. Create Brand Awareness.
  • Press Release
    Take advantage of the power of a Press Release. We can help you create one and also strategically distribute it.
  • Community Impact
    Get involved in community activities. Bring support to popular causes in your community. Create T-Shirts, hats, pens, totes, etc. Give Away Gifts that carry your Brand marks.
  • Launch Party
    What's the best way to organize a Launch Party and Celebrate while also social distancing? You can hold a virtual gathering.

Set your goals and run towards them

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