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25 Steps Before Launching Your WordPress Website


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There's a lot to do before making your site available to your live audience. Have you installed caching? Do your contact forms work properly? The list goes on! I've compiled a checklist of steps that you should undertake before launching any of your WordPress websites.

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25 Steps Before Launching Your WordPress Website

  1. 1. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns#WPMELB 25 Steps Before
 Launching Your Website
  2. 2. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 01 Configure your General Settings On the Settings > General page Update Site Title
 Update Tagline (or remove if not needed)
 Ensure (admin) Email Address is correct
 Set Site Language (if needed)
 Set Timezone
 Set Date Format
 Set Time Format

  3. 3. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 02 Install SSL Certificate Ensure your site is running on HTTPS. Most major browsers now show a warning or
 “not secure” message when accessing non-https site. Most respectable website hosts provide SSL certs for free.
 e.g. Let’s Encrypt SSL/HTTPS is even more important for eCommerce sites
  4. 4. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 02 Install SSL Certificate HTTPS is a factor in Google rankings. John Mueller - Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google
  5. 5. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 03 Rename Default Posts Category The default Category for Posts is ‘Uncategorized’.
 Rename this to ‘News’ or something similar. You can do this on the Posts > Categories page
  6. 6. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 04 Remove Default Content Some themes provide you with default content
 to help you setup your site. Ensure you remove any default content before going live.
  7. 7. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 05 Configure Permalinks Permalinks (Settings > Permalinks) are your site URL format It’s a good idea to decide on a Permalink structure
 before going live.
  8. 8. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 06 Setup Redirects If you’re replacing an existing site or moving domains,
 ensure you setup redirects for all changed URL’s. Setting up Redirects is good SEO practice. Redirects will ensure Search Engines and visitors can find
 your content when the URL has changed. A popular, free, and easy to use Redirection plugin is:
 Redirection -
  9. 9. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 07 Optimise your Images You should always optimise/compress your images before uploading to your site. Online Optimisation tools: (jpg) (png) (jpg & png) Plugin to compress existing (uploaded) images:
 EWWW Image Optimizer -
  10. 10. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 08 Install Caching To increase the speed of your site, use a Caching plugin Free:
 WP Super Cache -
 W3 Total Cache -
 Swift Performance Lite - Paid:
 WP Rocket -
  11. 11. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 09 Minimise & Concatenate your CSS & JS To increase site speed and reduce HTTP requests, minimise and concatenate your CSS & JavaScript files. Minimising files removes excess white space, comments and empty lines. Concatenating files, joins multiple files into one. Most caching plugins can do this for you and usually,
 it just needs to be turned on in their settings.
 If your caching plugin doesn’t, try:
 Autoptimize -
 WP Super Minify -

  12. 12. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 10 Add A Contact Form It’s always important that your site visitors can get in touch,
 so make sure you add a contact form to your site. The easiest way to do so is by using a plugin: Free:
 Ninja Forms -
 Contact Form 7 - Paid:
 Gravity Forms -
  13. 13. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 11 Check for Broken Links No-one likes going to a website and then finding that the
 link you want, doesn’t actually work. Google hates that too! While it might seem easy to install a ‘Broken Link Checker’ plugin,
 these can quite often max out your server CPU & RAM. Use an external service such as:
 Broken Link Checker -
 Dead Link Checker -
  14. 14. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 12 Install the Classic Editor plugin With the new Block Editor (Gutenberg) only months old,
 a lot of people would still prefer to use the Classic Editor (also known as the TinyMCE or Visual Editor). If you prefer to stick with the Classic Editor, install the
 Classic Editor plugin. Classic Editor - If you’re happy using the new Block Editor, then that’s ok too.
  15. 15. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 13 Install Yoast SEO Yoast SEO is by far the most popular SEO plugin out there. WordPress is great for SEO straight-out-of-the-box, but Yoast SEO makes it even better and will help improve your search engine results, when setup (& used) properly. Yoast SEO - If you really don’t want to use Yoast though, try:
 All in One SEO Pack -
  16. 16. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 14 Create a Sitemap A Sitemap is a file that provides information about your site such as pages and files, and the relationship between them. Search Engines like Google read your Sitemap to more intelligently crawl your site. If you’re using an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO or All in One SEO, you can configure them to create your Sitemap for you. Make sure you view your Sitemap as well, to ensure it was generated properly.
  17. 17. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 15 Setup Google Analytics To get a deeper understanding of your customers or site visitors, signup for a free Google Analytics account. After you’ve signed up, you’ll need to add your GA code to your website. There’s lots of Google Analytics plugins available. Some better than others, and some horrible ones with an overabundance of annoying ads! For a lightweight, and super-easy plugin, use:
 GA Google Analytics -
  18. 18. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 16 Setup Security Plugin To help strengthen the security of your site, setup a security plugin. Security plugins can help strengthen passwords, block and/or lockout suspect IP’s, prevent brute force intrusions, detect file changes, scan for malware and help with a host of other issues that can cause a site harm. Free:
 Wordfence -
 iThemes Security - Paid:
 iThemes Security Pro -
  19. 19. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 17 Setup Spam Plugin If you have a Blog on your site where you allow comments, it’s only a matter of time before it attracts spam comments. Install a spam plugin to help catch & reduce spam comments. Free:
 Antispam Bee -
 Spam Destroyer - Paid:
 Akismet - (free for personal sites)
  20. 20. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 18 Setup Backup Plugin Just like backing up your home computer, it’s vitally important to backup your website. A good backup plugin should allow you to schedule regular backups. You should also perform regular checks that you can also restore from your backup files. Free:
 UpdraftPlus -
 BackWPup - Paid:
 BackupBuddy -
 VaultPress -
  21. 21. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 19 eCommerce & Membership sites If your site has eCommerce or Membership functionality: It’s important your site has an SSL Cert and is configured to use HTTPS, especially if taking payments on your site. Make sure your Cart & Checkout pages are Working. Ensure shipping charges are calculating correctly. Ensure your Payment Gateway is setup and working properly. Ensure Products and/or subscriptions are loaded and displaying correctly.
  22. 22. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 20 eCommerce & Membership sites Make sure your signup & login process is working. This applies to free membership sites as well as paid membership sites. Pro tip: If your eCommerce/Membership plugin generates usernames based on the customer email address (e.g. WooCommerce), create a dummy ‘admin’ user and assign it the lowest role (or no role). This will ensure a customer email address like ‘' doesn’t automatically generate an ‘admin’ username.
  23. 23. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 21 eCommerce & Membership sites Always test the complete purchase/checkout process using your LIVE payment gateway. If using a Payment Gateway like Stripe, this means using your LIVE credit card. If using PayPal you may need to get a friend to make a test purchase for you as you can’t make a PayPal payment using your own PayPal account.
  24. 24. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 22 Strong Passwords It should go without saying that ALL account passwords should be strong! If you’re creating passwords for other users or clients, ensure those passwords are strong. Longer passwords are better. Aim for 10-15+ characters in length. 30 or 60 is even better.
  25. 25. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 22 Strong Passwords
  26. 26. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 23 Perform Complete Site Test Test everything!
 - Test all forms submit & form emails are sent
 - Ensure navigation menu works properly
 - Test your page links
 - Test button links
 - Test email links and ensure they are obfuscated
 Simple Mail Address Encoder
 - Check content for spelling mistakes & grammatical errors
 - Test blog comments work
  27. 27. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 24 Check Responsiveness It’s more important now than ever that your site is mobile friendly so make sure your site is responsive. Check your site on a mobile device & a tablet device, and if possible, even check multiple device types. Mobile traffic is responsible for 52.2 percent of Internet traffic in 2018 57% of consumers said: A business with a poorly designed mobile website is not likely to be recommended
  28. 28. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB 25 Update Everything Ensure all your Plugins and Themes are up-to-date. Ensure WordPress is up to date. Using outdated Plugins, Themes and even WordPress core files, can leave your site vulnerable.
  29. 29. anthonyhortin @maddisondesigns #WPMELB GO!
  30. 30. I’m Anthony Hortin You can find me here @maddisondesigns @easywpguide Thanks! Questions?