Launching a website is one of the most exciting moments for anyone. Good web agency must have a checklist of things to do before they launch your site, This article is for the site owners, as a handy guide for launching a website. Suggestions given are applicable to any website in general, specific plugins are suggested for WordPress sites.
1. Secure Your Site
- Good hosting is first step towards secured site. Our web hosting guide is ideal spot for further reading.
- WordPress have many security plugins, we recommend WP-Cerber, to effectively handles malicious login attempts, spam comments and other aspects.
- Good backup solution is another aspect of website security. We have already covered Website Backup Strategy
- Periodic third party malware scanning is recommended practice. It is better to get is scanned before launching a site as well. Sucuri SiteCheck is a trusted place for malware scanning your website
2. Add SSL & configure Cache
Having SSL (HTTPS://) is recommended practice now a days. Google Chrome explicitly shows Not Secured warning, if your website is not HTTPS. SSL certificates could be of two types. High quality certificates need to be purchased for specific duration, and there will be cost associated with it. Free SSL certificates are available but for limited validity period, which requires frequent renewal. Setting up SSL certificate and serving all resources over HTTPS is absolutely necessary. Sometimes website enter into redirect loop in case of any issues in configuring the SSL. Really Simple SSL plugin helps in handling this task easily.
Cache helps in making website faster, by converting databse queries results into HTML files for quick delivery. There are multiple cache plugins available and webserver as well as runtime environment affects a lot in making a cache choice. W3TC & LS Cache (for Open/litespeed server) are recommended plugins for cache handling with WordPress
3. Check all pages
Manually visit all pages of the site and make sure it is working and loading as expected. Sometimes adding SSL breaks images and embedded objects functionality. That needs to confirmed. Also check all pages on mobile and tablet as well for any possible last minute issues. This will also confirm the cache functionality and its effective working.
4. Add Google Analytics code & SEO plugin
Once website is live, it will be necessary to know the visitor count, visitor behavior and demographics to be tracked. Google Analytics is the free facility with rich reporting tools. Adding Google analytics is easy, one requires a Gmail or Gsuite account to signup and register a site. These insights can help in building effective funnels, A/B testing and better conversion. for WordPress sites MonsterInsight plugin is well recommended for Google Analytics integration.
SEO plugins like YOAST makes it easy to add on-page SEO facilities and integrate it with CDN, Cache & AMP like facilities.
5. Register the site at Google Webmaster
Google Webmaster is one stop location for tracking search performance of a site, and letting google know about your site and indexing it properly. It is a recommended practice to register the site at webmaster console and verify ownership for the same. This helps in getting your site indexed on priority. Also in case of any trouble with the site, like malware infection or hacking/defacing of site, it let you know the owner on priority, helps in containing the damage.
Once these things are done, you can easily launch your site, monitor the reach and make promotions & decisions accordingly.