The Ultimate WordPress Website Pre-Launch Checklist for 2022

Are you about to launch a website using WordPress? 

It takes a lot of work to build and launch a WordPress website, whether for yourself or for clients. To make a successful website, many different elements must work together as a unit.

As there are so many things to remember, it is easy to forget a few of them.

If you want to increase the chances of a positive outcome, and ultimately, success, then creating a road map of all the steps involved before a website launches is a good idea. 

Our pre-launch checklist for WordPress websites is going to help you achieve exactly that.

Let’s get started!

Why It’s Important To Have a WordPress Launch Checklist?

Before you launch your website in WordPress, you need to check that all functions properly.

When people first visit your website, the last thing you want is for them to discover that it’s broken! This would be disastrous for your band and reputation.

What a horrible first impression!

If you are an agency or a freelancer and work with WordPress repeatedly, a checklist will make the process smoother for the next time.

When you create a website, a checklist allows you to offload some of the mental effort and frees up some mental capacity for creativity and decrease your amount of stress. 

After all, you will be the one to be blamed if the website launch fails. 

Making a pre launch checklist will boost your productivity and give you peace of mind (and we are all about productivity and peace of mind at WP Umbrella! ☂️ )

The Ultimate WordPress Pre-Launch Checklist

The ultimate WordPress websie pre-launch checklist

A checklist is somewhat personal and some items might not apply to you based on your specialization (SEO, marketing, development, etc).

I’ve tried to be exhaustive, so just pick what you like here to make your own WordPress checklist.

The important thing about pre-launch checklist is to have one, yours.

1.Set Up Automatic Backups

Every website should have, at least, one backup solution.

Think of backups as your website’s insurance. In the unlikely event that anything goes wrong, you will always have a backup to restore things.

Making daily backup is a good WordPress maintenance practice and it’s mandatory if you are charging your client for maintenance.

With WP Umbrella, you can get daily automatic backup stored on the cloud and accessible at any moment.

Automatic backup

You can also use a backup plugin but you might struggle to access it if your website is down, so it’s best to use a third solution party like the one above mentioned.

2. Install An Anti-Spam Solution (Askimet)

The number of spam comments can reach as high as 85% on popular WordPress websites. In other words, only 15 of every 100 comments are valid. You don’t want to waste your time with comment moderation and this could ruine your credibility and your client’s brand.

So make sure you have an anti-spam solution in place!

3. Test Forms and Survey

Nowadays, most websites have contact forms. In addition to contact forms, you may have subscription forms or lead generator forms.

Verify all your forms display and function correctly before launching your WordPress website. It’s not just about the design, you also need to make sure forms store the data correctly.

4. You Have a Custom 404 Page

Website visitors may stumble upon a typographical error or a missing page. These errors usually cause them to close the page. 

Installing a 404 page for your WordPress site before you launch it will help you engage your visitors and point them in the right direction. This attention might be particularly liked by your clients if you are an agency.

5. Check Loading Times and Browsers Compatibility

There is nothing worse than a slow website. Before launching your WordPress site, make sure it loads quickly. You can use a tool like Google Pagespeed Insights to see how quickly your site loads and what you can do to make it even faster.

You can also implement a real performance monitoring solution like WP Umbrella

performance monitoring
Monitoring your website performance with WP Umbrella

It is also a good idea to check how your site looks and works in different browsers. You can do this with BroswerStack Screenshot.

This free tool is amazing and will help you to make sure that your WordPress site is working-well on every browser and device.

6. Make Sure SSL Certificate is valid and Your WordPress Admin Secured

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, a global standard security technology that enables encrypted communication between a web browser and a web server. In 2022, it’s vital to have a SSL certificate. Hopefully most of web hosting providers offer one.

If you don’t have a SLL certificate, make sure to get one with Really Simple SSL plugin. It’s free.

Also make sure that your WordPress admin have sophisticated passwords. Give a look at Login Lockdown plugin if you want to harden the security of your admin area.

7. Plugins And Themes Are Up To Date.

In order to prevent any vulnerabilities, you must keep your WordPress version, themes, and plugins updated. An outdated version of any software can easily be exploited by hackers.

The good news is WordPress works hard to address any reported vulnerabilities. Therefore, the best thing you can do for your site’s security is to keep everything up to date.

Did you know that WP Umbrella has developed a safe update technology to make sure that plugins and themes updates don’t break your website? Well, now you do!

8. Set Default Date & Time

Don’t forget to update the time zone and date. You can do it in your WordPress admin >> Settings >> General.

9. Add a favicon to WordPress

You should always have a favicon. This makes your brand stronger. If you don’t have any, you can easily create one using Canva.

10. Delete Lorem Ipsum things

We have all been there. Check if you have correctly deleted all the lorem ipsum text on the website.

11. Set Title tag & tagline

In WordPress, the title and tagline welcome visitors to your website and succinctly sum up what it is about. Furthermore, they help your visitors enjoy their experience on your website and encourage them to interact with it. Make sure they are correct before going live!

12. Install And Configure a SEO plugin

Even though WordPress is already well configured for SEO, adding a SEO plugin like Yoast SEO or SEOPress will put it on a whole new level.

Make sure that all existing SEO tags and titles are optimized. and that the permalink structure is set properly.

If you are a freelancer or agency, implementing the right SEO plugin for your client should also help him rank correctly on his own!

13. Optimize your images

Images strongly impact loading times. Make sure your images are compressed. You can use Imagify or Smush to bulk optimize your images.

You also need to check if your images have proper alternative texts. This is important for both accessibility and SEO. If you have many empty alt texts, you can use a plugin like Image SEO Optimizer to fill them out automatically.

14. Optimize WordPress URL structures for Search Engines

it’s important for you to optimize your site’s permalink structure. Permalinks help search engines find your pages, scan them for relevant topics on the web, and index them. Check your structure before going live.

15. Create sitemaps and image sitemaps

Sitemaps help search engines find and crawl the most important pages of a website. Additionally, sitemaps simplify the process of understanding your website structure, allowing users to navigate your website more easily.

Google or another search engine should crawl every page of your website, right? 

16. Check analytic integrations

If you want to report data and track KPI, you must make sure that Google Analytic and Google Search consol are correctly plugged to your website.

17. Add breadcrumb

Don’t forget to add breadcrumbs. It facilitates the navigation and help search engines crawling your website. You can use Yoast to easily create breadcrumbs.

18. Replace broken links

You must check for broken links before going live. You can use Semrush or Ahref if you don’t know how to do this.

19. Test if RSS feeds are working properly

If you have RSS feeds on your site, check if they are not broken.

20. Change database table names.

Update the default wp_table names with a combinaison of your own, or use the DB Prefix plugin.

21. Update WordPress credentials and review users permissions.

Make sure your WordPress admin is not accessible to anybody. Review users permission and harden your WordPress credentials. You should also check the email admin.

22. Delete the sample wp-config.php file

This is something that you can easily forget. Make sure to remove this file once the installation is completed.

23. Check that debugging constants are on false

Make sure that WP_DEBUG, WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY et WP_DEBUG_LOG are set on FALSE within your wp-config.php file.

define( 'WP_DEBUG', false );
define( 'WP_DEBUG_LOG', false );
define( 'WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY', false );

24. Disable Theme and Plugin editor

If you worry about your client ability to correctly manage its site, it’s maybe best to disable the theme and plugin editor. Better safe than sorry!

Add this code in your wp-config.php file:

Define('DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT';true);

25. Hide your WordPress version

It’s always best to hide your current WordPress version to protect yourself from hackers. Add this code to your function.php file:

function remove_version() {return ";}
add_filter('the_generator','remove_version');

Conclusion 

The launch of a new website can be stressful. 

This checklist is constantly evolving and we hope this will help you launch your WordPress website without any major glitch. 

You can drastically reduce errors by using this WordPress website launch checklist. 

Finally, I recommend you to make a must-have plugins list with the 5-6 plugins you install on every website. Here is mine

And since most of theme are premium plugins, make sure to renew your licences before they expire!