WordPress Website Launch Checklist

WordPress Website Development Checklist | Checklist for Building a Website with WordPress

Launching a website successfully is critical for any business. Building a website with WordPress can be tricky. Our WordPress website development checklist helps you avoid basic pitfalls and launch your website successfully. This checklist helps in keeping the launch process organized and free of errors. We have compiled a list of common mistakes that we learned over the years.  This checklist helps you avoid these mistakes.

A perfect checklist with 45+ critical checkpoints for the successful development and launch of a WordPress website. A step-by-step guide to help you build and launch your WordPress website successfully.

WordPress Website Pre-Launch Checklist [2021 Updated] - Detailed Explanation

Domain and Hosting Checkpoints

1. Set Primary Domain/URL (www or non-www)

set primary domain wordpress screenshot

You can choose between a www or a non-www domain and URL for your website.

To do this, go to Settings >> General from your WordPress admin dashboard and change the WordPress Address (URL) & Site Address (URL) to your preferred www or non-www version.

2. SSL Encryption Certificate

get free SSL certificate for WordPress website

Get a free SSL certificate here and install it through your Cpanel hosting account. SSL encryption will provide your website a  significant SEO advantage over non-SSL websites.

3. HTTPS Redirect

setup forced https redirect on wordpress website

After installing an SSL certificate in your Cpanel, you'll also have to add an HTTPS redirect on your website to redirect all the website traffic that is visiting the HTTP URLs of your website to the new more secure HTTPS URLs.

You can do this with the Really Simple SSL plugin.

Website Design and Development Checkpoints

4. Mobile-friendly (responsive)

check mobile friendly website design on chrome browser developer tools

Make sure your website design is responsive. Nowadays most WordPress themes have a responsive layout by default. But it's recommended to check the design and layout on multiple devices and make sure that your website UX remains good through all devices.

If you don't have access to a mobile or a tablet to check the responsiveness of your website, you can also check it through a page builder like Elementor or entering chrome developer mode by pressing the F12 key in your Chrome browser.

5. Comments Section 

enable or disable comments settings on a wordpress admin dashboard

You can enable or disable comments on your WordPress website. If you blog on your website it's recommended to keep the comments section enabled.

WordPress provides an option for commenters to add their website while commenting. This website URL feature in comments attracts a lot of spammers and spambots looking to build backlinks. You can disable the website URL field by following this guide.

8. Contact forms functionality test

wordpress forms email notification setup

Contact forms sometimes don't function properly and should be tested thoroughly before launching your website. The most common issue is that the website fails to send an email notification to the admin as well as the person who submitted the contact form.

To resolve the email notifications issue on your website, install, and set up the WP Mail SMTP plugin.

9. Caching & HTML, CSS, JS minification

wordpress caching plugins w3 total cache

The newly build WordPress website tent to be slow. Install and set up an optimization plugin like W3 Total Cache, Autoptimize, or WP Rocket to cache and minify HTML, CSS & JS to boost your website's loading speed.

website cross browser and cross device compatibility test

10. Cross-browser compatibility

Most well-built themes and compatible with all popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari & Edge. But it's still recommended to test your website in multiple browsers to make sure there are no UI & UX issues.

11. Multi-device compatibility

As mentioned in the last checkpoint, most themes and page builders provide optimum experience in the most popular screen sizes. But it's still recommended to test your website in multiple devices to make sure there are no UI & UX issues.

To make sure your website is cross-browser and multi-device compatible, it's recommended to use a theme and page builder that is regularly updated and is known to be the most reliable in the WordPress community. I personally prefer Astra Theme & Elementor Page Builder as they are very, very reliable.

You can use chrome developer tools by pressing the F12 key in the chrome browser to check the website on multiple devices.

Website Must Have Checkpoints

12. Security (Firewall & Bruteforce Protection)

website security and brute force protection plugin installation wordfence

Like all great things, WordPress also has its flaws and the Security issue is one of these flaws. To make sure your website is safe and protected from hackers, you should install a security plugin on your website before launching it. One of the best free security, firewall & brute force protection plugins is Wordfence.

13. Spam protection

spam protection plugin for wordpress

As discussed earlier in this post, spam is a major issue when it comes to blogging websites. You can protect your website from spam through plugins like Akismet & Jetpack.

16. Image compressor

wordpress images compressor and optimizer plugin smush installation

Adding an image compressor plugin on your website will reduce the size of images and helps in improving your website's loading time. Image optimization is also a major SEO contributor.

17. Admin email address

wordpress dashboard admin email change in general settings screenshot

Make sure the right email address is added as an admin email in WordPress. Sometimes the default hosting email account is added as the admin email. You can check and update your admin email by logging in to your WordPress admin account and go to Settings >> General - Administration Email Address.

Basic SEO Checkpoints

18. Sitemap

rankmath seo plugin installation screenshot

Add an XML sitemap on your website to make sure the web-crawlers of search engines like Google & Bing are able to access all of the pages, posts, images, etc on your website.

You can a site map by installing 7 setting up the Yoast SEO plugin.

20. Webmaster Tools (Google and Bing)

google webmasters tools search console example screenshot

Create a webmaster account for your website and verify the ownership of your website.

You can create Google Search Central Account here and Bing Webmaster account here.

This helps in expediting the appearance of your website in search results on Google & Bing. You'll also have full access to important search data like keywords, backlinks, etc.

21. Basic Image SEO optimizations

wordpress image alt text and seo optimizations settings screenshot

Add title, description, alt text, and captions to the images used on your website. Alt text to ALt text helps search engine bots to understand the context of the images on your website.

22. Allow search indexing

wordpress search indexing settings from admin dashboard screenshot

This helps to make sure your website is accessible to search engines like Google and Bing.

Go to Settings >> Reading and check if  "Discourage search engines from indexing this site" is checked. If yes, uncheck it to allow search engines to read your website.

24. 404 redirect page

example 404 redirection page design sample

Check if the broken links (if any) are being successfully redirected to a 404 page.

Analytics Checkpoints

25. Google analytics integration

google analytics dashboard example screenshot sample

Create your google analytics account and integrate it with your website. This can be done easily using the Google Site Kit plugin.

26. Google tag manager setup

google tag manager dashboard example screenshot sample

If you'd like to get advanced analytics from your website, create your Google tag manager account and set up tracking tags on your website.

Social Media Integration Checkpoints

27. Create Social Media Profiles

popular social media platforms logos

Create a business profile, page, etc on all (if applicable) major social media platforms. Make sure to add your website's link on all social media pages. This not only helps in making your website accessible through social media but also contributes to SEO.

      • LinkedIn page
      • Facebook page
      • Twitter page
      • Google plus page
      • Instagram (optional)
      • Pinterest (optional)

29. Social sharing buttons

add social sharing buttons using jetpack plugin

Add social sharing buttons on your website. this helps your website visitors in sharing your website or blogs conveniently on different social media platforms.

You can use the app Jetpack or Grow plugin.

30. Featured social share images

add featured image for social sharing to wordpress blog post or page

Make sure you have added featured images on all pages and posts. This featured image appears on all the share posts on social media platforms.

31. Facebook pixel installation

add facebook remarketing pixel to wordpress using a plugin

This is only required if you are running ads on Facebook or Instagram. Facebook tracking pixel helps in tracking your marketing campaign's performance on your website.

Important Web Pages Checkpoints

32. Legal or Terms and Conditions or Terms Of Service page

33. Privacy Policy page

34. About us page

35. Contact us page

Business Email Checkpoints

36. Email (ESP) Setup

  • Domain verification
  • DNS setup
  • SPF setup & verification
  • DKIM setup & verification

37. Email automation

  • Subscription confirmation email
  • Welcome email
  • Audience warm-up 5-7 mails sequence

Other Important Checkpoints

38. Grammar and spelling checkup. (SEO advantage)

39. Full proofreading (SEO advantage)

40. Time zone settings

41. Remove unwanted plugins, apps, widgets, images, etc.

42. Remove unwanted pages, posts, etc

43. Automate regular website backup (very important)

44. Uptime monitoring

Conclusion

Once done, I am sure you’ll be proud to launch a website that has almost everything to call it Complete.

I am sure many of you will agree on the checklist I just shared. Do you have a checklist of your own? Please feel free to share it in the comments below.

And yes, keep coming back for more… As we’ll keep updating this post as and when we come across an important factor. 🙂

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