I believe that every user should be acquainted with the decisive factors influencing a WordPress website’s success or loss. Therefore, I have listed all those checkpoints here to ensure that you consider them before launching your WordPress website.
Nobody wants to spend excessive funds, time, and energy on their website, only to have their website flop out of lack of attention to the prerequisites. Here’s what you need to know.
Table of Contents
The WordPress website checklist ranges from picking up the right theme to installing the essential plugins for seamless performance.
This section covers the 12 most crucial points that you can’t afford to ignore before launching your website on WordPress.
Choose Reliable Hosting
Hosting is the backbone of every WordPress website. A powerful hosting plan from a credible hosting company sets you in the right direction and safeguards you from many vulnerabilities. If you fail to opt for the right hosting, you may end up compromising your leads and sales.
With a plethora of hosting platforms online, Cloudways differentiates itself with its focus on the crucial hosting factors, i.e., speed, security, and user-friendliness. Thanks to its managed WordPress hosting, easy customization, and affordable plans, it has won the trust of over 250,000 active users as an optimum solution for maximizing the ease of use and intuitiveness. The minimum plan price is $12/month.
- One-click deployment.
- Customized control panel.
- A 3-day free trial with no credit card requirements.
- Free website migration.
- Easy monitoring and scalability.
- Managed security.
- No email hosting.
- No domain registration.
Ensure that your hosting server supports WordPress; the best practice is to opt for a managed WordPress hosting plan. My personal recommendation is to use Cloudways – a managed WordPress Hosting for a reliable and smooth hosting experience and 24/7 instant support.
Choose a hosting provider that ensures advanced security levels to safeguard your website from threats and intruders. Nothing is more annoying than a hosting plan that offers speeds at a snail’s pace, so always opt for speedy and reliable website hosting plans.
Use Content Delivery Network
A Content Delivery Network or CDN serves cached static content from nearby servers (based on your location), resulting in increased and improved speeds.
By using a CDN, you can enjoy fast page-loading speeds and low response time, which are essential to rank high in the SERPs. Ultimately, this produces more leads and sales.
Cloudflare, Microsoft Azure CDN, and StackPath are the names counted among the key CDN providers in the market today.
Choose an SEO-Friendly Theme
A theme defines the mood of your website and should complement your content. Themes aren’t just limited to giving a polished look to your site but are also crucial in terms of SEO.
Certain themes offer SEO benefits like clutter-free code, fast loading speeds, and limited CSS to ensure a smooth and trouble-free user experience on your website.
Always opt for a theme that provides SEO benefits, as this is one metric that many people ignore while choosing a theme, but its benefits speak for its importance. An SEO-friendly theme increases the responsiveness of your site. Faster speeds and responsiveness ultimately signal Google to rank your page higher in the search results.
Different SEO-friendly themes, including Divi, SEO Crawler, Astra, and Schema are available on the internet, helping the users attain their desired website look and tone coupled with the SEO benefits.
Don’t go for the themes that complicate your site; instead, always go with simplicity. Remember that your goal is to drive your customers to the relevant content without confusing them with extra elements.
Install a Cache Plugin
I have been mentioning speed throughout the blog, but the frequency is justified considering its numerous benefits. Another way to enhance your WordPress website speed and performance is through caching.
Caching stores recurring requested information in the temporary memory, and presents the data when it is requested again faster. WordPress websites incorporate this idea to decrease page loading times and for better overall performance.
Before launching a WordPress website, ensure that you have installed a cache plugin that lets you easily cache your website and helps with lazy loading images, modification, and more.
WordPress Cache Plugins like Breeze, WP Rocket, and WP Super Cache are a tremendous help for beginners and non-tech-savvy users. Their crawler builds up cache by fetching the pages automatically and provides one-click solutions.
Install an SEO Plugin
SEO is the core of every website’s success on the search engines, and anyone trying to mark their presence in the online world should pay attention to their SEO measures. SEO is a very technical process and requires in-depth knowledge to devise the proper techniques.
Fortunately, WordPress SEO plugins help the users to optimize their pages and brighten the chances of ranking on the search engines. It is advised to install a user-friendly SEO plugin prior to your WordPress website’s launch.
An SEO plugin like Yoast SEO can help you with on-page SEO optimization. It will help you with the XML sitemaps and assist with the overall content optimization, including the meta title and meta description optimization that are crucial factors for website traffic and CTR.
Install Security Plugin
Security is one element that should never be compromised. The more precious your data, the more robust security it deserves.
Although WordPress offers some security measures by default, a security plugin can put extra layers of security with services like blacklist monitoring, file scanning, firewalls, and malware scanning.
Ensuring the complete security of your website before its launch relieves you from the troubles that may arise in the absence of security plugins. WordPress plugins like Sucuri Security, Wordfence, and iThemes Security are the trusted options for newbies and even the experts. Their vast offering of security options makes them a safe choice.
Set up WordPress Backups
Imagine making a website and then losing all your important data. Sounds scary, right? Taking measures for website security is crucial as you can’t afford to compromise your website security. Creating backups of your site saves you from losing your data in case of disaster.
Before choosing a backup plugin, ensure that it allows you to automatically schedule your backups and save them to the cloud. Some backup plugins also facilitate their users with the restoration and migration of their websites. Pick the backup plugin according to your needs for your WordPress website before its launch.
WordPress has many free and paid backup plugins that users may opt for their data security. Plugins like BackupBuddy and UpdraftPlus are some of the well-known names that are used by millions of websites. These plugins create a complete backup of your website and store it into the cloud and let you download the data as well.
Secure WordPress Admin Area
The WordPress admin area is the core section of your website and holds the rights to access, modify, and replace your data. What if it gets in the hands of a hacker? The thought alone is petrifying enough to push anyone to take measures for their admin area’s security.
Luckily, various techniques protect your admin area, and every WordPress user should know them. Before launching your WordPress website, one should shield their admin area by changing the default “admin” username and selecting a strong password.
Other measures include protecting the wp-admin folder with an unguessable password and creating a custom login URL using a WordPress plugin like WPS hide login.
Moreover, WordPress firewall plugins like Sucuri puts an additional layer of security by offering a cloud-based WAF for your website protection, which blocks suspicious traffic and prevents phishing and malware.
Some users believe in limiting login attempts via plugins like Wordfence Security so that users trying to guess passwords can be stopped by limiting their login attempts. All these measures play an important part in securing your admin area and must be implemented before launching your website.
Optimize WordPress Media Files
Media files break down huge chunks of content into a presentable form that increases user engagement and improves your site’s user-friendliness. They are a necessity for all top-notch performing blogs and help increase user engagement. However, they can become a burden on your page and make your site slower if not optimized well.
Typically, huge-sized images play an important part in slowing your site down, but they are too important to be excluded from the blog posts. Hence, the solution lies in their optimization.
WordPress offers plugins like EWWW Image Optimizer and Smush that help you compress and resize your images efficiently without compromising much on their quality. WordPress plugins for media optimization let the user compress and optimize multiple media files in a single click.
Having the tools and techniques ready for media file optimization is important before launching a WordPress website, as you can not afford to compromise on your site’s speed and performance.
Integrate Google Analytics
Most users that start a new blog go after maximum traffic that translates into more leads. Traffic generation requires a study of the stats to devise content and marketing strategies. Google Analytics is that tool that shows the important stats to the user to make data-driven decisions.
Google Analytics shows your audience’s geographical location, along with the important information, including the device they used to access your website.
The success of a website owner relies upon knowing their audiences. Google Analytics data helps you understand your audience, and thus optimize your website to suit your audience’s requirements.
Moreover, prior to your website’s launch, it is advised to verify the website with Google Search Console and add your site’s XML sitemap to it.
Set Categories for Blog Posts
Imagine walking into a room and finding a clutter of stuff; would you like to stay in that mess? Conversely, imagine going to a similar place and finding neat and categorized stuff. Does it make a difference? Apply the same analogy to your website – you don’t want to welcome your users to a mess.
Visitors like sorted content so that they may go through your website and read the content that is relevant to them. Uncategorized blogs will only confuse them and may result in a higher bounce rate. Increased bounce rates are evil, and following the practices that reduce them carve your way to success.
It is an SEO-friendly practice to categorize your blogs. Otherwise, they will fall in the well of the “uncategorized” category. Understand your goals, and create categories that reflect the main parts of your blog. Assign the blogs to the right category as per the intent. The best practice is to devise a category plan before going live.
Set up a Contact Form
All businesses strive for their customer’s attention, as they can’t afford to lose connection with them. Contact forms are an incredible means of maintaining that contact as it lets your audience contact you, and suggest changes.
Although WordPress does not offer a built-in contact form, it provides plugins like WPForms that help you create contact forms easily without dealing with a single line of code. The best practice is to always test the forms on your WordPress website before launching it.
After reading this blog, you will be acquainted with all the essential pointers you need to check and verify before launching your WordPress website. Once you have verified and implemented the checklist mentioned above, your WordPress website is good to go live.