Learning how to launch a WordPress site isn’t as complicated as you might think. However, the process does involve several key steps. If you skip over anything important, that just means you’ll have more work to do down the line.
To keep that from happening, we recommend that you follow a website pre-launch checklist. That way, you’ll make sure to cover everything needed to set your WordPress website up for success from the very start.
In this guide, we’re going to share our own checklist for a successful website launch. Let’s get right to it!
Step 1: Choose a Web Host
One of the most important decisions you’ll make for your website is where to host it. Since you’re using WordPress, you’ll want a hosting provider that understands the platform.
There are hundreds of web hosts to choose from. The best way to make a decision is to focus on these factors:
- What plans they offer and their prices. Ideally, you want a web host that offers multiple plans, so you have upgrade options.
- Performance and security. The best web hosts are well-optimized in both of these areas.
- Excellent support service. If you run into an issue with your website, access to a quality support service is invaluable.
What matters most is to sign up with a provider that meets all of your needs. Ideally, they’ll also set up WordPress for you. If they don’t, however, the installation process is quite simple.
Step 2: Choose a WordPress Backup Solution
The most important thing you can do to protect your WordPress website is to set up a backup solution. Having access to recent backups can help you in a lot of situations, such as when:
- You’re dealing with a malware issue
- You set up a new plugin or theme that ‘broke’ part of your website
- You ran into a WordPress error that you’re not sure how to troubleshoot
There are usually ways to fix these issues manually. However, if you have a recent backup for your website, you can simply revert to it.
The key is to find a tool that enables you to automate the backup process. Ideally, your hosting provider will provide built-in WordPress backup solutions (like we do!). However, if yours doesn’t, you can always install a backup plugin.
Step 3: Secure Your WordPress Admin
Many WordPress security breaches are the result of poor security practices. With that in mind, it’s important that you take steps to protect your WordPress dashboard, such as:
Between these two techniques, you’ll stop most attacks cold. For added security, you’ll also want to use a unique password that’s hard to guess, and ensure all your site’s users do the same.
Step 4: Check All Forms on Your Site
Forms are one of the most important elements on most websites. Here are some of the ways you can use them to your advantage:
- Contact forms enable you to establish lines of communication with your visitors.
- Sign-up forms enable you to collect email addresses that you can target using campaigns.
- You can use forms on your site to collect user feedback.
The problem is that a lot of people don’t take the time to ensure that their forms are working as intended. That means you might be getting submissions that never make it to your inbox or your email marketing platform.
Step 5: Check All Images and Other Forms of Content
Text, images, and videos make up the majority of most websites. With images in particular, it’s important that you check to make sure they’re not slowing down your website.
The more high-quality an image is, the more it ‘weighs’. That often leads to a slowdown in loading times, especially if your pages include too many media files. The solution, is to make sure you compress (or optimize) images before or during the upload process.
Another smart way to use images is by using slider plugins. These tools enable you to add multiple images to dynamic slides, with barely a hit to the page’s speed.
Step 6: Test Site Performance
Speaking of website performance, it’s important that you learn how to check yours. If you don’t keep an eye on how fast your website is loading, you may run into a number of issues, including:
- A higher bounce rate directly related to loading times
- Ill-formatted content, due to problems during the loading stage
- Non-responsive pages
- 404 or 300 errors
Any of these issues is enough to annoy and scare away visitors, so you’ll need to be proactive when it comes to checking your site’s performance.
To help you do that, we offer a tool that enables you to test your website’s loading times for free, called the WordPress Speed Test. All you have to do is enter the URL you want to test:
As a rule of thumb, you’ll want your pages to load in under two seconds, but lower numbers are always better.
Step 7: Implement an Analytics Platform
Last but not least, you’ll need a tool you can use to measure your site’s statistics over time. By that, we mean how much traffic you’re getting, what pages people are visiting, what keywords got them there, and more.
To get access to that data, you’ll need to choose an analytics platform and integrate it with WordPress. When it comes to analytics platforms, you have several choices. Two of our favorites, however, are Adobe Analytics and Google Analytics. The latter in particular is an excellent option, since it’s free and you can easily integrate it with WordPress.
Successfully Launching Your WordPress Site With WP Engine
Once you’ve completed the above pre-launch process, all that’s left is to get your website off the ground! Since you’ve taken care of many vital steps beforehand, this shouldn’t be a difficult task.
For more information on how to launch your WordPress site successfully, you can check out our full guide on the subject. It covers how to move your domain to WordPress, update Domain Name Server (DNS) settings, install a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, and much more.
Download the WordPress Pre-Launch Checklist
In this guide, we’ve covered the basics required for a successful WordPress website launch. To learn even more, we recommend that you check out our ultimate WordPress website launch checklist, which covers information about content, design, functionality, and even Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Armed with that information, you’ll be prepared for a successful launch that will set the stage for your site’s growth. Of course, to run a successful WordPress website, you’ll also need robust hosting, which is something we can help you with too!