You finally get to see your website come alive. It’s now done – completed and ready for the “Coming Soon” curtain to come down and let the rest of the world see your new website. Hooray! It’s a glorious moment when you tell me that you love your website and that’s it’s ready to go. But … there’s a few more things that need to be addressed behind-the-scenes.
As soon as you tell me that your site is ready to go live, I go through a comprehensive check list to make sure that your site is more than just beautiful. It’s a checklist to make sure your site is optimized, safe and perfect.
It’s important to note that this list continues to evolve as I learn new things from articles I read or podcasts I listen to. If you’ve already had a website created by me, some of the steps in this checklist may not have been applied at the time we completed your website. If you have any questions about any of these and how they relate to YOUR website, please let me know.
Here’s my checklist – as of May 2021 – and a brief explanation of each one:
Remove Hello World post
This is a default post that’s automatically created when you have a WordPress site. There’s no need to have it and just generates unwanted comments and spam on your site. I make sure it’s gone.
Remove Sample Page & other draft pages
WordPress automatically creates a Sample page for your site. It’s unnecessary. If left, it can also show up in Google search results and that’s something that you don’t need others to see when it serves no purpose. I make sure that it’s gone before the site is live.
Deactivate and remove unused plugins
There are some plugins that I use to create your site that are no longer needed when the site is live. I remove all the unnecessary plugins to make your site load faster and have less maintenance down the road.
Form emails set to go to client
If your site has a form on for customers to fill out, by default the form sends emails to the admin account. I make sure it’s going to your email address instead.
Create an Editor account for client
This allows you, the client, to login to your website.
Change Elementor role for editor to edit
This allows you, the client, to safely edit the pictures & text on your website without “accidentally” doing something to your site that might brake it.
Set the timezone
By default your website’s timezone is set to Los Angeles. I change it to Denver (Mountain Timezone)
Remove extra pictures from Media folder
At the beginning of the project I use stock photos for placeholders. To keep your media folder nice and tidy and to avoid confusion, I remove these extra pictures.
Turn off comments (Settings > Discussion)
Unless your website is meant to receive comments (i.e. a blog) I turn off the ability for viewers to add their comments. This helps reduce the amount of spam that you receive.
Set the favicon
This is the little icon you see in your browser’s tab. It has to be simple. Complex favicons are unreadable. I typically use your logo or a simple variation of it.
Create a custom 404 page
If you have a broken link on your site or someone types in a page wrong, they’ll see your “404 Page Not Found” page. I think it looks more professional to have a custom 404 page rather than use a generic one by default. This comes with every website package.
Set up Google Analytics
I set up a Google Analytics account for you. This allows you to track how many visitors you’ve had to your site, which pages they’ve visited, etc. I also create a widget on your WordPress dashboard so when you log in you can see the basic stats.
Set up WP Manager
If you’re having me do your site maintenance, then I’ll set up your site with WP Manager for backups and updates.
Secure site – iThemes Pro
I will install a professional version (with my paid license) of iThemes Pro to help secure your site.
After I’ve gone through these steps, NOW your site is ready to go live. You won’t see any difference in your site from when you gave me your final approval. But your site will be more stable, secure and professionally developed on the backend.