Are you planning on launching a new site? Do you want it to be successful? It’s important to take certain steps in order to make it stand out.
- Check for broken links
- Redirect pages from an old site
- Optimize images
- Activate Caching
- Activate SSL
- Add favicon
When you launch your new site, you want to make sure people are able to access all the links and not get any errors. The easiest way to check for any broken links is to go to brokenlinkcheck.com and enter your URL. It will flag any broken links within your whole site, and broken links to external pages as well. It will even link to the exact place on the page, where the link is broken. If you have a large site, it may take a few minutes to scan all pages.
Make sure you redirect pages from the old site to the new website. This is super important for your SEO. Users coming to the old address from search engines and other websites will get an error unless you set up redirects. You might also lose your search results placement if Google thinks the page does not exist anymore. You can set redirects in .htaccess file, or by using a Redirection WordPress plugin.
Source: HTTP Archive – 2017
You want to make sure your new site loads fast and presents the best user experience. People don’t like to wait for the site load. It’s especially important if they are accessing it over a mobile device on a slow network. Images take up the most space on an average page today (see image above). You want to make sure you serve optimized images in the appropriate size and format. Use plugins such as EWWW Image Optimizer or Compress JPG and PNG.
For more information about image optimization, read Optimizing Images For The Web.
Activating caching helps tremendously to serve your site fast to visitors. After visitor #1 goes to a web page, the server stores the page in the cache, so when a visitor #2 comes to the same page, the server doesn’t have to query the database and can provide that same web page much faster. Caching plugin takes a snapshot and shows it to the next person that comes to your website. Check with your hosting provider, if they have their own caching plugin.
We use SiteGround hosting, and they have their own caching plugin: SG Optimizer. It makes it very easy to activate caching for your site, and it also has settings to activate free SSL.
WP-Rocket is a popular premium plugin
Activating SSL is super important for all the sites, and not just for e-commerce. Google gives preferred ranking to sites that have SSL. If you and your competitor rank the same in search results, but you have SSL installed, your site will rank higher. Google also started marking sites that don’t have SSL installed as Non-Secure.
Our preferred hosting provider SiteGround offers Free SSL with every plan. You can activate SSL with 1-click by using their SG Optimizer plugin.
Favicon is a tiny square image that appears in the site address bar, next to the page title. It helps your branding and looks more professional. We have letter N as our favicon (see image above). You can use your logo or the first letter of your company, whatever you think represents your brand best.
To create a favicon, you can use Photoshop, or services, such as Dynamic Drive or Faviconer.com. It must be square, and at least 512 pixels wide and tall.
Starting with WordPress version 4.3 and above, there is an easy option in the Admin menu to add your favicon.
After you have your favicon file on your computer, go to Administration Screen > Appearance > Customize, click Site Identify, Click Select Image at Site Icon section, upload the image file you prepared, and click Select.
Testing everything is one of the most important things to do before you announce your new site.
- If you are selling products or services, make sure you test the buying process. Most e-commerce plugins offer a TEST mode to test the transaction before making it live.
- If you have any forms, make sure you fill them out and send it to yourself.
- Preview your site on your mobile devices/tablets.
- If you enabled Social Sharing on your site, make sure it connects with Facebook, Twitter or other social sharing platforms.
- If you’re planning on sharing your site on social media, such as Facebook or Twitter, there are tools that allow you to preview what it would look like when you share each page.
For the Facebook preview, go to Sharing Debugger, type the share URL and it will show you exactly what image and text will be displayed after you share it on Facebook.
For Twitter preview, go to Card Validator.
If you don’t like what you see, you can change the way it’s displayed, and customize it. The easiest way is to install a YOAST plugin. It’s a very popular SEO plugin for WordPress.
The settings to customize your Social preview are located in the ADMIN panel on the left side, under SEO – Social:
There you can customize how big Twitter will display your preview image. It’s called a Summary Card. If you want a large image, select Summary with Large Image. If you want a little thumbnail, then just select Summary (see img below).
For each individual page or a post, you can customize the photo and text that will be shown when shared. When you edit a page/post and you have Yoast plugin activated, you will see a box toward the bottom of the edit screen with Yoast Settings:
In that box, you can customize the image, title, and description that will be shown after the page is shared. If you don’t customize it, by default, it will display the first image on the page, and the first couple lines of text of that page.
If you want to see who’s coming to your site, what pages are most popular, where visitors are coming from, what keywords are they using, etc., you need to install Google Analytics on your site. MonsterInsights is a free WordPress plugin that allows you to connect with your Google Analytics account.
- Make sure you don’t leave Admin as a username. By default WordPress comes with username: Admin. Change it to something more secure, log out and log back in as a new user you just created. Delete Admin user.
- Install security plugin to monitor the website. Wordfence is a popular free plugin. It includes firewall and malware scan. Also it can scan your site on a regular basis and email you any security concerns, or if there are any plugin updates.
Don’t rely on your hosting provider to keep your backups. In case something goes wrong, you want to have a backup stored securely in a different location. There are many backup plugins. BackupBuddy is one of the most popular WordPress backup plugins. You can schedule daily, weekly or monthly backups. They can be stored in the cloud, or you can have them emailed to yourself.