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Website Go-Live Checklist

This is a website go-live checklist I made for the students in my CMC class learning about WordPress and SEO.  Do these things before you website goes live and it will be ready for search engines!

Keep your eye out for a follow-up post: a checklist on what to do to your site after you Go Live.  Use the comment area below if you have any questions, or, think I should add something to the listwebsite-check

Before Go-Live Checklist

  1. Add a favicon.  I use favicon.cc to create my favicons
    1. Consider adding a retina-ready favicon
  2. Setup Author Tag for each author.  I use WordPress SEO Plugin to setup author tags.
    1. Make sure Author Bio and connections to social media accounts setup for each author.
  3. Setup Publisher Tag. Also, use WordPress SEO Plugin.
  4. Make sure all (or most) images have Image Titles and Alt Tags with good keywords and descriptive text.
  5. Make sure all pages have good Titles and Descriptions as well as optimized URL slugs.
  6. Test 404 page.
    1. Doublecheck to make sure Google Analytics script is on the tag.
  7. Make sure the WordPress install is up-to-date with the most recent version
    1. Ditto for the WordPress Theme and any plugins.
    2. Remove any unused plugins
  8. Add Testimonials to website
  9. Make sure that any unused pages/posts are either turned to “draft” status or are excluded from the sitemap so Google doesn’t index them when the site goes live.
  10. Check XML sitemaps.  I use WordPress SEO Plugin to setup and manage XML sitemaps.
    1. Look at each sitemap and make sure those pages should be indexed by Google.
  11. Create a Backup of the website before Go-live
    1. Make sure automated and regular backups are setup
  12. Make sure Google Analytics are installed.  I use the Google Analytics for WordPress plugin.
  13. Connect  Twitter Card Meta Data (use WordPress SEO Plugin) if you have a Twitter account.
  14. Move over any comments if this is a new blog and the old blog has comments on it.
  15. Setup 301 redirects for any pages that have changed their URLs in the new website.  I use the Redirection plugin to set these up.
  16. Setup Robots.txt if there are pages on the site that should be kept out of search engines.  WordPress has a pretty good one but if you want to customize here is robot.txt plugin.
  17. Make sure website works with and without the www.
  18. Add a privacy policy.  Learn more about Privacy Policies.
  19. Setup Gravatar for any user on the website… including especially the admin user.
  20. Check website in multiple browsers… Chrome, Explorer and Firefox.  Also mobile phone devices.  Use a mobile emulator to check in the mobile devices.
  21. Have Mom proofread the entire website. She always finds things I miss.
  22. Add Annotations to Google Analytics on Go-live so you can track changes more easily in the future.
  23. Test all “call to actions” and Forms.
  24. Create a Google rankings benchmark that will allow you to measure and document changes in Google rankings for keyword phrases.  Track rankings for relevant keyword phrases right before go-live and then measure in the weeks following to document any changes in rankings.
  25. Create a website speed benchmark
    1. Google Page Speed Insights
    2. Pingdom (run 10 times and create an average and median)
  26. For posterity’s sake, take screenshots of the old website in a browser and in a mobile emulator

 

 

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