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10 essential wordpress website steps before you launchYour WordPress website is almost ready to go. You already have your domain name, a hosting provider and WordPress installed. Your theme is activated and all your contents and images are added on, or in the process of being added to your website. The following 10 steps are essential before you start promoting your website to the world.

1.Backup

Most hosting providers will back up your website once a month, but what happens when you are adding new contents, posts and images on daily or weekly basis? At any time your website can be hacked, overrun by malware. You can simply just update your theme or any plugins and your website crashes.

backup your website

Your hosting provider might have a monthly backup they can install but what about those 20 new products you added on just yesterday or those 5 blog posts with all the lovely comments on them? What if my hosting provider crashes itself?

There are many great free and paid WordPress backup plugins available. I recommend using the plugin Backup Buddy it’s easy to setup, automates backups and restore them if required.

2.Security

It’s so easy for hackers to find your login username and password. They can then steal your client details, delete information, and add links to your website for their own benefit without you even noticing. As part of my business Thomas Web Designs hosting services, I include monthly updates for any WordPress updates, themes and plugins. Not only is it a security risk to not have the lasted versions of them but you need to keep them updated so they remain compatible with WordPress. However monthly may not be enough as just the other day one of my clients rang up as her WordPress wasn’t updated for only 2 weeks and she had been hit by the white hat hacker, so you should always keep these up to date.

As an extra precaution, I use iThemes Security Pro I can get email notifications of when someone logs into the backend. When a plugin needs to be updated plus other features like web application firewall, blocks brute force attacks, malware scanner and views and displays visitors.

For businesses that have blog posts on their website then the plugin Akismet Anti Spam is essential as this will protect you from spam comments on your blog.

3.Contents & Display

You need to test your complete website. This includes making sure your contact form and mailing list subscriber are working correctly and showing the correct messages. That all your links go to correct websites and all external links open in new tabs. That any shopping carts work and you get orders and payment details notifications.  Other things to check are your videos play, images load and your favicon displays. Make sure all social links are correct as well. You should check your website on different size computers as the display will look different on a 15” laptop compared to a 34” computer monitor or an iPad or a mobile phone. Also checking your website on different internet web browsers such as chrome, internet explorer, Firefox, safari is a good practice. Often your website displays differently so you want to make sure your happy with how it looks.

Your website pages and blog posts should also be checked for grammar and spelling (see point 4 below) Also your website should load in 3 seconds or less- see point 5 below.

4.Spelling

There is nothing worst then a website with bad grammar and spelling mistakes. Now I’m not very good at English myself so, I totally recommend using The World’s Best Grammar Checker Grammarly. It’s great and shows you your spelling errors and suggested places you put commas etc. You should go back over all of your website page and posts once you install this to double check all your pages.

I’m not a very good at spelling. Don’t worry Grammarly will fix your spelling errors.

5.Speed

Have you ever jumped onto someone’s website and it’s so slow? They say that if your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, then you can lose customers as well as being a pitfall for your SEO. You should regularly test your sites speed with these using these great sites Gtmetrix, Pingdom or Google Pagespeed. They view your site for free and give you suggestions on making your site faster. If you notice your website is slow, a great way to help speed up your WordPress website is installing a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache.

 6.Errors

Website errors can create a bad, user experience for your customers. The 404 or 301 error is the most common errors. This is when someone visits a page, and the link is slightly incorrect, or your customer types the link into the web browser and misspells the link. Normally they are sent to a “page no found or 404 error etc’ page which in some cases your customer will just go and look at another website thinking that your site is not working. If your website theme doesn’t have an inbuilt 404 error page then the best way to avoid this is to install a great plugin like the 404page plugin.

7.Privacy

If you’re collecting information from your visitors, such as email addresses for sending newsletters, postage details to ship orders to tracking them or displaying their ads online. Then you need to have a privacy policy on your website. In fact, search engine companies such as google say that they will place a website with a privacy policy above one that doesn’t have one so I would say it’s essential. I personally just use the free privacy policies from https://www.freeprivacypolicy.com/ and then I just change it up to make it my own. You can also use the Auto Terms of Service and Privacy Policy plugin to get you started.

 8.Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Having good SEO will have any search engine display your website above your competitors. There are so many SEO requirements which I give out other great tips if you follow my facebook page. However having a plugin such as SEO plugin by Yoast will help you with the following.

Show you a Google search result snippet preview. This is exactly how your content will look when someone searches for you on google.

Set up one focus word (keyword) per page/ post.

The Yoast plugin will also score your pages and posts and recommendations for great SEO.

Automatically create your site sitemap.

There are many other reasons to use the Yoast SEO plugin.

I also recommend connecting to google analytics, google webmaster and Bing Webmaster. All of these will show you great search engine optimisation information and get your site on all the search engines.

search engines

9.Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)

SLL is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral. If you have an e-commerce website where you sell products and taking credit card details then you definitely need SSL in place to encrypt your customers’ credit card information so they remain private. However, if you are only exclusively using, for example, PayPal or accepting direct transfer then you don’t need SSL since customers aren’t paying you directly. If you have a membership site then an SSL might be a great idea as you are collecting member details, such as email addresses, names, passwords and you don’t want to risk being responsible for a security breach and having your customer details sold or displayed over the internet. Your hosting provider will be able to help you obtain and setup your SSL certificate.

10.Management

As well as the above 9 things listed above. Some other things you need to do on a regular basis are. Clean up your website,  keep it secure and keep your site up coming up on google to get new customers.

Change your admin password.

Clean up your server by deleting unused themes and plugins.

Update your WordPress. 

Regularly add new contents to your website.

Approving your comments or disabling them under settings and discussion on your WordPress backend.

Checking the themes and plugins you use are still managed and making sure the code doesn’t go out of date or, crash your website.

I hope you have enjoyed this post and got some valuable information. Please ask any questions below in our comments area or jump into our private facebook page.

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