WordPress has been around for 15 years and is a very sophisticated and customizable platform for projects from simple to super technical. WordPress powers 27% percent of all websites and it is the most used content publication platform in the world. So if you’re thinking about launching your new website you’re in good hands with WordPress’s advanced functionality and Koombea’s extensive experience developing WordPress websites for over 500 clients. So, are you ready to launch your web dev project? Then keep reading because we’re about to tell you everything you need to know about website development on WordPress.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is an online, open sourced content creation platform. It’s a great platform for a variety of websites including blogs, news sites, e-commerce and more. Over the years, WordPress has become the most popular tool to host content in many different forms.
WordPress is great for beginners and advanced coders. You don’t need to code a website when using WordPress because they have plenty of paid and free themes that users can implement to make their sites visually appealing. However, for website developers who are advanced, they can tweak and code a WordPress site on a high level.
WordPress is among the best website builders for the following reasons:
Auto Updates: WordPress has a built-in auto update system so that it automatically updates itself for new releases and pushes plugin updates.
High profile sites: So many big-name news sites that use WordPress because it’s a trusted and dynamic platform. Just to name a few, sites like CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Mashable are all using WordPress to power their news sites. So, if WordPress is powerful enough for these sites, then it is most certainly powerful enough for your site!
Variety: As we just mentioned, a lot of news sites use WordPress. But other popular uses of this platform include bloggers, businesses, educational institutions and governments.
Usage: Over 60 million people choose WordPress to publish their websites or blogs.
Plugins: WordPress has over 50,000 free plugins that range from collecting subscriber information to making sure your blog posts are SEO optimized to creating an online store. You may want to take a look at this list of 24 Must Have WordPress plugins for business websites.
In the event there isn’t a plugin for what you’re looking for, Koombea builds customized plugins for our clients.
Security: Many WordPress websites run just fine without being hacked but you can never be too safe. All WordPress websites implement a Sucuri Firewall which makes your site super secure.
What You Need to Do Before Launching Your WordPress website
Are you prepared to launch your shiny new WordPress website? Don’t rush into it, be sure to complete the following items before you announce your new site to the public to avoid embarrassment and risk losing consumers. They say you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression and this is especially true when it comes to websites.
Monitor for 404 Errors
There is nothing worse than a 404 error on your site and this poor user experience could result in the loss of a customer. It’s a good idea to periodically check all the pages on your site to make sure that they’re loading correctly. You can also set up 404 email alerts for your WordPress website so that you can get out in front of issues before they turn away customers.
Test Out Different Browsers
You need to make sure that your site looks good in each browsers and on all types of devices. So before launching your site, view your WordPress website in a few browsers such as Chrome, Safari, Explorer, Edge, Firefox and more as well as on phones and tablets.
Double Check Your Forms and Navigation
Have your co-workers or friends fill out the different forms on your site such as the “contact us” form or the subscribe functionality. Make sure that the forms work and the data entered shows up where it’s supposed to, likely, your CRM platform.
When it comes to navigation, make sure all your menu items are linking to the right page and that links within your copy point readers to the right spot. This is a time consuming but crucial to avoid embarrassment.
Backup Your WordPress website
There are ways to backup your WordPress website in case something goes wrong. There are plenty of free plugins that back up your site and can be installed and running within minutes. UpDraft Plus is by far the most popular plugin for backing up WordPress websites so be sure to install it right away.
Set Up Google Analytics
Setting up Google Analytics will give you a full view of your website’s traffic and the sources that are bringing them to your site. Google Analytics will also identify any performance problems that your site may be having.
Sync Up Your Social Media Channels
There are 2 areas where you need to check the social media functionality only your site. The first thing you need to do is make sure that you have icons that link to your social channels in the header and/or the footer and you need to make sure they are linked up correctly so that you can grow your social media presence.
If you have a blog on your site, you need to install a social share plugin and then make sure it works when readers share your posts on their own social media channels. There are plenty of social share plugins to choose from and this post highlights the top 25.
Get Your Site SEO Ready
In order to be indexed by Google and found by your target audience, your site needs to be SEO optimized. There are things to be considered like properly naming the images on your site, using keywords in your meta data and researching the keywords to use in your page titles. Luckily there is a plugin called Smart Crawl that helps you do this.
Set Up Search Engine Indexing
The default setting when your website is being built tells search engines not to index your site because you don’t want anyone viewing it while it’s still in the works. However, when your site is ready, you need to go into settings and make sure that search engine visibility is on.
Test Your Speed
Many users will leave a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. You can use a plugin like Hummingbird to optimize the speed of your WordPress website.
Create and Test Your Contact Information
Want readers to get in touch with you or ask questions about your brand? Having a “contact us” menu item on your homepage and/or the footer on your website is crucial. Make sure you have this and make sure that you provide the correct information for potential consumers to get in touch.
Optimize Your Images for Speed
Images can slow your website down so they need to be optimized for speed. When you shrink an image you also reduce the file size of that image so be sure to not include giant images on your WordPress website.
Be Sure to Have Clear CTA’s
Your site should be full of CTA’s in order to take a potential consumer through the buyer’s journey. When they read one page, there should be a CTA at the end or on the sidebar of that page to move on to another page on your site and so on as you funnel them through to the decision making phase.
Get an SSL Certificate
Google considers SSL certification when they rank websites so be sure to secure this before launching your site. Let’s Encrypt is a great option for getting free SSL certification.
Protect Against Spam
Many WordPress users have noticed a recent increase in the amount of spam that shows up in the comments section of their blogs. Fortunately, there are plugins like Antispam Bee that help eliminate the risk of being spammed.
Set Up Uptime Monitoring
Be sure to set up an uptime monitoring service so that you know immediately if your website goes down. Uptime Robot has a free plan that will email you if your site goes down.
Submit Your Site to Google
Submitting your sitemap to Google notifies it to index your site. Use this link to submit your site.
Add a Favicon
A favicon is that little icon that shows up on the tab of your website. This is especially helpful to users when they have multiple tabs open. WordPress makes this simple to upload so be sure to add it before your site launches. This plugin makes the process of adding your favicon easy.
Create a Terms of Service Page
This legal page keeps you and your WordPress website safe when it comes to legalities. It addresses things like visitor privacy, liability coverage and copyright protection. With TermsFeed you can generate a generic but legitimate terms of service page in just a few minutes.
With WordPress being so wildly popular, and for good reasons, it’s the perfect platform on which to launch your website. Now, we know the checklist of things to do before launching your site can appear a little daunting. So, we want to let you know that the right agency partner will make sure all these items are in place before launching your site.
Want to know if Koombea is the right agency partner to launch your new website? Contact us for a free consultation.