The Definitive Website Launch Checklist for 2020

Creating a Website Launch checklist is a great way of achieving results. It acts as a constant reminder of the things you need to do to complete a task. Checklists are very powerful. You can use them for any task you can ever imagine. You can create a checklist for vacations, school, and even for a successful website launch.

Starting your own WordPress website, whether for your business or just a blog is not an easy task. The best way to maximize your efforts is by using a website launch checklist. Using a checklist will ensure that you don’t miss out on the important elements that will affect the success of your new site.

To make things easy for you, we created this comprehensive website launch checklist. This project plan for building a website covers the key aspects of a website launch for improved website performance, SEO, and security. This checklist is broken down into different sections for easy understanding. You can also download this website launch checklist PDF copy for future reference.


  • Getting Started
  • Web Design Checklist
  • SEO Checklist
  • Technical Checklist
  • Security Checklist
  • Testing Checklist
  • Routine Maintenance Checklist

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Getting Started

Consider this as setting the tone for the list of important tasks that you need to complete to ensure that your website is a success.

Schedule a launch date

Schedule your website launch. You can place a “coming soon” message on your homepage.

Create strong logins

One common mistake many WordPress beginners make is using “admin” or “admins” as a login or password. Consider creating hard to guess logins — for instance, username: JRMZ. Password: #&@k44E#SD**#)C (or use a strong random password generator).

Update site title

Don’t overlook this. You can update your website title and tagline under Settings >> General.

Update media setting

If your website requires you to upload lots of images, then you need to change the default media settings. Go to Settings >> Media >> deselect “Organize my uploads into month- and year-based folders.”

Rename blog category

Navigate to Posts >> Categories and change “uncategorized” to a default category for future posts. You can create more categories if required.

Don’t index your site yet

You’ll need to run many tests on your site before you finally launch. Ensure that search engines are not indexing your website during this period. Go to Settings >> Reading >> Select “Discourage search engines from indexing this site.” Don’t worry; you’ll come back to this.

Web Design Checklist

Now let’s dive into the website design onboarding checklist. This section ensures that you never miss out on the crucial elements for developing your new site.

Use correct URLs

Cross-checking your site’s URLs is one of the first things to do on your web design checklist. Don’t use underscore (_) in your links. Use with a dash (-) instead.

Add Favicon

Every great website has a favicon, so create one for your site. You can do this with a custom favicon plugin.

Create sitemap and menus

A site map is basically the list of the pages you want on your website, and it’s an essential element of a project plan for building a website. Make a sitemap on doc or excel and use it to create pages and menus on your site.

Create a custom 404 page

“What? 404 errors? But my website is NEW!” Yes, that’s true. However, one cannot overemphasize the importance of having a custom 404 page. This page ensures that you don’t lose visitors when they request a page that doesn’t exist on your site.

Link logo to homepage

It might seem irrelevant, but it’s essential. Link your business logo to the homepage of your site. This is the fastest way users to go to your homepage, regardless of their current location on the website.

Create social accounts

A website design checklist won’t be complete without creating social profiles for your website. Create accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, and any other platform that your business can use.

Add social icons

Good job on creating your social profiles for your site. The next thing to do is to add icons and links for each social account you created. You may use a plugin for this task.

Create newsletter subscription

A newsletter subscription is the best way to get the emails of your visitors for email marketing. Consider using a newsletter plugin.

Optimize comments

Enable gravatar for readers’ comments and highlight authors’ comments to differentiate it from the other comments.

SEO Checklist

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an important element that will determine the success of your website, whether it’s just a blog or an eCommerce site.

Check typography

The typography and layout of your content are essential. Correct all inappropriate use of punctuation marks like quotations and apostrophes. Use the right subheadings h2, h3, h4, etc.

Remove default content

Delete the default content on your new WordPress site. This includes Lorem Ipsum texts, comments, and others.

Check content structure

Go through stuff like URLs, forms, pages, etc.

Check the context

Context is what users will gain from visiting your website. Ensure that every page on your site offers great value to visitors.

Proofread for errors

Take out time to proofread your content to make it error-free. Pages with grammatical errors are a turn off for visitors. is handy for this task.

Only original content

Ensure that your content is not copied from another website. Only post original and unique content. Use to check for plagiarism.

Legal pages are important

Create a privacy page, terms of use, and other legal pages.

Create a contact page

Ensure you have a page that users can use to contact you.

Compress images

Images with large sizes will slow down your website. Use or to reduce the size of your images before uploading them to your site.

Use ALT text

Add ALT text to all your images for SEO.


Other SEO elements

Add metadata

Update meta title (maximum of 55 characters), meta description (maximum of 155 characters), and meta keywords.

Open links in new windows

Ensure URLs are opened in new windows.

Check site speed

You may use Google’s PageSpeed Insight to check for your site speed and ways to improve it.

Check for broken links

Use a plugin to check for broken links on your site.

Delete irrelevant plugins

Remove plugins you don’t use. Your site is not a warehouse for plugins.

Remove duplicated content

Delete all duplicated content that is on your website.

Use short URLs

Shorter URLs are more effective for SEO.

Install SEO plugin

This tool will guide you on the best practice for on-page SEO. You may install Yoast or RankMath SEO plugins. Keep in mind that you only need one installed.

Enable search engine visibility

Do you remember how you discouraged search engines from indexing your site? Now disable the feature. Settings >> Reading >> uncheck “Discourage search engines from indexing this site.”

Check XML sitemap

If you installed Yoast, then check if your site’s XML is working. If not, install Google XML Site Map plugin.

Technical Checklist

This section covers important technical requirements for building a website.

Improve website speed

Improve your site’s speed using recommendations from Google’s Pagespeed insight.

Check page redirecting

Ensure that your pages have the correct redirection. Use 302 redirects for temporarily redirecting old pages to new ones. And use 301 redirects for permanent redirections.

Activate Google Analytics

This analytic tool will help you measure your site’s performance. Other decent alternatives for Google analytics are Piwik and KISSmetrics.

Submit site to search engines

Signup on Google Webmaster and Bing Webmaster (optional) and submit your site for indexing.

Validate your code

The technical requirements for building a website is not complete without code validation. Use W3 Validator to ensure that your website code is up to standard.

Backup your site

A backup strategy can be a lifesaver when you least expect it. Not having one means you’re gambling with your hard work. You may use BackUpWordpress for this. It’s free. You can also consider other paid options if you wish.

Add RSS link

This is mainly for websites that offer news and blog content. Ensure the RSS feed link is working and visible to users for easy access.

Turn off Javascript

Don’t worry. This won’t have any adverse effects on your website. Many WordPress users often turn off the Javascript on their site for security purposes.

Security Checklist

Never underestimate the importance of security on your WordPress website. Once your site goes live, it automatically becomes a target for hackers. This section covers the WordPress security checklist for keeping your new site secured.

Install SSL

If you haven’t already done this, then it is time you do.

Install security plugins

Consider installing the iThemes Security Pro plugin. It’s considered the most comprehensive security plugin for WordPress. It is lightweight, free, and can handle almost all the security issues on your site.

Protect wp-config.php

This file contains important and confidential information about your website. So the best way to stay safe is by securing it.

Restrict directory access

One of the easiest ways to block access to the directories on your server is through .htcaccess. Just edit the .htcaccess file and add “deny from all” without quotes.

Keep WordPress updated

Every new WordPress update is an improvement of the older version. So ensure to keep your WordPress up to date.

Restrict suspicious login attempts

Install the Login Lockdown WordPress plugin to limit the number of suspicious login attempts on your site.

Testing Checklist

It’s time to test the elements on your site to ensure everything is in order.

Test emails, web forms, and call to action

Check if the email addresses and call to ask buttons on your website are working probably. Also, check if all the web forms are submitting users’ data just how you want them to.

Check payment process

If your WordPress website deals with purchases, then test run the payment process to ensure it works. You don’t want to frustrate buyers who are willing to spend their money on your website.

Test search button

The search page is a vital element that helps visitors to navigate your web site. Ensure that it’s working correctly.

Test pagination

Use a plugin to test your pagination.

Test social links

Test all your social links if they are redirecting you to your social business accounts.

Check responsiveness and mobile-friendliness

How responsive is the design of your website? Test the responsiveness by checking headings, paragraphs, lists, images, videos, etc. on both mobile and desktop devices.

Test multiple browsers

Access your site using different browsers. Find out which platform is not working correctly.

Test newsletter

It is important to check if your newsletter is working. Don’t just assume.

Resubmit XML sitemap

Now that you’re done, you need to resubmit your site’s XML sitemap to Google and other major search engines.

Launch website

Once you complete the testing checklist and you’re confident that everything is in place, then get on with it, launch your site!

Routine Maintenance Checklist

We consider ongoing maintenance as a significant element of a website launch checklist, even though it comes after your website has been launched. Routine maintenance will help to ensure that your site continues to run smoothly.

Monitor site performance

Keep an eye on your website’s performance. Check and improve elements like page speed, SEO and security, and others. Use Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools (especially Google search console) to track your site periodically.

Regular backup is a must

Install a plugin for this (BackUpWordpress), and ensure you do a regular backup. You can also automate this process to make it easier (I would recommend once a week to once a month).

Delete spam comments

Empty spam comments will flood your site now and then. You can use Akismet or the Delete Pending Comments Plugin.

Check web forms

Test web forms and email on your site at least twice a month to check if they are working well.

Update plugins

Update your plugins whenever there are new versions.

Security checks

Scan your site for malware, viruses, and security attacks. Most importantly, check your file manager for unusual files monthly. I recommend creating a backup of your file manager and restoring it should any odd files appear (Check upload dates for new one off files).

Final Thoughts

There you have it! The ultimate website design questionnaire doc for launching a great WordPress website. Keep in mind that this website launch checklist is not an exhaustive list. However, it will help you to complete the crucial tasks that you need to make your new WordPress site a success.

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