Checklist: 28 To-Do’s When Launching a New WordPress Website

In Web Design and Development by Matt Chiera10 Comments

Having launched many WordPress websites, I put together this list of things to do before and after making your new WordPress website live on the Internet. I recommend double-checking these items as you launch your new website.

Before Launch

Content and Design Check

  • Proofread all text content for grammatical and spelling errors. You can use a tool like the Grammarly Chrome Plugin to check your pages and reveal spelling and grammar improvements.
  • Test that every page looks good on mobile, tablet, and desktop. You can use a tool like the Responsive Web Design Tester Chrome Plugin, which allows you to check how each page looks across various devices and browsers.
  • Make sure you have a Favicon in place and that it’s rendering properly.

Links and SEO

  • Click every link, menu item, and button across the entire website – make sure all internal and external links go to the correct place.
  • Check that all contact details such as email addresses and phone numbers are all correct and that phone numbers are click-to-call on mobile.
  • Make a 301 redirect list – this is the list of all page URLs from your old site that will need to be redirected to an applicable page on the new site. For example: if your old page is and the URL on the new site will be, you’ll need to implement a 301 redirect to let search engines know where the new page is located, to transfer the SEO value from the old page to the new page, and ensure that anyone who’s clicking on the old link will get to the applicable page on the new site instead of a “dead” 404 page.
  • Install and configure the Yoast SEO or RankMath WordPress plugin or another WordPress SEO plugin.
  • Go through the website’s pages and make sure both Title Tags and Meta Descriptions are formatted and optimized for every page.
  • Go to Settings > Permalinks in your WordPress back-end and make sure that the Permalink structure is what you want it to be. For instance, many people prefer to use a custom structure for blog posts instead of the WordPress defaults.
  • Make sure you have a robot.txt file added and configured. Many WordPress themes automatically add a robot.txt file for you.
  • Use Google Lighthouse to do a Core Web Vitals and pagespeed scan before the site is launched. Remediate any issues outlined by the plugin.
  • Make a plan for backlinks – if you have authoritative backlinks to a URL on your current site that will no longer exist on the new site, in some cases you might want to reach out to the site owner and request that they switch out the URL with a new one. You can do a backlink scan on your website for free using Ahrefs’s Free Backlink Scanner.
  • Optimize your images (this is much easier if you upload images with small files sizes during the build) using next-gen formats like WebP, or you use an automatic image compression plugin like Smush.
  • Optimize your pages with well-thought-out Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, Headers, and Content which utilize target keywords.


  • Test all forms to make sure that all forms are working properly (i.e. Contact Forms, Newsletter Sign Up).
  • Make sure that all forms are being distributed to the people who should be receiving them.
  • If you’re using a custom “Thank You” page for conversion tracking for your forms, make sure your forms are redirecting to the appropriate page and that the conversion is tracking properly.


  • Create a full backup of the site – you can use a WordPress backup plugin like BackUpWordPress to make automated backups of your website on an ongoing basis.
  • Install and configure a WordPress security plugin like WordFence.
  • If you need to have a “terms and conditions” and/or “privacy policy” page for your website, ensure that page is properly accessible to users. It’s probably best to have an Attorney look at this.
  • Make sure you’ve updated to the latest version of WordPress and have updated all applicable plugins to their latest version. It’s also a good idea to deactivate and delete any plugins you no longer need.
After Launch

Do another round of visiting every page, clicking on every link, and performing every function on the website. Make sure that everything works as it should.


  • Ensure that Google Analytics, Google Remarketing, Facebook Ads Tracking and any other applicable code on the website is tracking properly. You can use Google Tag Manager to install these tags and ensure they’re firing properly. You can double-check that the tags are all firing properly be using the Google Tag Assistant Chrome Plugin.
  • Test any conversion tracking you have in place – make sure “goals” are firing correctly in Google Tag Manager and/or Google Analytics if you’re using those tools for conversion tracking.
  • Go into Google Analytics, go to “real time,” visit a page on the website and make sure that Google Analytics is tracking that you’re there.


  • Create an XML sitemap (you can use an SEO plugin like Yoast or RankMath for this) and submit to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
  • Use Google Search Console to “fetch and render” your website – make sure that Google is seeing the website the same way your users are.
  • Use Google Search Console to send a request to Google crawl your new website, which will speed up Google indexing the new site.
  • Execute your 301 redirect list. You can use a WordPress plugin like Simple 301 Redirects for this or your SEO plugin. You can test that you implemented this properly by Googling the name of your website, or for more precise results use the Google search operator “site:” and clicking the old links that appear to see if they resolve to your new website’s pages.
  • Check that your robots.txt file is in place so search engines can crawl the website. You can use a tool like the SEOBook Robots.txt Checker to check that your file is in place.
  • Check your Core Web Vitals in Google Search Console, remediate any issues.
  • Monitor your post-launch organic traffic in Google Analytics and check Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools regularly for any indexing issues. Or you could use an SEO toolset like SEMRush for this.


  • Enable a compression plugin like W3 Total Cache to minify the site, compress images, and increase site speed.
  • Update any Theme or Plugin licenses that are domain-specific. For instance, if you were using something like during the development of the website and now you’re live on a new domain, you may have to update your licenses in order to make updates.
  • Test your forms again; there can be issues that come up with forms after the new site is live. Make sure your contact forms are working and that the form info is going where you want it to go and that conversions are tracking for every form submission.

*If you’re moving from HTTP to HTTPS with an SSL Certificate

  • Force HTTPS with redirects – this can be done server-side or by using a WordPress plugin like Really Simple SSL.
  • Update all URLs to HTTPS throughout the site and inside of your WordPress template, including media, internal links, and external scripts.
  • Update any old redirects with new redirects to the HTTPS pages.
  • Crawl all URLs using a tool like Screaming Frog to identify broken links.
  • Add the HTTPS version of the website to Google Search Console.
  • Submit a new XML sitemap in Google Search Console.
  • Update your default URL in Google Analytics to the HTTPS version.
  • Update any paid media (i.e. Google Ads, Facebook Ads), email marketing, automation tools, heatmap application, A/B testing tools, etc. with the HTTPS URL.
  • After making the switch the HTTPS, do another round of “clicking everything” on the website and using every function – make sure everything works properly.

If there are items you think I’ve missed, feel free to comment below. This post is not meant as an all-encompassing guide, and your business and website situation (e-commerce adds a whole ‘nother list of items) may require you to make additional changes or ignore some of the changes I’ve outlined.

Happy launching! 

About the Author

Matt Chiera

Matt Chiera is Founder & Principal Consultant at Ice Nine Online. Since forming the company in 2014, he’s helped Ice Nine Online’s clients generate millions of dollars in revenue from digital marketing. Matt taught digital marketing strategy and tactics at the Tribeca School’s Digital Professional Institute. Matt’s book “Digital Marketers Sound Off” has been ranked as the #1 book in the Web Marketing category on Amazon.

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  1. I appreciate that the article is concise and actionable, making it easy to follow for anyone launching a WordPress site. Overall, I think this article is a valuable resource for anyone looking to ensure a successful launch of their WordPress website, and I would recommend it. Thanks for sharing these useful tips!

  2. Great article! I completely agree with your points on the importance of responsive design in today’s digital landscape.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic.

  3. This is something unique I have come across for launching a wp site. Never paid attention to some of the points mentioned by you. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. The very hard thing upon creating your start ups is to know what will you write. Because the content is very important as you can see it will distinguish and rate your website. These tips will come in handy if you were planning to launch a website sooner or later.

  5. Good day! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of
    my good old room mate! He always kept chatting about this.
    I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read.

    Many thanks for sharing!

  6. Hey Matt,

    Awesome tips! You hit the nail on the head when you said, “When you launch a new WordPress website, little things can go wrong…like a spelling error on a page.”

    Will definitely share this on my Facebook page.

    Keep the wisdom bombs flowing. You are A-W-E-S-O-M-E!


    Jimmy R.

  7. Really interesting and useful article about seo tips. all the tips are really important before writing a blog..
    Thanks for sharing with us…congrats on your efforts..!!!

  8. Helpful article for wordpress developers..
    I am really appreciating you such a great information you shre here about launching website…
    Keep it up..!!!

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