Apr

9 Vital Checks to Make Sure Your New Website Is Ready For Primetime

WordPress Website Clean-Up & Performance

It’s easy to get distracted by the excitement of what comes next when you’re launching a new website.

It’s like suddenly everything you’ve been working toward is right at your fingertips and you cannot wait to start diving in.

Most people go ahead and take that plunge and dive right in.

There’s a lot to do after all, right?

It’s time to start writing.

It’s time to start sharing.

It’s time to start selling.

Nothing wrong with any of that. I get it. I feel the same way too when I’m getting going on a new project.

Because you do need to start writing.

You do need to start sharing.

You do need to start selling.

But to do that you need to have your site done.

What’s that? You say your site is done?

Ok – no problem then. Then you won’t need any of the following things that are essential to a high-functioning, fast, secure website.

But if you not quite sure, then ask yourself this question:

“What do I need to do to finish my new WordPress site right and make sure it’s fast and secure?”

Then check out what I’ve got on the list below to make sure you have these things covered.

Delete Sample Files

WordPress ships with some sample files it needs when it’s first installed to build other files. One of those files is the wp-config-sample.php file which handles a lot of things for your new website, not the least of which is your database connection.

But once you’re done with your initial set-up it’s not needed any longer, so you can safely delete wp-config-sample.php.

Delete Unused Themes and Plugins

Get rid of stuff you’re not using in your website, like unused themes, and plugins.

You can leave the latest version of the theme that ships with WordPress core as a fall-back in case something happens to your main theme, but otherwise clear all that stuff out.

And just deactivating these unused items isn’t enough. They can be security risks. If you need a copy of them then make sure they’re saved into your local copy. You don’t need them on your website.

Enable Automatic Updates

WordPress, its plugins and themes are updated all the time. It can be easy to forget to get those things updated, but the good news is that WordPress can handle this for you.

To turn on automatic updates, in your wp-config.php file, make sure this line of code is included:

define( ‘AUTOMATIC_UPDATER_DISABLED’, true );

Make Sure Your Site is Fast

Google uses page load speed as an indicator of quality when indexing your site’s pages for their search results. If your site has quality content, but is slow, then you could suffer in the rankings that should otherwise be strong.

You can make your site fast by using a caching plugin like WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache or WP-Rocket to get the most out of your site.

Make sure to check with your hosting provider to see which one they recommend; these plugins will function differently based on the kind of hosting service you’re using.

Optimize Your Image File Sizes

Nothing slows down your site like non-optimized images. Huge files take forever to load so it’s a big deal to make sure your image file sizes are as small as possible.

Install and configure an image optimization plugin like WP Smush or Imagify to compress image sizes on your site.

Look into using a CDN

Do you need a CDN? It depends on what kind of site you have, but a CDN (content delivery network) can be a huge help in making sure your site is performing optimally. MaxCDN (StackPath), KeyCDN or Amazon Cloudfront are a couple options.

Monitor Your Site Speed

Do regular checks to see how fast your site is loading and find out how you compare to other sites. Pingdom has a great tool, so does GTMetrix.

Set Up Your Site With ClouldFlare

To add an extra layer of security and performance, get your site set up to use Cloudflare. Their free plan helps by serving as a CDN as well as an additional layer of security.

Install an SSL Certificate

Install an SSL regardless of whether or not you’re selling anything. Using HTTPS is the standard these days and modern browsers warn users when sites aren’t using encryption.

Next Steps

Putting the finishing touch on your website is going to help you finish your new WordPress site right and make sure it’s fast and secure, so that when you’re working hard, cranking out content, and you’re good to go there are no surprises.

Makes sense, right?

To make things even better I’ve put all these things in an easy-to-use checklist for you, because it’s always a good idea to have a guide, or a checklist to make sure you’re not missing any of the vital steps. That’s why I created the Ultimate WordPress Start-Up Guide.

I built this guide so that you would have all the things you need to start a new website project with WordPress right at your fingertips.

This guide will allow lead you down a path that covers it all in an easy-to-understand way so that your new website is a success from day one.

Make sure you don’t miss any of the crucial steps in getting your new website project online by following the steps in this guide.

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