Quick WPEngine Site Launch Checklist

Here’s a quick WPE Site Launch checklist for launching WordPress sites for the first time on WPEngine assuming you’ve already done the basics like setting your permalinks, etc.

  1. Delete any unused pages and that “Hello World” post
  2. Ensure your contact form is working correctly and mailing the right people notifications.
  3. Add contact form spam measures.
  4. Ensure your privacy policy page has been set up and included in your footer navigation.
  5. Set your footer copyright date to update automatically
  6. Test what your site will look like if it’s put on Social Media with your open graph testing at: https://opengraph.dev/
  7. Ensure SEO information has been added to your pages and posts.
  8. Test on some actual mobile devices. Okay yes this is basic but it’s easy to overlook and use mobile emulation modes in your browser. There is no substitute for testing a site on as many mobile devices as you can.
  9. Setup free SSL certificates for both domain versions
  10. In wp-config.php, set define( ‘DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT’, true ) to block file edits in themes or plugins from the WordPress backend.
  11. Test your Google Analytics setup and configure key events.
  12. Set up Google Webmasters with a domain verification based on an added DNS text record.
  13. Redirect any previous site URLs to their most logical destination. If necessary request removal in Search Console for outdated urls.
  14. Spell-check your pages. Consider using Grammarly for this; while you’re at it , make sure your writing is bold and clear.
  15. In the database, replace your WPEngine URLs with your domain URLs. You may want to use a plugin for this.
  16. After your DNS has been pointed, change your WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) to your new web address in WordPress settings > General at /wp-admin/options-general.php.
  17. In WPEngine’s Domains panel, set your primary domain and redirect the other domains
  18. In WPEngine’s SSL panel, ensure the certificates are set for all URLs and WordPress admin pages for WP-Login and WP-Admin are set to HTTPS only
  19. Go to the Utilities panel and reset your file permissions if anything has been loaded over SFTP or SSH and enable Object caching
  20. Ensure you haven’t Password-protected the site in the Utilities panel.
  21. Automate your plugin and theme updates.
  22. Check the site for broken links.
  23. Set a “Launch” backup point in WPEngine.
  24. Add a Strict-Transport-Security header rule.
  25. Deny XML-RPC

Bonus WordPress Site Launch Checklist

  1. Setup a prior soft launch date for the site where co-workers, friends and family members can try out the site as your secret QA team.
  2. Notify your secret QA team of the soft launch.
  3. Prepare your social media and email blasts.
  4. Prepare to link to your WPEngine from your other websites.
  5. Actively request feedback from your secret QA team. If you have time, create a way where they can send the feedback anonymously.
  6. Thank your team and get to work on adjustments if they’re merited.

Final Checklist After (Successful) Soft Launch

  1. Test new adjustments.
  2. Add links to site on other websites.
  3. Fire off social blasts.

What did I miss in this checklist?

Photo by Ryan Wong

Mr. Dif

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