Website launch checklist: WordPress has changed the game when it comes to creating websites, and with themes and theme builders, it is easier than ever to create a website.
Easier yes, but not necessarily as easy as some people may think. But don’t panic, because in this video, I’m going to share my workflow for creating websites with WordPress and Elementor Pro.
hello, I’m your host Kaycinho, I’m a digital alchemist, and today I’m going to share my workflow for creating websites with WordPress and Elementor Pro.
If you are creating just one website for yourself or your business, this will give you a handy roadmap for your project, and if you create websites for other businesses, this may help you assess the work involved and quote accordingly.
And cherry on the cake, this may even help YOU help your clients understand why you charge what you charge!
Now one word about this video, I will go quickly because we have many items to cover and covering everything would take a full course.
I won’t be covering specifics about website re-design, enhanced security and maintenance of the website today, but I may be covering those in future episodes.
However, while I won’t go into too many details. I will cover what you need to know to have a clear outline of the steps involved.
My wish is that you can use this video as well as the companion blog post, as a reference when kickstarting a new website project.
So, enough talking, let’s dive in!
Website Launch Checklist – Brief
The first step is the brief.
Whether you create a website for yourself or for clients, the brief is THE document you’ll come back to many times during the project.
Website Launch Checklist – Wireframes
Wireframes are sketchy representations of the pages composing your website and the elements within.
At this stage, don’t think about design, just place the elements on the page, preferably in black and white to avoid distraction.
Here are ways to create Wireframes :
- on a shoot of paper
- with software like Illustrator or Affinity Designer or any other vector based drawing software
- with services such as Wireframe.cc
Website Launch Checklist – Moodboard
A moodboard is a collection of visual elements, and it helps to get a feel for your project, designwise.
You can create your moodboard in your preferred image software such as Photoshop or Affinity Photo.
Website Launch Checklist – Images Optimization
For image optimisation, check my tutorial that goes in depth by clicking here.
But in a nutshell :
- optimize the resolution and weight of your image with software like Photoshop / Affinity Photo / The Gimp / Photopea
- optimze further with a service like TinyPNG.com or ShortPixel.com
Website Launch Checklist – Setup A Development Environment
Setup either a local development environment such as Local By FlyWheel or an online share on your webserver.
Personally I recommend web hosting companies that provide Cpanel and the Softaculous app.
Website Launch Checklist – Set title and details
In WordPress Admin > Settings > General, set the title, tagline and details for your website.
Website Launch Checklist – Block search engines and / or activate maintenance
In WordPress Admin > Settings > Reading, set the homepage (you may have to do that later on, once you’ve actually created your homepage) and tick the options that says Discourage search engines from indexing this site.
Website Launch Checklist – Set Permalinks
In WordPress Admin > Settings > Permalinks, set your preferred permalinks structure.
Personally, I use /%postname%/.
Website Launch Checklist – Install & Activate Theme
In WordPress Admin > Appearance > Themes, install and activate the WordPress theme of your choice.
Website Launch Checklist – Install plugins
In WordPress Admin > Plugins, install the plugins required for your project.
Website Launch Checklist – Activate plugins needed for development
In WordPress Admin > Plugins, activate the plugins required on the development environment.
At this stage you don’t want to enable plugins that are only relevant on the live & final website (such as Google Analytics, etc.).
Website Launch Checklist – Install Woocommerce / Setup and create products
If your project is an ecommerce one, now is the time to install & setup Woocommerce.
Once configured, add your products.
Website Launch Checklist – Setup Fonts management in Elementor Settings
In WordPress Admin > Elementor > General, select whether or not you want Elementor to manage your fonts.
Website Launch Checklist – Create all pages (just the pages not the content yet)
In WordPress Admin > Pages, creat all the pages that will be on your website.
At this stage, don’t bother with the content. Just give each page a title, and hit publish.
Website Launch Checklist – Create the navigation menu(s)
Now that your pages exist, in WordPress Admin go to Appearance > Menus and create your menu(s).
Website Launch Checklist – Set the theme options (container width / identity / favicon, etc.)
In WordPress Admin, access your theme options and tweak it to your liking.
Website Launch Checklist – Customize header and footer with Elementor Pro
In WordPress Admin > Templates > Theme Builder, create your custom header(s) and footer(s) and apply the visibility conditions.
Website Launch Checklist – Create the master design based on brief /wireframes /moodboard
At this stage, create the master design page (basically: the homepage), based on the brief, the wireframes and the mood board created previously.
Website Launch Checklist – Create the secondary page design based on brief /wireframes /moodboard
Once the master design page is ready, create the secondary pages design (for pages other than the homepage) based on the brief, the wireframes and the mood board created previously.
Website Launch Checklist – Create the Product template with Elementor Pro
If your project is ecommerce, and if you want to customize the product page with the theming capabilities of Elementor Pro, in WordPress Admin, go to Templates > Theme Builder and create a single product template.
Website Launch Checklist – Create the single blog post design based on brief /wireframes /moodboard
In WordPress Admin > Templates > Theme Builder, create the single blog post template based on the brief, the wireframes and the mood board created previously.
Website Launch Checklist – Customize theme pages with Elementor Pro (404 / search / archives / blog archives, etc.)
In WordPress Admin > Templates > Theme Builder, create the t based on the brief, the template for special pages (404, search, archives, etc.), based on the wireframes and the mood board created previously.
Website Launch Checklist – Insert content & Make sure content is seo ready (copy, alt tags on your images, etc.)
Now is the time to insert your SEO ready content.
Which means that prior to that you must have worked on your keyword density, links, alt tags, and so on.
Website Launch Checklist – Optimize for desktop / tablet /mobile
At each stage of the pages / posts / templates design, make sure you optimize for desktop, tablet and mobile views.
Website Launch Checklist – Test & debug / cross-browser / devices / OS
Test your website by following pre-defined scenarios (such as send a contact form / purchase a product / read a blog post).
Ideally you’d test :
- on all major browsers
- on desktop Mac’s – Mac OS
- on desktop PC’s – Windows
- on iOS tablets
- on Android tablets
- on iPhone
- on an Android smartphone
That’s not always possible so, you can try online services. Now I haven’t tested these so proceed with caution!
Website Launch Checklist – Make sure maintenance mode is active
In WordPress Admin > Elementor > Tools > Maintenance Mode, enable the maintenance mode (you must create a dedicated page design for maintenance with Elementor).
Website Launch Checklist – Transfer to live site (make sure live site is backed up if this is a redesign)
Let’s imagine that your Live website server is called “A” and your development environment is called “B”.
- Backup A if there is currently a website on it (manually, or with tools such as Duplicator or Backup Buddy)
- Restore backup A on a separate environment to test that restore works
- Backup B (manually, or with tools such as Duplicator or Backup Buddy)
- Transfer B to A (manually, or with tools such as Duplicator or Backup Buddy).
Website Launch Checklist – Activate & configure plugins for production
Now is the time to activate and setup the plugins that are only relevant to you live environment.
At this point, maintenance mode is on so you may have to take that into account when testing the plugins.
Website Launch Checklist – Setup social sharing & communications
Setup API’s to connect to external social sharing and communication services.
Website Launch Checklist – GDPR
Activate and setup your GDPR solution.
Website Launch Checklist – Google Analytics & Pixels
Install the scripts to 3rd party services like Google Analytics, Facebook pixel, and so on. If you are under GDPR, make sure your users have an easy way to activate / de-activate these at will.
Website Launch Checklist – Re-enable search engines
In WordPress Admin > Settings > Reading, untick the options that says Discourage search engines from indexing this site.
Website Launch Checklist – install an SEO plugin
Activate an SEO plugin such as Yoast, or my favourite SEOPress Pro
Website Launch Checklist – make sure you create an xml sitemap
Your SEO plugin should offer the option to generate your XML sitemaps, which we will need to add the website to search engines.
Website Launch Checklist – optimize Elementor 3rd party addons
Elementor 3rd party addons are great but they can quickly add a lot of bloat and make your website slow!
Luckily, many of these addons offer the ability to disable the widgets your are not using.
But it can be hard to keep track of what you are and are not using.
Therefore, one good practice is to create a Project Notes document for each website you are working on. And in this document there should be one section about the use of 3rd party addons and their widgets.
If you do that, it will be way easier to optimize your website.
Website Launch Checklist – activate a caching plugin
Activate a caching plugin to make your website faster.
If you are looking for a premium solution, at the time of writing this post, I use, love and recommend Wp Rocket.
Website Launch Checklist – add a CDN
If you want to make your website even faster, you may want to add a Content Delivery Network (CDN). This will allow to serve the assets of your website (images, scripts, etc.) from web servers around the globe.
So if your website in hosted in Austria, and someone browses from New Zealand, they will be served assets from the closest server (so Australia for example).
And for that I recommend a premium yet dirt cheap solution called Bunny CDN.
Website Launch Checklist – activate & configure a security plugin
Activate and setup a security plugin. Some of the most popular are:
Website Launch Checklist – Test & Debug / Cross browser
Test your website again, as explained previously in this post.
Website Launch Checklist – add website to search engines
Add your website to the main search engines:
Website Launch Checklist – Make a backup of the new website
Website Launch Checklist – Test & restore the backup on a new dev environment
Website Launch Checklist – Remove the maintenance mode and LAUNCH!
In WordPress Admin > Elementor > Tools > Maintenance Mode, disable the maintenance mode.
Tadaaaaa. Your website is launched!
Website Launch Checklist – Are you still there?
That was a lot of info! But bear in mind that this was just the workflow for a basic website, nothing fancy, no special funcitonalities, no custom post types, nada.
And I didn’t even go into the details such as how to look for images that convert, how to optimize your images, how to write compelling copy, and so on.
So the next time someone tells you creating a website is super easy and shouldn’t take you more than a few of hours, please point them to this post!
So, I hope that you enjoyed this episode and that it will help you as a reference for your next website projects.
Now is there anything I left out and that you do on each project? Please let me know in the comments of this episode
If you watched the companion video and if you like it, please give it a thumbs up, as it really helps growing the channel and if you know someone that could benefit from it, I’m going to ask you if you’d like to share it now?
Because let’s face it, there are so many things to do in a day that if you don’t do it now you’ll probably forget.
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So, that’s it for this episode, I hope to see you around here or on the Youtube channel, and in the meantime, don’t forget to invest in YOUR success!