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WordPress Checklist

We hammer out a lot of new sites and over years we have built up a substantial "going live" checklist. Here are the basics!

After investing a great deal of time and money developing a custom WordPress website, forgetting small details could be a disaster that ends up having a negative effect on your site performance, dataloss, functionality, SEO ranking or paid advertising cost. If you have had your website professionally created it’s still a good idea to double check things are done correctly.

Here is a list of checks to perform when developing a WordPress site that is about to go live:

WordPress Basics:

  • !Important – Setup an automatic backup plugin to a remote location (we recommend Updraft) and Double check backups are saving.
  • Set the timezone – Settings > General
  • Set Language to English – Settings > General
  • Check / Set admin email address – Settings > General
  • Systematically browse through the site looking for broken links, missing links or dummy content. If it is a large site use a plugin like Broken Link Checker
  • Check all Social Links are correct
  • Check that Email and contact links are working and going to the correct address
  • Any Lorem Ipsum on the site?
  • Browse the site with Debug on and fix any errors
  • Check site loading speed, (Chrome developer tools > network, should be less than 2MB). Check all images, use JPGs where possible, PNGs only for transparency. Possible to use GIFs if PNGs are too big (lower quality).
  • Setup Monitoring & Downtime alerts. (We recommend
  • Make sure contact form emails are backing up to the database. Gravity forms does this by default.


  • Activate an Anti-spam plugin such as Akismet.
  • Is your Hello World post and sample page deleted? These are often targeted by spammers posting comments.
  • If using Gravity Forms, turn on Akismet. Forms->Settings page and mark the “Akismet Integration” option as “Yes”.

Browser Testing:

Depending on your audience this will vary but here are the essential browsers and sizes to test. Chrome is usually used to build the sites so no testing is necessary.

  • IE Edge :(
  • Firefox
  • Safari
  • iPad size
  • Laptop browser size. Very wide and narrow.
  • Mobile device (both apple & Android)


  • Test Paging for when there are a lot of posts
  • Test search results page
  • Test Comments


  • Add a favicon
  • Test subscribe Forms
  • Share button testing
  • Turn off debug mode
  • Check the any domain aliases are linked
  • Tidy Admin menu and dashboard if possible
  • Inspect JS for errors
  • Enable SSL – Inspect for SSL errors

Security, we recommend the iThemes Security Plugin:

In Global Settings >

  • Uncheck the box next to “Send digest email” to cut down on notification emails. Uncheck “Enable Email Lockout Notifications” – Or you will be bombarded with notifications.
  • Verify that your email address is correct.
  • Add my current IP to the White List
  • Make sure the “Email Contacts” are going to you
  • If you get permissions error reset paths in global settings  – Path to Log Files
  • Turn off DB backups. Use Updraft!
  • Sign up for Network Brute Force Protection API Key
  • Save Settings at the base of Network Brute Force Protection

Basic SEO:

  • Add Yoast SEO Plugin – Bulky but still the best.
  • Make a nice homepage title at least. Continue with other pages as needed.
  • Check page title in code
  • If it’s a rebuild you may need some 301 Redirects.
  • Upload Facebook image to Yoast for homepage and check in
  • Check other versions of the domain are 301 redirecting. www | http

Things to do just before you go live:

  • Create analytics and webmaster tools and add tracking
  • Create XML Sitemaps and submit to Google when doing SEO
  • Fetch as Google in webmaster tools. Crawl > Fetch as Google
  • Settings > Reading > UNTICK Discourage search engines from indexing site. Or never tick this in the first place.

Final checks after going live:

  • Check backups are working OK
  • Check email forms again.
  • Verify emails in general, are working normally.

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