What should you check prior to launching a new web site?

I base my article on some previous ones: CMS, WordPress SEO Plugin.

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For WordPress:

1. Install WordPress SEO by Yoast.
Two important things about this plugin:
a. If you don’t use it, find out what alternative plugins are in there, which should replace the functionalities you need. And you need most of them!
b. If you do use it, please configure most of the settings inside the plugin. Go through each option page and set the functionalities in there.

2. Install a caching plugin of your choice.

3. (for testing purposes, to be disabled when not used)
P3 Profiler by GoDaddy.
(to see what plugins occupy a lot of resources when loading a web site)

For a general web site, what should you take into account before launching?

URL: A solution for URL editing. If you add a product with a long name, and the CMS automatically uses the words in the product title as ideas for URL. So, if you have a product for “Long One Shoulder Red Dress (29)”, the URL could be site.com/long-one-shoulder-red-dress-29/. And you should be able to edit this into site.com/red-dress-29/, for example. You should be able to edit the URL of the current page.

URL: make sure that only one version of the non www / www of the web site can be accessed, the other one should redirect. Also, only one version https / http. Also, /index.php or /index.html or similar shouldn’t be accessible, but redirected to homepage.

URL – Canonical URL: Have the URL of the current category / product as a canonical URL. Details.

Image – When uploading a new image to a product item, it should rename the photo as “product-title-1.jpg”, with “1” adapting to the current photo. It should also put default ALT and Title of the image to the current product name. More.

HTTP Status Codes = Return code 200 for most pages, 301 for redirects, 404 for error pages. About this.

Robots.txt / Sitemap.xml: Create a sitemap.xml, with highest priority for homepage (1), then for categories (0.8), then for products (0.6), then for static pages (0.4). Link the sitemap in robots.txt. On sitemaps. On robots.txt.

Facebook meta graph: Provide og:title & og:description & og:image for each page on the website, default so some values if none are provided. Details.

Rel next/prev for multipagination (especially on categories): Inform Google that a category has more than one page. More.

For multilingual web sites, use rel=alternate hreflang=X: It’s helpful for Google to know which is the current page variant in a different language. About this.

Good site speed. Have a good hosting and find solutions to improve site loading speed. The faster the web site, the better the rankings (up until some point). Test speed with GT Metrix.

H1 tags: Put h1 tags for the title of the current page. For the homepage, ignore the h1. For any other item (including logo), don’t use h1 tag. You can also use h2 for subheadings (especially in product categories). The tags from h3 and below are less important. About this.

Don’t use splash pages, frames, login for navigation.

Avoid having duplicate content (e.g., very similar or identical product pages).

Avoid displaying content specifically for Google. Focus on the visitor. Don’t try to mimic you do good.

Test the web site on different browsers.

Try and have a country-specific TLD (for Australia, use site.com.au, for Romania site.ro, for Germany site.de etc.).

I recommend responsive web sites for use on mobile devices.

RSS for blogs = For keeping in touch easier. After this, try RSS-to-email.

Google Analytics and Google Search Console tags = you should add the web site to Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

2017.07.06: Also SEO: Launching a New Website_ Your SEO Checklist – Whiteboard Friday – Moz via Launching a New Website: Your SEO Checklist – Whiteboard Friday – Moz.

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