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What to do after launching a WordPress site

Robert Wallace Technical Director
Robert Wallace Technical Director

You are a small business that hired someone to build your web site using WordPress.  It just launched so what should you do now?

Well, you should start by checking “under the hood.” There are several key areas to consider.

Security

WordPress, currently the most popular content management system, is a target for hackers. So hardening your site is critical. One of the easiest ways to protect your site is to have a security plugin such as All In One WP Security & Firewall. Use the plugin to do, at a minimum, the following:

  1. Rename the login page from default “wp-login.php” to something else.
  2. Change the database prefix from “wp_” to something else.
  3. Confirm that the file and folder permissions on the site are set correctly.
  4. Confirm that there isn’t a user account named “admin.”

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Assuming that you want people to find your site when they do searches, you should use an SEO plugin such as Yoast SEO. You should also have a Google Analytics account set up. The plugin will help you tune your site and its content to be SEO friendly, and Google Analytics will let you monitor how well your site is doing. Use the plugin to do, at a minimum, the following:

  1. Create a Google Sitemap.
  2. Check each page of your site for SEO issues (keywords, readability, meta tags, etc.).

In addition to using an SEO plugin, use some of the free SEO analysis sites to see how well your site is optimized. Some of the sites I use are:

  1. http://seositecheckup.com
  2. https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
  3. https://gtmetrix.com/

These sites can provide insights to where you should be looking to make improvements.

You should also submit your site to the search engines so that they can index them. You can submit your site to Google using the Google Search Console. You can submit it to Bing and Yahoo at Bing Webmaster Tools.

On-going efforts

Plan on monitoring and tweaking the site frequently. I suggest at least monthly  that you use Google Analytics to view how the site is doing. Most people will ask what their analytic numbers should be, for example, “What is a good bounce rate?” Well most metrics will vary depending on the type of business and other factors. So it is more important to look at the trends month to month, and to plan on making continuous improvements to the site.

It is also a good idea to monitor the software on your site, make sure that you are doing regular backups, and keep the plugins and WordPress files updated as new versions are released.

Summary

You have made the investment of creating and launching a web site. Don’t make the mistake of neglecting it. I love analogies, so think about your site like it is a new car you have just purchased. Maintain it, keep it clean, and take it out for a spin often. If you can’t maintain it, hire someone to do that work for you. Don’t just leave it sitting in your driveway.

 

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