So, you’ve finally done it, congratulations! Your new Divi website is almost done, and you’re excited about what you’ve been working on for months. Things are exciting!
However, there are plenty of things that can go wrong with launching a new website. From broken links, non-correct site redirects, to non-compatible plugins, you name it. Therefore, instead of worrying about the what ifs, wouldn’t it be much easier to have a comprehensive website checklist to run down before every site launch?
Luckily, we’ve created the Divi website launch checklist just for you. Continue reading to learn what actions you should take before successfully launching your new website.
1.Examine Your Previous Website – If You Have One
Are you about to launch a brand-new website, or are we talking about a redesign? If you’re about to do an entire redesign of your Divi website, there are several steps that you should take.
Review the Site’s Structure
Restructuring your site might feel like a chore, but you must do it, or otherwise, the navigation would be a mess for both Google and the target users. To prevent that from happening:
- Focus on your menu: When you plan to restructure things, consider whether you can fit all the important pages in the main menu. Are there some pages that are not valid anymore? Create a flowchart that will help you determine the gaps in your site’s structure.
- Revise the taxonomy: Is there one category or subcategory that is more successful than the rest? Think about whether you can split a complex category into multiple subcategories or merge more subcategories into one important category.
- Tidy up obsolete content: Are there some outdated blog posts you wish to unpublish or perhaps repurpose and publish again? If that’s the case, you might want to get rid of them entirely.
- Avoid keyword cannibalization: Optimizing for keywords that are too similar can produce negative results for your SERP ranking, and not to even mention that you’ll be competing with yourself instead of with other businesses online.
Set SMART Goals
How you’ll attain your website’s goals? What metrics will you measure to achieve those goals successfully? Whatever the future goals are, you need to outline precisely how the new website will help you achieve them and implement the changes accordingly.
Setting website design goals can help you create stronger content, organize your website better, and measure the design’s effectiveness. Goals can differ from website to website. However, the best goals are defined according to the SMART methodology:
- S – Specific: ‘Increasing product sign-ups’ is not as specific as ‘Increasing product sign-ups by 30% in the next 4 months’. Specificity helps you figure out more effective ways about how you’ll achieve and measure the goals.
- M – Measurable: You’ll only know if you’ve achieved any progress with your goals if you measure them. Define how many times you want the goal to be achieved, the stages in which it will be achieved, as well as the key metrics that you’ll track over a given period.
- A – Attainable: When a goal is not realistic or attainable, you’re pretty much wasting the team’s time on something that might not arrive soon. Break down a massive goal into more manageable parts and start from there.
- R – Relevant: Your homepage won’t have the same goals as one of your landing pages. Make sure that you’ll match the goals according to what your business and products are about.
- T – Time-Based: A goal without a specific timeframe can’t be measured accurately. ‘Improving sales of product X by 25% over the next 4 months’ is how a time-based goal should sound like.
2. Examine the Technicals
The technical aspects of your new Divi website go together with the site’s overall functionality and compatibility. That is why you need to ensure everything in the background performs as intended.
Validate the Code
Granted, code validation should be done throughout the development stages, but it’s a good rule of thumb to validate once more before you launch the website. Using a code validator can spot issues on your website, such as a misplaced piece of code or a forgotten element that you need to rework to appear much better on your website.
Test Site links
Make sure that the entire link structure is stable. Each broken link has the potential to hurt your site’s experience and performance, and you need to eradicate broken links immediately once you spot them.
Checking each link manually can take too much of your time, particularly if you need to scan your links every time you update your website. Therefore, to save you the trouble and be more efficient with this step, there are several tools that can do the job for you:
- WordPress Broken Link Checker: This plugin leaves no stone unturned. Whenever a broken link is detected, the plugin will send you a notification. Then, you can decide if you wish to edit the broken link, update it, or delete it from your page.
- Google Search Console: Google Search Console allows you to use many beneficial features for your SEO strategy, including site crawling and reporting 404 errors on your links. Then, all you must do is correct the broken links and improve your SERP rankings as a result.
- Ahrefs Site Audit Tool: This tool can automatically scan your Divi website for errors. All you have to do is set up an account and enter your site’s URL in the tool. Ahrefs will deliver a 404 errors report, indicating where and which links you need to fix.
Set up Google Analytics
Once you publish your website, your number one goal should be to get more traction, traffic, and ultimately, new subscribers and customers as a result. Website analytics help you gauge how many visitors your website gets, what type of content visitors like, where users come from, and much more. Integrating Google Analytics allows you to see:
- What users do on your website: GA enables you to discover where users go as soon as they open one of your pages, how much time do they spend on your site, and the bounce rate for every page, information that you can use to find your most popular content and make an informed decision on what you need to do to decrease your bounce rate.
- When users visit your website: Looking at the hours at which users visit your website the most, you can gauge when the best time is to publish your new blog posts and interact with potential customers that are online at that time.
- How users find your website: GA’s referral sources overview walks you through the places that you need to focus on the most to get traffic. For example, suppose you get most of your traffic via LinkedIn. In that case, you need to have a detailed and dedicated LinkedIn content strategy to interact with your target audience there continuously.
- How users interact with your content: GA informs you how users interact with the content by presenting you with a percentage of users that have clicked on your pages, so you can focus your strategies on a particular type of content and avoid the tactics that don’t work.
Integrating GA within WordPress is fairly simple, especially with a detailed tutorial at hand (for novice users).
Strengthen the Security
Safeguarding your Divi website is one of the best ways to make sure you’re your business and users that visit your new site are safe. There are several aspects to keep in mind when securing your Divi website:
- Updates: You must keep the entire WordPress core, Divi theme, and plugins updated. There shouldn’t exist any hole or weakness that a hacker can use to access your code.
- Passwords: Never use simple passwords for your Divi website. A password ‘1234567891011’ is as good as not having a password at all. If you’re using too many passwords, make sure that you keep each password in a secure place restricted from unauthorized users.
- Logins: Make sure that you don’t allow easy access to the login screen of your website. Don’t allow hackers and bots a chance to guess your password and try to enter your site through a brute-force attack, and use a plugin that blocks these attempts.
- User Roles: Each user role and permission must be based according to preferences and required (or designated) access. Set the roles according to needs and restrict access to everything else.
- Backups: Make sure that you’ll have backups of your website on a secure server. Whatever goes wrong in the future, you need to ensure that everything will be back in place as it used to be, from theme customizations to plugins and content settings.
- Firewalls and SSL: A Web Application Firewall (WAF) forms a wall between networks to filtrate network traffic. The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encrypts links between browsers and servers.
- Security Plugins: A quality security plugin can enable you to scan your Divi site for malware and block suspicious IPs and users.
Make sure that you’re following the best WordPress security practices and that you’ll use the right plugins before you go live.
Update WordPress and Plugins
Using WordPress as the top CMS in the marketplace already simplifies your work in multiple ways, such as providing you with countless tools and options to develop, update, and manage your brand online, even without a detailed technical knowledge.
But still, like any other CMS, WordPress needs to be updated regularly if you want to ensure that your Divi website remains stable and that you can benefit from the latest features. Luckily, the CMS provides users with regular updates that enhance the platforms’ features.
Therefore, before launching your Divi website, check if you’ll be using the latest WordPress version and if everything is compatible. To learn more about WordPress 5.8 and its compatibility with Divi, read this article from Elegant Themes.
Test Browser Compatibility
While all browsers seem alike, they all have different code and handle web elements differently, which is why you need to make sure that your Divi website is compatible with every major browser before you publish it.
Seeing it how it looks from your browser is not sufficient to get a sense of how it will appear on different browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari. A great tool to help you with this purpose is Browsershots. W3’s latest browser stats reveal exactly which browsers you need to focus on. Throughout the testing process, you need to ensure that the layouts, fonts, navigation, and other elements of your site’s design are displayed properly on each of the browsers.
3. Conduct a Design and Layout Audit
When designing a website from scratch, it’s easy to miss something between the iterations that you go through. Therefore, you must scrutinize the design between each iteration, making sure that you’ll avoid mistakes along the way. The key aspects to pay attention to are: Spacing, Colors, Typography, Images.
The new design should welcome users and make them stay there. People’s attention span is short, and the expectations are high. Therefore, you need to consider whether the design is attractive and simple enough to retain users and keep them engaged. Use the following checklist for auditing the design of your Divi website before launch:
- Make sure that the pages are structured for easy understanding. Everything from the header to the footer should help the user navigate better on the page. When applicable, use breadcrumbs and links in your footer to help users navigate even better.
- Ensure that the density of your content doesn’t drive away visitors from your site. You’re your content properly with headers, media, and the right amount of white space.
- A Web Application Firewall (WAF) forms a wall between networks to filtrate network traffic. The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encrypts links between browsers and servers.
- Make sure that your website renders excellent on every device, whether that’s a desktop PC, laptop, smartphone, or tablet.
- Ensure that the visual elements and background illustrations share the branding style and create a smooth transition between sections of the page.
4. Examine Your Content
Content is one of the key aspects that separates your website from the rest. That’s why before your launch your new website, you need to proofread and ensure that your content is relevant and on point. In addition, you need to know and plan how you’ll provide value and actionable tips for your audiences.
After each content audit, you need to uncover:
- Methods for improving organic SERP rankings
- Identify the content pieces that have performed the best
- Specify topics that your audience prefers to learn about
- Pinpoint content gaps that you can fill to build up your sales funnel
- Discover pages with a low conversion rate, but a high number of visits
- Eliminate content that is no longer relevant for your business
Ensure that your content is free of grammatical, spelling, and factual blunders, and keep the content formatting coherent across all pages. For this purpose, you can use tools such as Hemingway and Grammarly. If you focus on content-first design, chances are that you already have your content in place, and you’ll want to focus on finetuning the work for your readers.
5. Ensure That Your Website Is Accessible
Your website won’t be only about style and content. You must also provide accessibility and great UX to all users. Accordingly, you must also make your website easy to interact with and navigate for everyone, including people with disabilities.
If you want to truly accommodate everyone, then your Divi website must be accessible to 90% of your potential customers, and to rank well in search engines, accessibility must be addressed. Here’s what you can do to ensure that your Divi website is more accessible prior to launching it:
- Study the W3C, WAI, and WCAG guidelines carefully.
- Install a WordPress accessibility plugin to detect accessibility issues.
- Ensure that your code is accessible to site visitors with screen-reading technology.
- Implement fonts and colors that don’t hinder the content’s readability.
- Create well-ordered and clearly written content.
- Test the website’s accessibility regularly.
Make sure that users can navigate on site with the keyboard, all your image files contain an alt text, headers are formatted correctly, and that your forms work as they should. To test the accessibility of your website, consider the following tools: WAVE , Tenon, Google Lighthouse, SiteImprove.
6. Make the Website Quick
So, your design is ready, you provide excellent content, and your website structure and UX are on point. But don’t launch yet. Not until you test drive your Divi website and examine the performance.
Speed and efficiency can make or break your website. Conducting tests will make solving every potential issue in advance much easier, and future optimization more straightforward in the future.
According to Google, you have about two seconds or less for your website to load. If the loading time takes longer than that, it’s likely that users will start to lose interest about your website.
Moreover, page speed is a significant ranking factor used by ranking factor used by Google and other search engines alike. The quicker your Divi site is, the greater the chances are to get better spot at SERPs.
However, as perfect as they are on their own, WordPress combined with Divi don’t exactly come blisteringly fast as a default. This is why you need to take certain steps to ensure that your loading speed is under 2-3 seconds.
- Run regular performance tests.
- User a reliable hosting provider.
- Update your theme and plugins.
- Delete obsolete and unused plugins.
- Install a powerful WordPress caching plugin.
- Clen up the website’s database.
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
7. Ensure a Mobile-Friendly Design
It’s a mobile-first world, and therefore, you need to consider the mobile layout of your new Divi website. Moreover, search engines consider mobile friendliness as a ranking factor, which means that mobile-responsive pages will always rank higher than non-responsive pages.
Your Divi website may come as mobile-responsive by default. But yet, you can do so much more to optimize your new website for smartphones before the launch:
- Have a Mobile-First Approach: Since 2016, Google announced that they’ll gradually progress towards mobile-first website rankings, which entails checking the website’s mobile version first, ahead of the desktop one.
- Optimize Imagery: Images files can be too byte-heavy, causing your page to load slower than text elements and HTML code. To ensure that your Divi website is mobile-friendly, you must optimize image sizes for mobile with tools such as TinyPNG or WPSmush.
- Use Google’s AMP: Accelerated Mobile Pages is Google’s open-source project that provides faster loading content for mobile devices. It allows you to create mobile-friendly content and load it everywhere on the mobile web, where the content will be readily available on Google search and social media.
- Test if your new website is mobile-friendly: Type the URL on your smartphone, and check if the navigation is simple, and the interaction with the other elements is straightforward. There are also plenty of tools and services available to check your website’s mobile-friendly design, including Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, W3C Mobile OK Checker, MobiReady.
- Focus on keeping CTAs front and center, menus concise, forms simpler, and the images expandable: For more information on how to achieve mobile-friendly website design that will adhere to Google’s mobile-first indexing priorities, please visit the following official guides: Mobile-Friendly Websites, Mobile Usability Report.
8. Have an SEO Strategy
If you need to focus on one single aspect before launching your new Divi website, you must make search engine crawlers’ job much easier on your site.
Having an SEO strategy matters mostly because it can help you stay accountable when creating your content, and make sure that you create what your target readers are searching for. If your content is disorganized, search engines will have great difficult time in indexing your website and identifying your expertise.
A key factor when it comes to your SEO strategy is mobile optimization, and since Google uses mobile-first indexing, your SEO strategy would be worthless without prioritizing mobile SEO optimization.
To set your Divi website for SEO success before launch, ensure that you’ll go through the following checklist:
- Examine your website carefully for duplicate issues. Regardless of how severe the duplicate issue is, your website might suffer from lower rankings.
- Don’t use the same meta description for multiple pages on your website. When a given content is found on various URLs of your site, it must be canonicalized for Google, which is most often done via the rel=canonical attribute or with a 301 redirect.
- Make sure that each of your URLs are search-engine-friendly. Examine the site and check if your URLs have a clear structure.
- Install an SEO plugin. SEO plugins come in handy when optimizing your site for search engines, and there are many beneficial plugins that can help your efforts, including Yoast SEO and SEO Press.
- Map out each keyword for your new website. This makes the future SEO activities more straightforward and ensures that your top pages target the right keywords.
- Check and fix broken links. Before you launch your Divi website, you need to check if there are any broken links that you’ve missed. This goes for both, your internal and external links. Fixing broken links helps you improve the UX of your site and improve search rankings in the process.
- Add schema markup to your content. That will let search engines know what your content is about and will help them present the content in SERPs in a much more user-friendly manner.
- Examine the UX, which is also important for higher SERP rankings. Google puts user experience as a key ranking factor, and thus, it makes complete sense to focus on delivering better UX with your new website.
9. Maintain Legal Compliance
Within every industry, there are rules, laws, and regulations that you must respect and follow. Thus, it’s more important than ever to ensure a complete legal compliance and respect consumers and the area that you operate in. Focus on the following:
- Ensure that you make a cookie notification to your potential and current customers.
- Make sure that you own license for every tool and media that you use on your Divi website.
If you’re selling to customers from the EU, you must also take steps to comply with EU regulations like GDPR.
For further information regarding the legal compliance of your website, it’s best if you consult with a legal counsel and ensure that you won’t miss a single aspect. As an addition to this, read some of our recent articles on legal, as well as GDPR and CCPA topics:
- 4 Must-Have Legal Pages on Your Divi Website
- The 4 Best WordPress GDPR Compliance Plugins
- You’re Welcome: 7 Key CCPA Compliance Tips
- CCPA Compliance for Divi Websites: What are The Rules
- Divi GDPR Compliance: How to Do It Smartly
When you’re launching your new Divi website, there are lots of aspects that you need to think about. Even if you’re expert at launching websites, you can’t be 100% confident that you haven’t forgotten something.
We hope that by the end of reading this article, you’ll be ready is to launch your new website, and that all that’s left is to earn your customers’ trust and grow your business. Good luck!
Have you ever launched a new website before? What was your experience? Which path did you take and what kind of challenges you face along the road? Let us know in the comments below!