Before removing your ‘Site in Progress’ landing page, review this 7-step checklist to make sure your website looks sharp and ready for the world to see.
In this article:
1. Add SEO Data on Each Page and Post
Search Engine Optimization aka SEO helps search engines such as Google read your site better. It tells them what your site is about.
There are several options for integrating SEO into your website. I recommend using an already established plugin. I’m currently using Yoast SEO.
For each page you create, be sure to add a:
- Focus Keyword
- Page or Post Excerpt
- Featured Image
By doing this, you create a better sharing experience for your content. Here’s what happens when you share my website:
2. Resize and Optimize Your Images
Before uploading your images to your site, resize them as small as possible to fit your image placeholder.
There are several plugin options for optimizing your images. However, I prefer to optimize before uploading an image.
Many themes create multiple sizes of each image you upload. Even sizes you may never need. This consumes extra server space and is unnecessary.
A rule of thumb for uploading images is to only upload the smallest size needed for your placeholder times 2 for hi-res images.
For example, if you have a placeholder that’s 350 x 350, you should upload 700 X 700.
Doubling the size allows your image to be viewed in higher quality on devices using high-resolution displays. If you only need the image as 350 pixels, you don’t want to upload a 4500 px x 3800px image size. That’s excessive, wastes space, and can cause your site to load slower.
My favorite optimizer is Tiny PNG. They have a web-based, free version for quickly uploading and compressing.
My workflow includes resizing the image locally with a program such as Faststone Image Viewer and then dragging the file into the Tiny PNG box.
TinyPNG optimizes and compress the image. I then download and upload to my site.
3. Write Alt Text for All Images
As you are uploading images, add the alt text to your image information.
Alt text specifies what an image is by showing you the alt text if it does not load. It’s also important to help those who are visually impaired. By creating alt text, you allow screen readers to identify your images.
Here’s what it looks like in the WordPress Media Dashboard:
4. Add a Favicon
This is sometimes an overlooked aspect of a website but one you should add!
A favicon is that small image you see at the top of a web page browser tab. It’s also the same image used as an app icon when you click “Add to Home Screen” from your phone web browser.
It looks like this:
You may not even realize you see them all the time. They are another part of “branding” your business.
Many themes these days have a place for you to add your favicon. If not, you can add it yourself easily.
Here’s a quick guide to creating and adding a favicon to your website.
5. Install and Implement a Caching Plugin
The quicker your site loads, the better interaction your potential and future clients have with your business.
You can use either free or premium plugins as most options do a great job of caching. I use WP Rocket on more frequented sites.
On sites where the client doesn’t need to pay for a premium option, I use a combination of Autoptimize and WP Fastest Cache or WP Super Cache.
6. Add Analytics
Analytics allows you to see how visitors interact with your site.
You can see data such as how many website visitors you have, what they are doing while on your website, how long they stay, and how long it takes your page to load for your visitors.
These can be used to better understand what pages and posts work well and what’s not performing as well.
The most well-known option for analytics is Google Analytics. If you prefer something less intrusive for your visitors, try Fathom Analytics.
All you need to do is add small piece of code to the header and body of your website.
7. Submit Your Site to Google Search Console
Once you are happy with all your pages and ready for the world to find you, you need to submit your site to be indexed by Google.
Since you’ve used an SEO plugin, your sitemaps should have already been created for you. Test it out by typing yourdomainname.com/sitemap.xml
Check out this guide on adding your site for Google to index.
Following these steps will keep your site in the search engine game. Your site will be optimized, fast, and tell search engines what you’re all about.