When launching any new website, there’s a few key items that you’ll need to make sure are buttoned up to make “going live” as smooth as possible. Each hosting platform has their own unique process but or the most part, each of the follow items carry through for any proper launch. My list is based on my preferred Wordpress Web Hosting platform, WP Engine, and their standard operating procedures when it comes to getting your website live and technically sounds for traffic and growth.

Add Your Primary Domain and Link to Staging Environment

Whenever a website is being constructed, purchasing a proper domain (www.businessname.com) is key. During that new build, your website sits in a “staging environment” which is essentially a construction location that is de-indexed by search engines and off the map until your site’s domain is ready to be set. Users will access your new website by visiting your website’s address which will display the front page of your new site when your primary domain is added to your environment.

Configure Your Domain’s DNS Records

With each domain, your registrar (manages reservation of internet domain names or “addresses, examples include GoDaddy and others) will need to be accessed to configure your domain name server records, specifically your “A Record” and “CNAME” Record. Your A Record serves as a connection from your domain to an IP address, which is provided for each hosting and staging environment. It tells your website host to “show this page” when someone enters your domain into a browser. Your CNAME aka “Canonical Name” is used to connect one domain name to another. For example, a CNAME can map a connection from www.businessdomain.com to businessdomain.com (both using the same IP address)

In short, DNS records ultimately connect your domain to your website’s hosting environment.

Configure Your SSL Certificate for Additional Site Security

Every website needs an added layer of security to facilitate an encrypted connection between site visitor and server. An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate is free with a WP Engine hosting plan and serves as a secure protocol for exchanging information on the internet.  This is reflected in the “HTTPS” and lock icon you see at the beginning of all secure site urls in your browser.

Google began penalizing sites without SSL’s as far back as 2014 as a “weak ranking signal”, making it paramount to make sure your website is covered.

Update Website URLs

Now that your domain is pointed at your new website environment with a secure connection, you need to make sure all instances that your domain appears now reflects the new domain. For example, if your staging site used the url mybusiness.staging.com while under construction, you’ll need to make sure all internal links within your Wordpress environment are located and replaced with the new domain.  Simple tools like “Better Search Replace” can be implemented to expedite this exercise into a few clicks.

Also, if you’re going from an old subdomain or implementing a new domain all together, you’ll need to let search engines know where the new site lives. Setting up permanent redirects within your .htaccess file is preferred in order to “redirect” traffic to your new location.

Now that your site is fully “live”, you’ll want to start driving traffic by optimizing each of your site’s pages for search engines  (title tags, meta descriptions, etc), creating sharable content that includes prime keywords within your industry, and using social media advertising to engage and discover new potential customers that have already shown interest in your businesses through previously visited websites, and internet activity that fits your target audience.

Contact me today to learn more about how your business can navigate the web in 2021 and beyond using your website as the main hub to attract, engage, and convert users into customers and grow your business with trackable, scalable metrics.