Before launching your next Drupal website, there are many things you should do before launching it to the world. Here are the 5 most important boxes to check before launching your next Drupal website.
1. Create Redirects
Redirects are a critical component to any new Drupal site launch. Most Drupal upgrades include a revamp of their information architecture and site navigation. For every webpage that you migrate, you should have a redirect from the old URL to the new one. This will ensure that Google knows your page was moved and that your site is not broken.
There are several useful modules to help you with this:
- Redirect - The redirect module helps setup and manage redirects in your Drupal 8 website.
- Path Redirect Import - Allows you to create and import a csv file of redirects. (Be sure to disable before you launch your website!)
The last thing you want is for search engines to think your site is broken when all of the pages it knows about start returning 404's.
2. Run a broken link checker
Before launching your next Drupal website, be sure to run a broken link checker. This shouldn't just check for broken links, but also links pointing at your development, test or local environments. Drupal has a 404 report available OOTB, but it only shows 404's that people have tried to access.
Not sure how to run a broken link checker? Check out Screaming Frog.
3. Update Core & Modules
Security is often overlooked when teams are rushing to get sites launched. It is likely that your website has taken weeks or months to build. In this time Drupal is likely to have released security updates for core and/or contributed plugins that you are using. Be sure that your development team reviews and updates Drupal core & contributed modules before your site is released to the public.
The last thing you want is for your site to get hacked, be sure to keep up to date with updates on at least a monthly basis.
4. Acquire & Configure an SSL Certificate
Be sure that your team is using a hosting provider for your Drupal website (like Pantheon or Acquia) that will auto configure your SSL certificates or that you have acquired/purchased an SSL certificate from your DNS provider (GoDaddy, Network Solutions, etc...). Securing your Drupal site is standard in today's world. Your users and search engines expect your website to be secured and will look negatively upon your site if you are not.
Some additional security modules we recommend:
- Security Kit - Provides several security configurations for your Drupal 8 website.
- Login Security - Allows advanced configuration for user logins.
- Password Policy - Allows advanced configuration for user password management.
- Two-Factor Authentication - No one likes to manage multiple passwords anymore!
Stay tuned for additional blogs related to this topic.
5. Perform Cross-Browser Testing
Be sure that your Drupal website is tested across browsers and devices before showcasing it to the world. This is especially important if you are planning to put any marketing dollars behind the launch. You want to ensure your website is accessible to the widest range of users across devices.
There are several tools available to support with cross browser/mobile responsive testing. Google's developer tools provides a good start, but if you are looking for a full suite of browsers, check out a service like BrowserStack.