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14 Things You Must Complete Before Launching Your New Website

REVISED FEBRUARY 2019

Ever felt anxious, nervous, excited or completely overwhelmed about making a website live? I know I have and I'm sure it's a completely normal way to feel. Let's face it, the unknown is always a trigger for emotions to run wild.

So how can we tame these emotions and help turn the unknown into confidence?

There are plenty of ways to ensure the launch of a website is not only successful but has all the measurement tools in place to prove its "successfulness". Once your website has been finalised, content approved, design approved and everything flows and works as it should, then it’s time to look at the stuff that is going to make your website work and generate the results you’d hoped for.

Here are our top 14 points (in no particular order) to make sure your website is ready for worldwide domination...

1. Set up Google Tag Manager for your Google Analytics and ensure the snippet is in the correct location. Use Google Tag Manager to create tags to record events that aren’t recorded by default in Google Analytics – for example links that leave your site, docx/pdf documents, form submissions, mailto and tel links, social media shares etc. Set up more detailed tracking such as recording video views and tracking page scrolling.

2. Configure filters for your main Google Analytics view to exclude your internal traffic and the traffic from content editors/IT staff.

3. Create 2 extra Views of your Google Analytics Property

  • A view with no filters – this is to record all traffic to your site.
  • Test view – use this to test your filters, test your goals and to test your Google Tag Manager tags.

4. Immediately after site launch, add the site to Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools).

5. Ensure you have an XML sitemap and submit it to Google Search Console.

6. Ensure your images have been optimised - any images over 100KB in file size should be reduced to a smaller file size. 

7. Check that all your images have Alt Tags so that they can be found through Google Image Search. Make sure the tags are relevant to the image and the page it appears on - not just a generic alt tag for all images.

8. Check the Meta Titles of your pages and include terms relevant to the content of the page – create a Meta Description for each page or you will rely on Google scraping the right part of the content to display in search results.

9. Check every page has a single <h1> tag that indicates the main content of the page. This will help Google to display appropriate content in search results.

10. Check you have a robots.txt file and it is blocking crawlers from parts of the site you do not want crawled (CMS login pages) but allowing access to all other parts of the site. If you have a test site that blocks all indexing with robots.txt, make sure you don't deploy the same robots.txt into production (I have seen this happen more than once)

11. Ensure your site passes the Google Mobile Friendly test. Also use this page to Test Your Page Speed

12. Test your forms work correctly and make sure that they are going to the correct email address. Nothing worse than sending potential sales leads to an unmonitored test email address

13. If this site is replacing an existing site, make sure that you set up 301 redirects for your current pages. If you serve up a 404 for the URLs that are returned in Search results, you will lose all of your hard-earned search ranking.

14. Ensure that both www.yoursite.com and yoursite.com are operational and that all traffic is redirected to the same address.

You are clear for take-off

So everything that can be done has been done and you're feeling confident that your website can take on the world...good on you. Just make sure that you don’t sit back and relax yet. A good website should be promoted, updated and monitored regularly to ensure that you're delivering exactly what your customers want. Keep an eye on analytics and how your customers behave. Remember that you gather analytics in order for it to drive change (in content, page layout, functionality etc). Listen and react to customer feedback and most of all have fun and try new things...EXPLORE, EXPERIMENT, EVOLVE

We have done these tasks many times so if you need help with any of these 14 tasks, please Contact Cucumber