The launch of a new website can be very stressful. There is always something that you might have overlooked or forgotten to take care of, and it could mean the difference between success and failure.
To help make your job easier, we’ve compiled a list of tasks for you to complete before launching your site. This checklist will ensure that no important steps are missed.
Table of Contents
Perform an Initial Website Audit
What is a website audit? It’s a comprehensive diagnosis of a website, mainly for SEO purposes. In a few minutes, an audit will tell you all you need to know about your website’s performance in regards to its SEO potential.
Here is everything you need to know about a website audit:
- It’s the first step to take before launching your website.
- You can do it in a few minutes, especially if you hire an SEO agency to do all the work.
- The results will tell you about how well your site is optimized for search engine ranking purposes.
- You’ll receive actionable insights regarding critical errors and areas of improvement to improve your website’s ranking.
If you want better rankings, then this is an important tool that should be part of your checklist.
Make Sure All of Your Site’s URLs Contain the Necessary Keywords
What are URLs? They’re the web address you type into your browser to visit a website.
Why is it important that they contain keywords? Search engine crawlers will be able to find and rank your site with ease if all of its URLs include keywords, which means more traffic for your site in terms of SEO purposes.
Make sure page titles, title tags, headers, and meta descriptions all contain your targeted keywords to allow for better indexation from search engine spiders.
Perform a User Experience (UX) Audit
What is a UX audit? It’s a review of your website, checking for usability issues and common user experience mistakes.
This checklist item should be on every list because it’ll help you identify any potential design flaws that might cause users to leave the site before they complete their desired tasks.
If there are too many clicks, pages that load slowly, or if search capabilities aren’t intuitive then these are all things you need to address with this tool.
Create an SEO Strategy in Writing
What should the SEO strategy contain? It’s a document that contains everything you need to know about how your website will be optimized for search engine rankings.
This includes on-page optimization techniques, content marketing strategies, link-building tactics, and more.
If there is one thing you take away from this long list of checklist items then it should be that an SEO strategy needs to exist in written form if it isn’t already.
There are many pieces of advice here for planning out what might happen when your site goes live so make sure you have an outline or something similar ready to go before proceeding with anything else on the checklist.
Create a PPC and Social Media Strategy in Writing
What should a PPC and Social Media Strategy contain? Basically, it’s the same thing as an SEO strategy in terms of documentation.
However, this strategy will focus primarily on social media engagement and paid search instead of search engine rankings since social media sites have their own ranking algorithms that affect how your site appears to potential visitors who are looking for certain information or products.
If you don’t know much about these two different types of online advertising then take some time to educate yourself before moving forward on any other checklist items here. You’ll need all the advantages possible when launching a website so be sure not to skip ahead without first reading up.
Setup Website Analytics and Tracking
What should a website analytics and tracking strategy contain? It’s all about the data.
One of the first things you’ll want to do is set up Google Analytics on your site so it can track how visitors behave while they’re browsing around.
Once that’s done, then you need to start thinking more strategically such as setting up conversion optimization or running retargeting ads in order to generate leads without spending too much money on advertising methods like pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns or social media posts that don’t convert into actual sales for your business.
Google Analytics provides a full suite of analytical tools to help you make accurate decisions to improve the performance and ROI of your website.
Create Schema Markup for Your Website
What is Schema markup? One of the reasons why Google ranks pages in search results higher than those without schema implementation is because it helps to provide more information about your site’s content by using structured data.
This includes things like reviews or ratings, contact details, geographical location, and much more.
You can use this list item as a way to find out what type of metadata you should be including on each page so that visitors get an even better idea of what they’ll find there before visiting for themselves.
Gauge Website Speed
It’s the time it takes your site to load in a visitor’s browser.
If you’re not paying for hosting, then this might be something that you have control over by upgrading to a more expensive package or switching providers.
For those who are on shared hosting providers, however, there isn’t much you can do other than choose wisely when selecting an affordable provider as well as making sure your server configuration and settings are optimized so that things don’t slow down while running.
Setup Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a webmaster tool that is quite handy for SEOs. It also allows for search engine spiders to crawl your website and point out any errors along the way.
In order for your website to be indexed and ranked, you’ll need to create a Google Search Console account (which can be done with a standard Gmail account) and claim your website as a property.
Once you’re done, you’ll need to submit an XML sitemap, which is basically a blueprint of your website to aid search engine spiders. Depending on your web hosting provider or CMS, obtaining a sitemap shouldn’t be too difficult.
Google will communicate any indexing errors if something goes wrong and if there are broken links and pages.
Proofread All Content
This is one of the most overlooked parts of SEO launch preparation.
It’s imperative that all content on your website be clear, concise, and without any errors, before it goes live to ensure a good first impression with visitors who might benefit from what you have to offer.
It doesn’t matter how well-structured or optimized your site will be if people are turned off by reading through poorly written text because they can tell right away that there isn’t much care put into it.
Proofreading your content can also help to identify duplicate content issues, which can cause SEO and crawling errors.
Optimize for Mobile Devices
You should be aware that Google is now penalizing websites that are not mobile-friendly.
It’s recommended to use a responsive design, which will automatically adjust the content so it fits the width of any screen while still maintaining an optimal viewing experience for visitors on their desktop or smartphone.
Mobile devices have surpassed desktops as being a more popular way for people to access the internet nowadays and without optimizing your website for them you’ll be missing out on potential traffic from those users.
Set Up a Link Outreach Plan
Link building is vital for success in SEO.
You can use a free link prospecting tool to find sites that might be willing to work with you by linking out to your website from their site.
There are many, but two of the most popular tools include Hunter and Buzzstream (a paid service).
It’s recommended that you focus on getting links from smaller websites rather than those belonging to big brands because it will have a higher chance of producing results – if they’re interested at all.
That being said, this technique should only be used as part of an overall digital marketing strategy instead of relying solely on one tactic or another like some people do who end up forgetting about what else must happen in order for your website to rank.
Make Sure all Website Links are Working
It’s recommended to either test all links on your website before launch or set them up so that they’re automatically checked at a certain interval.
This is because broken links can lead to crawling errors which will prevent search engine spiders from finding and indexing new pages, leading to slower site ranking growth.
If you use Google Search Console, it has built-in link checking functionality that will tell you if there are any issues with the page(s). This way it’s easier for anyone who doesn’t know how exactly these things work to identify and fix potential problems.
There are also free tools and premium external tools that can help in this regard.
Test Your Forms
Another overlooked part of SEO preparation is making sure that all forms on your website, whether they be contact submissions or lead generation forms, are working properly.
It’s recommended to have a developer test out any form development and submission processes before going live so you can make changes if necessary.
Form validation errors should also be eliminated as these may turn away potential leads who might not want to put in the time filling out an entire form only for their information never to reach its destination due to something technical that could’ve been identified beforehand.
Create Your Legal Pages
It can be difficult for people who are new to website building in general so if you’re not sure about how or where to place these things, try looking up instructions on different platforms like WordPress and Tumblr.
Creating a page with contact information is also important because that way visitors know their options should they need assistance while browsing through the site content.
Secure Your Website
It’s important to take steps in order for your website to be more secure.
The first thing you can do is make sure that there are no unnecessary files, folders, or pages on the site (something as mundane as a webpage with an error message).
You should also check if all plugins and extensions have been checked by their developers for bugs and vulnerabilities.
Lastly, it’s recommended to install a content delivery network such as Amazon CloudFront so that any server location issues will not affect visitor experience when they’re browsing through your site content.
Create a Backup Policy
It’s recommended to have a backup policy in place that will dictate the steps of what should happen if something goes wrong with your website.
This could be anything from backing up important files on an external hard drive or creating offsite backups, whichever you feel more comfortable doing for yourself.
It also might not hurt to think about how you’ll replace any lost data and content so that people who visit your site can find all their favorite pages again without having to do too much digging around (which is why many websites use archiving tools).
The most common way of automating this process is by using content hubs which are reliable but often cost-prohibitive for small businesses.
Hire an SEO Agency
If you’re not sure about your SEO knowledge or the time to put into it, hiring a professional is an option that can be considered.
An SEO consultant will help with all aspects of search engine optimization and building such as keyword research, onsite content development, link acquisition tactics (both manual and automated), targeting social media channels for traffic flow generation etcetera.
It’s recommended to get in touch with those who are more experienced so they may provide insights based on their previous successes which might seem daunting when looking at a list of tasks from scratch.
Contact Us Today!
Conducting a pre-launch website launch process can be a daunting task if you’re on your own. With that said, let us help. Contact us today to speak to a member of our team to see how we can help.
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