10 Things to Do Before ANY Website Launch [WordPress Edition]

1. Install Google Analytics + Setup Dashboards

Track everything.

You need to make sure you’re tracking ALL of your website efforts.  Google Analytics is extremely easy to install (especially on WordPress).  The setup can be done by viewing this link:

Google Analytics Setup for WordPress

Basic HTML Analytics Setup

Once Google Analytics is installed, you’re not going to want to spend HOURS navigating it.

With Dashboards you can get a bird’s eye view of EVERYTHING.  Within minutes you can view all of the data points you need.

Oh, and our favorites are below.  Just log into Google Analytics and click the links below:

General Analytics Dashboard

SEO Dashboard

Social Media Dashboard

Geo Dashboard

Mobile Dashboard

Entrance / Exit

Tech. Dashboard

This will add the dashboards to Google Analytics where you can access them at any time.

2. View Your Site on Desktop, Mobile and Tablet

Before you go live, it’s imperative you view your site on all platforms.

I can’t tell you how many times clients have had beautiful desktop sites, but their mobile counterparts were, well…counterintuitive.

“51.3% of all web visits last month came from mobile devices compared to 48.7% of visits from traditional computing platforms.” – BGR.com

Keep it simple by viewing your website on a desktop computer.  For mobile, use Google’s Mobile-Testing Tool to check out your rating and have your developer make minor tweaks to make sure your site is up to par.

3. Install Facebook Pixel and Event Tracking

This MUST be done before going live.  The Facebook Pixel is extremely important to future marketing efforts.

What is the Facebook Pixel?

“It’s used to drop a cookie that will track visitors on your website so you can advertise to them later. This is called retargeting.

Once you advertise to past website visitors, pixels can also be used to track their behaviour when they’re back on your website. This helps you measure the effectiveness of your ads.” – Shopify

The pixel is crucial to any Facebook ad strategy.  You can use the pixel to retarget customers, target visitors who visited your site, but didn’t purchase and SO MUCH more.

For directions on getting it installed, check out the link below:

Facebook Pixel Implementation Guide

4. Setup Google Search Console + Submit Sitemap

Search console is a tool that helps you monitor and maintain your site presence in search results.  In other words, it’s a cheat sheet for knowing what Google wants from your specific site and making changes to increase rankings and uncover things that need work on your site.

If you have Google Analytics installed, it literally takes SECONDS to install Search Console.  Once installed, follow these steps to add your sitemap:

Adding your sitemap to Google Search Console

XML sitemaps serve as a way to communicate directly with the search engines, alerting them to new or changed content very quickly and helping to ensure that the content is indexed faster.

5. Test Website Speed

Testing the load time of your website speaks volumes to your user.  If your website is bogged down and takes too long to load, the average user will be out of there in a jiffy and onto your competitors website in seconds.

You need to be sure that your content loads quickly so users can breeze through with minimal downtime.  We check load time two ways:

1. Via Google PageSpeed Insights

With PageSpeed Insights you can identify ways to make your site faster and more mobile-friendly.

Google will also provide issues on your site which can be fixed by a few WordPress plugins or by your web developer.

2. Via Pingdom Website Speed Test

This tool rocks!  I like it a bit better than Google’s tool because you can test your website load time from servers around the world.

This is especially important for web owners who perform outside of the US.  Testing your site is easy.  Just pop your URL HERE and watch it work its magic!

6. Download a Backup of Your Website

Every website owner needs to backup their website prior to launch.  There are several ways to do it.  For WordPress, the most popular platform, it can be done in just a few steps using BackUpWordpress.

This plugin is simple to use.  Essentially, you:

  1. Install BackUpWordPress either via the WordPress.org plugin directory, or by uploading the files to your server.
  2. Activate the plugin.
  3. Sit back and relax safe in the knowledge that your whole site will be backed up every day.

You can download the plugin for FREE right HERE

7.Optimize Title Tags + Meta Descriptions

So, you’re site is ready to go live, right?

Well, you think so.

If a web developer is working on your website, you want to make sure the page architecture is prepared for launch.  You should have great Titles and Meta descriptions to entice users on search and provide a quick snippet of what your website provides.  Here’s an example:

As you can see the title includes our site keyword and the description has a one sentence recap of the services we provide.

According to Moz: Google typically displays the first 50-60 characters of a title tag. If you keep your titles under 60 characters, our research suggests that you can expect about 90% of your titles to display properly.

Also, Meta descriptions can be any length, but search engines generally truncate snippets longer than 160 characters. It is best to keep meta descriptions long enough that they’re sufficiently descriptive, but shorter than that 160-character limit.

Make sure these are tailored for every page on your website.  With WordPress, download the free plugin Yoast.  It has a section on each page which can be used to fill in your keyword, Title and Meta Description.  Yoast will even grade your efforts!

Download Yoast, right HERE

8. Check Page Content for Calls-to-Action

You’re developing a website for a reason, right?

To create conversions.  It’s a good idea to make sure there’s some type of call to action on each page.

A call to action’s purpose is to cause your user to perform an action.  Whether it’s download an ebook, call you or complete a form.  You want to be sure each page has some type of action.  These can include:

Chat Messenger

Call to Action Banner

Subscribe Pop Up

Downloadable Content

These don’t need to be blatant.  The more subtle, the better.  Users want an organic experience.  They don’t want to be bombarded with mediocre content.

If you’re promoting a blog, make it simple for users to download a doc or PDF by filling in their email.

9. Check Page Images Include Relevant Alt Tags

Image tags are severely overlooked!

For any image on your site, the alt tag should describe what’s on it. Screen readers for the blind and visually impaired will read out this text and thus make your image accessible.

When Google bots crawl your web page, they don’t see images.  All they see is HTML text.  By optimizing image content with Alt Tags you’re helping Google rank and prioritize your content.

Alt tags provide better image context/descriptions to search engine crawlers, helping them to index an image properly.

Be descriptive as possible!

Bad: “Ironman”

Better: “Ironman Locked in Battle with Ultron on Manhattan Skyscraper”

To add alt text, it’s simple!  When uploading image content on WordPress, place your text here:

10. Test Form Completions On-Site

The last item to complete before your launch is testing form completions on your website. If you can’t receive email inquiries then what’s the point?  This can be done by simply completing all forms on your site and seeing if they are received.

If not, work with your developer to get your forms activated.  Here our favorite plugin:

Best Contact Form Plugins

Well, that’s all folks!  If we missed anything, let me know!

Keep in mind our client lists are more robust.  We just wanted to provide a basic walkthrough of what you can do to have a smooth launch!