Things To Check Before Launching A New Website
Launching a new site is always a tense time, wrought with anxiety and self-doubt. “Are all my images going to load properly?”, “What if the hosting goes down?” and other questions are likely to be flying around in your head. However, fear not! If you follow this checklist, you can rest assured that you will have covered the most important things before you go live.
Have you installed Google Analytics / Tag Manager?
Often overlooked by many web developers, this is going to be essential if you (or your client) want to see how their shiny new website is performing. Being able to measure tangible impacts on marketing campaigns and/or wider business performance means you can identify and duplicate what is working well, and refocus efforts where there is room for improvement.
Installing Google Analytics (or Google Tag Manager) is relatively straight-forward for the most part: copy the code provided from Analytics into the head of your website (ideally in something like the header that will appear on every page). If you’re installing Tag Manager, you’ll need to add a second piece of code just after the opening tag too, which is provided when you’re setting up your Tag Manager account.
If you want to check that it’s installed correctly, Google makes a fantastic little Chrome extension called Google Tag Assistant that will show you all the Google related tags currently installed, and if they’re working or not.
…and have you installed the tracking code for goals?
Even more overlooked is actually making good use of your new tracking abilities, especially if you’ve chosen to use Tag Manager. We recommend adding goal event tracking to the following parts of the website:
Contact Form submission, email links (header, footer and anywhere else on the site), telephone number (again — header, footer and anywhere else).
Also, make sure you’ve used “tel:” before phone numbers so mobile users can dial the number in one click. You can also add tracking code to download links (PDFs, Word Documents, etc).
Even if you don’t think the client is going to want them, do it anyway. Chances are when they’ve found their feet with the site, they’re going to ask you (or their marketing agency) how many people have clicked on their email/telephone/etc.
Is the site mobile ready?
This probably sounds like a fairly obvious one in this day and age, but you’d be surprised how many people overlook it. Load up your site on your phone (and tablet if you have one) to see how it behaves. Does the navigation function as it does on the desktop site? What about videos and images? How about contact forms? All worth checking, as the last thing you want is your client hitting the roof when they discover their new site is only friendly with desktops.
Tip: be especially on the ball about how your website appears on tablets — it’s a sometimes awkward size halfway between mobile and desktop that never quite seems to fit right unless done properly.
Has all other required tracking code been installed?
It’s not just Google Analytics or Tag Manager these days. Everyone’s getting in on the act. Facebook Pixel is a big one that many companies like to use, so it’s worth making sure you’ve checked if the client wants it added to save adding it later down the line.
As mentioned above, a good tool that allows you to install multiple sets of code into a website without needing to physically add-in the code is Google Tag Manager.
Set yourself a reminder to update the copyright year in the footer.
I can’t tell you the number of websites I’ve visited that still say ‘Copyright 2005’ etc. Don’t risk damaging your reputation (and looking like a fool in the process) by not updating all the sites you manage on, or as near as you can manage, 1st January each year.
If you’re using a platform like WordPress, some sites will automatically update the year, depending on how your theme was written. Others will require you to manually edit the date.
Using WordPress? Install Yoast!
Being one of the more popular website building tools, we highly recommend installing Yoast. It’s absolutely essential to have the SEO for your new site done properly, and Yoast is a tried and tested favourite of the Climbing Trees team.
How’s Your Page Speed?
Many developers tend to forget this until after the site has been built and is nearing completion. Your website might look awesome, have loads of images and really capture the audience’s attention – but if it takes too long to load, Google will NOT be impressed. Make sure you run your site through Google’s Page Speed tool to see where your website would benefit from some tweaks and improvements.