Launching a website is stressful, I get it. I’ve got the ultimate website launch checklist and we’re going to review that today. When it comes to SEO, you have a footprint. Google has a history with your website.
All the pages that you’ve ever created. What you have now, the backlinks to those pages. It’s all part of your reputation you’ve built up over time. What happens when we get all excited about launching a new website is we forget about all that history and we start all over like a brand new baby.
We lose all of our backlinks, we lose all of our histories and we start all over again. We don’t want to do that for SEO because that legacy, that expertise over time means a lot to Google. When we go to update our website, we get so excited about the look and feel that we forget about the legacy that we have to maintain.
Today, we’re going to talk about the website launch checklist. Before you launch, you must go through this process to make sure that you maintain those legacy links and pages. We don’t want to start all over when we launch a new website.
There are 3 critical elements in a pre-launch strategy. After you have it all designed, hopefully, you’ve made it findable with my instruction and you’re ready to flip the switch. There are some very important components that need to be done.
We’re going to talk about this in 3 different stages. The first stage is before launch. Those are all the flips, the levers, the switches that we need to make sure we’ve covered before we ever even turn the website on. The next one is going to be after you launch. What are all the things you need to check after you launch? Then of course what do you need to watch after launch.
Let’s talk a little bit first about before we launch. Remember that we have this backlink profile. All the people that have linked to our website. Our blogs, over time. This is where my website launch checklist which is downloadable here, comes into play.
We’re ready for phase 1 which is pre-launch. You have a backlink profile, you’ve got all these pages that Google knows and has memorized, we don’t want to lose those.
HT Access Redirect
One of the most important things is you want to make sure that you do something called HT Access redirect. That’s HT, access, redirect, or just a redirect document. The geek in your life will know how to create this.
But what’s important is you take all the old pages that aren’t on your existing site and you map them to the new pages at your site. You don’t want to break those links, you want them to be passed.
It’s more or less an Excel spreadsheet with all the old pages, all the new pages. You pop that upon the host so that when you launch your site, you don’t lose those connections. You pass the juice if you will from the old pages of the new pages.
One of the most common issues I see is people pull the whole website down. They delete a bunch of pages to simplify or clean up. PLEASE DON’T DO THAT, instead archive them. Do not ever delete any pages, I can not stress this enough.
Archive them or point them to their new variant on the new site. But don’t delete pages, it’s a big no-no because you have those…
It would be like if you were a professor, you had all these published works. You go to a new university and you don’t tell them about any of your old work. You’re starting all brand new. You don’t want to look like that especially if you’re launching a brand new website.
You want your ranking to continue to go up, and if you just start. I always kind of cringe because you say, “Oh, we deleted a bunch of pages. We simplified it. We have a nice clean look.” And that’s when I’m like, “Oh, no.” Because they’ve literally started from scratch all over again.
Make sure you have those permanent redirects that are ready to go.
Also you need to do something called an XML sitemap. This is what talks to Google and makes sure that Google sees every single page on your website. When you launch it you get credit for all the old pages as well as all the new pages.
People, really I think they have Google Alerts set up correctly but they don’t. We go to Google Alerts and make sure you’re tracking your website name, all of your key figures in the company, any respective products. Then keep an eye on what they are saying about those particular phrases and people in your company.
Make sure you’ve got Google Alert set up. But the trick with Google Alerts is to make sure you have all the phrases that you want to track in quotes. So, you only get that exact reference in your Google Alerts, very important.
The next one is a tool I call mention.com. It will watch and monitor all of the social media comments about your company. Just like Google Alerts for web results. Mention.com lets you listen to everything that’s being said about your company.
You might want to consider a listening tool like mention.com, there’s a lot of other ones that you can use as well.
Let’s talk a little bit about the platform that your websites are on. A platform is like WordPress. There’s also Drupal, there’s Joomla. There’s a lot of different platforms out there and whoever you’ve hired to build your website has their favorite. Make sure that before you flip that switch that you’ve gone through the checklist with them and they’ve made that correlate with a platform you’ve decided to launch on.
I’m going to talk about WordPress for a minute because it is the most prolific and most used CMS platform. But whatever you do, check these things out.
Now, with WordPress, you’re going to update all the plugins. You’re going to make sure you have the latest update of WordPress. 2, really important plugins that you want to think about using. One is Yoast, like toast. You put butter and jam on. But it is Yoast. YOAST or SEO all in one.
What this will do is when you launch your new website and you’re trying to optimize it for one specific keyword, you get all green lights if that keyword is in all the right locations on the website. It’s really helpful, you get red yellow or green light, it’s fantastic.
You just follow the rest of the things that are recommended on our website launch checklist. Having high-quality conversations with your web developer before the website has ever launched. So, you can maintain your authority from your old site to your new site.
Don’t drop the ball before you launch our new website. Make sure to download the checklist, before you launch your website. That you make sure all of those little tiny details that are so important to Google get addressed.
If you are interested in learning more about how we can help you use the link below to book your FREE hour call with me