Your Website Post-Launch Checklist
So your website is tested, live and running... but now what?
Forgetting about post-launch marketing and how to get people to your website for a second (that's a whole other story!); I'm talking about the housekeeping/technical checklist you'll want to go through and tick off in the days after launch.
Yes, the items are useful for SEO and marketing, but these are really the step before going through your actual marketing strategy - like preparation!
1. Get Google Analytics
If you're on Squarespace you'll have built in traffic analytics to show you what visitors are doing on your site and where they have come from, but Google Analytics is a much more powerful too with another layer of information. So if you're getting serious about stats and conversions, you'll definitely want to start getting to know GA.
I've written a post before about how to set up Google Analytics on your site in 4 simple steps for both WordPress and Squarespace users. Plus I've also written a tutorial for creating a 'vitals dashboard' to help you narrow down what data you see and help with the overwhelm!
2. Submit your site to Google search console
I'm not an SEO/Google expert, so I wouldn't be able to tell you exactly what all the functions on Google Search Console do, or why it all requires a separate website to Google Analytics... but I do know it's important to add your website here to help Google to 'index' your pages and to gain valuable SEO insights into your website.
Once you've logged in, you'll be asked to 'Add a Property' (aka a website you own) and verify your website using a range of methods, one of which is using Google Analytics, so follow the steps for this seeing as you've just set that up, right? ;)
Once your website is verified, you can edit the settings to change your language/country preferences and other things, but the main thing you want to do is submit a 'sitemap'.
A sitemap is a list of your website's pages that tells Google and other search engines how your site is organised and therefore how to read (aka 'index') it. This helps Google decide which pages of your website to display and where when people type search for relevant phrases/words in Google.
To find your sitemap if you're using Squarespace, you simply need to add /sitemap.xml at the end of your domain. So for example, you can find my website's sitemap at http://www.byrosanna.co.uk/sitemap.xml. You should see a page that looks like this:
It won't make much sense to you, but it does to Google!
If you're using WordPress, you can get a plugin to help you create a sitemap. You can either download the Yoast SEO plugin and enable the sitemap function, then you can click on the 'Your XML Sitemap' section and see a list of your sitemaps created for you:
Or you can download Jetpack and enable the sitemap on the settings there, and you'll be shown a list of your sitemaps:
So you then want to copy and paste your sitemaps into Google Search Console, by going to the Crawl > Sitemaps section and clicking 'Add Sitemap' in the top left hand corner and press submit!
It can take a long time for Google to read/index all your pages if you have a lot, so be patient. You can see the status of it in the Google Index > Index Status section.
If you're interested, all the fun stuff is in the Search Traffic > Search Analytics section! You can see exactly what search terms people are typing in to find you and which pages are getting the most hits etc.
3. Update Facebook, Twitter, Insta & Pinterest
On social media, you have the ability to add one website link to your profile, so don't forget to add yours! All you have to do is go to your profile editing settings and add in your website link - sometimes they may ask you to verify you own your website, but usually it's fine.
4. Update Google Business
If you have a 'Google Business' account (a great idea if you're a physical store or work specifically in a certain area!) you'll want to update your listing to add your new website.
Not only is this useful for people searching for your business to help them find all the new information on your website straight away, because it's owned by Google it'll gain some extra 'SEO' juice for normal rankings too.
(Also update your personal profile too! It doesn't matter if you barely use it, it's more Google juice and relevancy that all helps for the overall ranking of your site!)
5. Let LinkedIn know
I know LinkedIn is technically a social media profile as mentioned above, but it's a little different than just adding a website link. You can actually add a whole project section of your profile dedicated to showing off your new website if you wanted to!
Or you can add it as a link to your 'Experience' section to bulk out your current 'employment information' (yes it's still relevant if you are freelance or own a business - just use your own info here!).
6. Got a blog? Set up Your RSS
Make it super easy for people to follow your new blog or the 'news' section of your website by getting set up on an RSS feed reader like Feedly or Bloglovin'.
I've written up a step by step tutorial on how to do this before, so check that out and add some buttons to your site to make it simple for visitors to subscribe!