Module 7: Launch
Now is a good time to do some very important housekeeping to ensure you have everything in place to ensure a successful website launch.
Firstly, a few quick points about Google.
Search Engine Optimisation is not an overnight solution to your websites problems. It is a journey and one that only needs to be taken in small steps in order to see big returns. However, in order to be able to look back and benchmark your results, there is one important thing you need to have in place first – Google Analytics.
Now you could choose any analytics service and there are certainly a lot to choose from, but it is Google Analytics that I will be referring to and using for the program and the steps provided. Don’t worry, the steps you will receive throughout the program can be measured by any reasonable analytics package. The important thing is that you choose one and commit to it. One of the reasons I suggest this is that if you switch analytics programs you will not have data available to do historical reporting against.
If you don’t have a Google Analytics account, head on over to the below URL to sign up.
Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools is a console that allows webmasters and website owners to check indexing status and optimize visibility of their websites.
You don't have to sign up for Search Console for your site to be included in Google's search results, but doing so can help you understand how Google views your site and optimize its performance in search results.
A site that's active in Webmaster Tools has a better shot at being fully indexed and ranking well. There are also a number of deeper insights from Google Webmaster Tools that can be leveraged to improve and maximize your SEO efforts.
If you haven't set your site up on Google Webmaster Tools yet, getting started is quick and easy. Once you've signed up for an account, login to the Google Webmaster Tools dashboard. From there, you're able to add your site and go through the setup process.
Submit your site to Google
Submitting your site to search engines is certainly not mandatory as your website will eventually be found, crawled and indexed. However, why wait? Submitting your site to search engines only takes a minute and is good due diligence.
To check if your site is indexed and what pages have been indexed for search, simply go to google.com and type “site:yourdomain.com” and hit search. All pages indexed will show up in the search result for the domain name entered. This not only works on Google but most other search engines too.
For example, if you wanted to see what pages Google has indexed for the Cnet website, you would enter site:cnet.com into the search field.
There are many ways to monitor your blogs performance. Let’s take a look at why it’s important.
Elements of performance
We should kick off by defining the elements that make up your blog’s performance.
When we talk about performance, we’re referring to:
- Site and page load time
- Uptime statistics
- Page size, or weight
- Mobile accessibility
Monitoring and testing tools
There are a number of online tools available to check the performance of your blog. Best of all, they’re free. Let’s have a look at a couple.
GTmetrix is a terrific tool that analyses all aspects of your websites loading behaviours and provides its findings in a well laid out report. They offer a Pro (paid) subscription that provides deeper analysis more detailed analysis report, alerts and a lot more however, you should find the free performance report more than enough to get you started.
Google PageSpeed Insights
Similar to GTmetrix, Google PageSpeed Insights analyses all the elements of your webpage and determines where you can improve the page load and response times. It also analyses the URL you provide from the view of both desktop and mobile accessibility. It then generates a report suggesting ways you can make the page load faster.
Would you know if your website was offline? Website monitoring tools such as Site24x7 and Pingdom does. Uptime monitoring tools such as these are continuously monitoring your website, if it goes does or offline then you receive and alert, usually SMS or email. These kind of reporting tools provide a valuable insight into not only your websites uptime but the performance and reliability of your website hosting provider.
Interpreting the results of these kinds of reports can be a little tricky as they do tend to use technical jargon. However the Google PageSpeed service does provide some handy and helpful user tips and advice to help you get the most out of the report.
If you are running a WordPress powered website, there are a number of plugins that can improve the speed and page load times of your website such as “WP Super Cache” and “W3 Total Cache”.
Depending where your primary audience is located you may also want to consider using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) service such as MaxCDN.
- Maintenance mode is turned off and site is accessible
- Google Analytics is active and tracking confirmed
- Google webmaster tools is active and site has been verified
- Keywords have been defined for all pages and posts
- Descriptions and summaries set for all pages and posts
- Site functions correctly on a mobile device
- Content has been proof read and is free of typos
- There are no broken links
- Images have ALT tags and descriptions
- An XML sitemap is available
- Images have been optimized for size and speed
- Forms submit data correctly and work
- Logo is visible and linked to homepage
- Email auto responders work correctly
- There no pages with the same (competing) keywords
- A copy of the website has been made for backup
- Regular backups have been scheduled
- Favicon has been created and displays correctly
- Type styles have been used for headings etc.
- Social media accounts are visible
- Footer includes copyright and link to site creator
- Uptime monitoring is in place
- Subscribe to mailing list options tested
Module 7 – Tasks and Actions Worksheet (PDF file)