6 Important checks before putting your new website live

“How is the new website coming?”

– ¬†“Yeah it’s gonna have to wait one more week, we’re working out the last details now.”

Sound familiar?

If you are a business owner or marketing manager and you have ever launched a new website or are doing it right now, this is probably a conversation you can relate to.

You hope everything is taken care of but every time you want to launch, you still run into problems and mistakes that need to be fixed.

Or someone on your team notices you forgot to implement something important.

Or….

An online marketing consultant tells you to optimize this and this and that before going live ūüėČ

Anyway, the deadline keeps getting pushed and pushed.

come-on-man-gifI ran into some of these hiccups and details myself when launching my own website.

I was able to fix and optimize my site BEFORE launching but I know that if you are reading this, chances are you are going live WITHOUT fixing this.

I thought I would help you while launching your website by showing you these six things that boost your SEO, social media presence and will increase your online advertising ROI.

In the list below, look out for these icons to know whether that tip is going to improve your SEO, Social Media or your Online Advertising:

improve your seo

improve social media presence

this will improve your advertising

Make sure these 6 things are¬†taken care of BEFORE¬†you launch your site so you don’t have to fix them afterwards or delay the process.

Let’s¬†get into those things¬†to remember when launching your new website:

Boost your SEO, Social Media and Advertising ROI with these 6 things

Here they are:

1) Perfect Facebook Open Graph Tags

improve social media presence

Facebook Open Graph tags (who, by the way, our friends at  Twitter and Pinterest will also pick up) are used to give Facebook information about your page when your link is shared.

In other words: they are what make your link pretty and attractive when it’s shared on Facebook!

sharing a link with optimized open graph tags on facebook
This is the preview when a link of my homepage is shared

You want to have at least an optimized image, title and description so when people share your link, the preview is attractive and on-brand.

perfect open graph meta tags
These are the open graph tags for hanskolbeek.com

bonus tip icon

Don’t just set¬†your Open Graph (og:) tags and forget about them. You are extra smart if you take 10 more seconds and use the¬†Facebook Open Graph debugger tool to check if and how your Open Graph tags are working. Because the first time a new page gets shared on Facebook, it won’t show the image you provided because Facebook has never seen it before.

verify your facebook open graph tags with the open graph debugger tool
Here you can see that you need to click “scrape again” twice to update your image

So the tip here is to fetch your page twice for Facebook to pick up your image so the first person¬†to share your page on Facebook doesn’t see a blank image with your link preview.

2) Set hreflang tags right for multi-lingual sites

improve your seo

These hreflang tags make sure that Google shows the right language version of your site to the right audience in the search results.

You don’t want to confuse visitors by showing them your results with the wrong language.

Even worse, you don’t want anyone clicking on your result and then leaving upset because he didn’t understand your site or had to change the language.

These things are all friction.

And friction is bad for the user experience.

We don’t want a bad user experience.

So for example, my website has 3 href lang tags:

  • nl-NL (a Dutch language version for people from The Netherlands)
  • nl-BE (a Dutch language version for people from Belgium)
  • x-default (an international version in English for anyone who doesn’t speak Dutch)
hreflang testing tool results for hanskolbeek
You can see the hreflang tags are set up correctly on my website

Remember to make sure ALL the pages in different languages and their equivalents are tagged with href lang tags so the proper site shows up for the right people when they search in Google.

Remember that the page needs to direct back to itself, too.

So your english website needs a hreflang tag to itself, next to all the other languages it has, or it will not work. (You can see this in the screenshot above, it’s taken from the hanskolbeek.com/ page and that page includes a hreflang tag to hanskolbeek.com/ itself, too.)

hreflang tags for international seo
these are the hreflang tags on my website, pointing to the Dutch version for The Netherlands (nl-NL), for Belgium (nl-BE) and the international version (x-default)

Test your hreflang set up¬†by¬†using¬†this free hreflang testing tool that will show you whether you’ve set up your tags correctly.

Or try searching from a specific country and language using the free tool isearchfrom.

Just set the country and language and google your brand name to see if the right language version shows up.

3) Set up your Facebook Pixel, Custom Audiences and Conversions

this will improve your advertising

If you want to get better return on your Facebook Ads than you MUST work with custom audiences.

First, you have to install the Facebook pixel on your site which you can find in your Facebook Ad Account.

But, you are not done yet!

The important part comes next:

Setting up Custom Website Audiences and Conversion Events.

Before you go live, you should already seperate your custom website audience lists in Facebook, so that when the first visitors hit your page you start building your custom audience right away.

facebook advertising custom audience set up
setting up custom audiences in my facebook ad account

You also want to set up conversion events from the start so again, you have that data coming in as soon as possible.

setting up custom conversion tracking for facebook ads
Just tracking one conversion for now but ANY action on your site deserves a custom event

The faster you gather that conversion data, and the earlier you set up your custom audiences…

The better you will be able to target and optimize your Facebook Ads campaigns.

And ultimately get a better ROI on your investments there.

4)¬†Set 301-redirects on url’s from your old website to your new¬†one

improve your seo

A 301 redirect tells Google that the page that was previously here now moved to a new location.

As you might know, Google values it when other websites point to you and talk about you by linking to you.

setting up 301 redirects from your old urls to your new urls
setting up 301 redirects helps Google to rank your new website better

If your page yoursite.com/your-best-page was very good and got some good backlinks to it, it was probably doing well in Google.

What you don’t want is that suddenly all those people linking to you are linking to a dead page.

This is what happens when you launch a new site and the content of that page moved from yoursite.com/your-best-page to yoursite.com/now-it-is-here¬†and you DIDN’T set 301 redirects.

Basically, making sure all your old pages get a 301 redirect makes sure your pages don’t lose any rankings in Google.

Any digital marketing consultant or SEO specialist will warn you for this but a lot of¬†webdesign agencies will deliver you a website with new url’s and just set the thing live.

It’s not necessarily the developers’ task to remember this so us digital marketers need to repeat this more often:

Set 301 redirects from your old url’s to your new ones!

5) Set up your Adwords remarketing lists

this will improve your advertising

Like your Facebook Custom Audiences, you want to set your AdWords remarketing lists ready before you launch.

Split up your website visitors in remarketing lists that make sense for your business.

setting up remarketing lists in Google Tag Manager of Google Analytics
You can set up remarketing lists through Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics or directly in AdWords itself (not included in this screenshot)

At the very least set up lists for people who converted, people who showed interest in your product or service (based on pageviews or time on site) and people who bounced.

Then, make these lists for the last day, last 7 days, last 30 days etc. That way, you can remarket to people who visited you very recently (1 day and 7 days) and also still stay top of mind for people who visited you a while ago (like 30 days).

6) Write relevant and attractive title and meta tags

improve your seo

Lastly, you should make sure your¬†meta title and description tag are optimized for Google’s search results.

You have quite a lot of control over how your page results will be displayed in Google and you do this by optimizing your title tag and description tag.

optimized meta title and description for SEO
The title tag and meta tag for my homepage hanskolbeek.com

Google will respect the title and meta description you give in unless it thinks it can provide a more relevant title and/or description for its users.

So if you write a good and relevant title and description, chances are that this is what the majority of searchers are going to see.

You don’t want to leave it up to Google to come up with the content of your search results like here:

google search result that has not optimized title tag and meta description
This is an example of an ugly search result

So remember to come up with a unique, relevant and attractive title and meta description.

Use this free tool to help you make sure you don’t go over the character limit and your title or description won’t be cut off.

Enjoy these tips my friends and happy launchingūüöÄ

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