Congrats, you got a new site! Now what?
Whether you have already launched your site or you are planning to build a website soon, there are some things that you absolutely must do to set your website up for success. Some of these items may be covered by the developer you are working with, so you will certainly want to check on that. However, if this is something they do not do, make sure you take the time to do it yourself!
1. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free tool offered by Google that gives you insight into how many people are visiting your site, how they are getting there, and what they are doing once they are there. Analytics is the gateway for you to understand what visitors are doing on your site and how they find you! This information is invaluable as you consider marketing campaigns and growing your business. Every single website should have Google Analytics set up, and ideally, you should be looking at this on a regular basis.
Once you have set up your Google Analytics account and verified it, you will want to set up a reporting view and complete the following:
Exclude traffic from bots & spiders
Exclude your IP filter and the IP filter of anyone else that works on your site on a regular basis
Set up goals to track on-site conversions
Ensure the time zone is correct
After this, I would recommend running a monthly report on this view to measure how much traffic is coming in, where they are coming from, and what is converting. You can set up custom dashboards within Google Analytics that can measure all the KPIs that matter to you, and additionally, you can compare performance on a monthly or yearly basis.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) is also a free tool that offers you a direct line of communication with Google. From GSC, you are able to submit your sitemap, so your website can get indexed sooner. With this feature, it is easy to see if there are any warnings, errors, or penalties from Google about your site. You also gain additional insight into how people are discovering your website.
Make sure that you submit your sitemap(s) as soon as you set up this account, and then check in on this at least every month to ensure Google is re-indexing your site and monitoring for any warnings.
3. Implement Your Metadata
First, you probably want to know what metadata is. Metadata, in the world of digital marketing, is your page title and meta description. These appear on search results pages and tell search engines, such as Google, and other potential visitors what your site is about. You should customize this information to ensure you are appropriately positioning each page on your site and also utilizing value-added keywords to help your site get discovered!
Here is an example:
Depending on your website platform, the way you edit this information will vary, but here are some best practices to keep in mind:
Keep your page titles between 50-60 characters
Ensure that your page title describes what the page is about, without including needless characters, (i.e. the, in, a, etc.)
Ex: Men’s Running Shirts
Include your company/brand name at the end of your page title to increase brand recognition
Ex: | DICK’S Sporting Goods
Limit your Meta description to 50-300 characters
Make sure your meta description is clear enough to help any potential visitors understand what is on the page and ensure that their expectations are met
Include a call-to-action when appropriate
Ex: Log miles in style with men’s running shirts. Shop the best selection of running shirts, tank tops & zip-ups from brands like Saucony, Nike, and Mizuno
4. Start Tracking Visitor Behavior - Heatmapping - Insight into Conversion Rate Optimization
HotJar is a heatmapping tool that you can implement in order to visually see what people are doing on your site, how far they are scrolling, what they are focusing on, and where they are clicking. This tool is free for tracking up to 3 pages, with 1,000 pageviews/month. There are upgrade options available if you wish to track more.
This tool allows you to see if visitors are exposed to the most valuable information on your site or if they are missing it. It also allows you to see how people are navigating through the site, which allows you to make informed and relevant decisions on any design changes that are needed on your site.
The image above demonstrates an example of a scroll heatmap from HotJar. If you look closely, you can see that not all visitors are scrolling to see the section of the website labeled “What our users are saying.” If this is a key piece of information on your website, the page should be reorganized so that this information further up the page where more visitors are spending their time.
This list only touches on some of the foundational aspects of what you should do for your site after it is built. There are many more options involved in building websites, moving to new platforms, and rebranding. Please contact us with any questions!