Columnist Janet Driscoll Miller outlines the steps you should take pre-launch and post-launch to ensure a smooth transition to a new website.
So you’re going to redesign and relaunch your website. Congratulations! That’s certainly a major undertaking. But before your relaunch is live, you may want to perform an SEO audit, just to be safe. A proper SEO audit identifies potential SEO pitfalls prior to launch, giving you time to get issues fixed before you replace your current website.
Unlike a general SEO audit on your website, an audit for a relaunching site is a bit of a different animal because you’re looking at and comparing two different sites: the old site versus the newly designed site. Relaunch audits also come with their own set of challenges.
Many of the tools used to perform an audit require a website to be accessible on the web to scan the site, but when you’re doing a redesign, the new website may be hidden behind password-protected gates or may be on an internal server, inaccessible to these tools.
When performing a relaunch audit, I break it down into two main pieces: pre-launch and post-launch.
While you can certainly wait until after the relaunch to perform an SEO audit, wouldn’t it be better to catch most of the SEO mistakes before your new site goes live?
While I don’t redesign websites myself, I’ve worked with many clients who engage with web design firms. If the web design firm isn’t on retainer and you don’t catch SEO issues prior to the relaunch, you could be faced with additional costs after the relaunch goes live to fix any newfound SEO issues.
So, tackle most of this (if you can) in a pre-launch audit while your web design firm is under contract and the content management system (CMS), files, images and more are already being edited. It’s just a more efficient and frugal approach.
Your pre-launch audit should, at minimum, cover:
- Analytics review
- Technical review
- Content review
- Link review
Some audits may go deeper than these five points, but these are a good place to start.
1. Analytics review
As you relaunch the website, you’ll want to be sure that your web analytics continue to seamlessly track from the old website version to the new version. It would be terrible if you were pulling year-over-year data, only to find out later that your tracking wasn’t consistent! Make sure your analytics tracking code is on every page of the new site and that it’s programmed correctly.
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