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25 Feb 21

A Quick Checklist Of What To Do Before Launching A Website

Irwin Hau | Web Design

Launching a new website is a pretty pivotal and exciting moment. The start of this journey probably dates back quite a few months ago, and it’s understandable you’re ready to get this over and done with. To help you finish strong, we’ve compiled a quick and helpful list of things to double-check to ensure everything is order. We’ve also thrown in a few tips at the end to help you when you refresh your content in the future (come back for a visit anytime).

What we cover in this pre-launch website checklist

  • Setting up a Google Maps API Key
  • Setting up Google Analytics Code and some good goals to track
  • Uploading a thumbnail image for your website 
  • How to optimise imagery & video 

Why You Need A Google API key

Sadly Google is no longer free for the masses (it was only a matter of time). The digital giants have decided that businesses who use Google Maps or YouTube videos on their website, will need to pay for use of their software. Fair enough. Each business must create their own unique  identifier (the Google API key). Through this, Google can assess and track your usage from the amount of views it receives. There are a few more steps involved to creating this key, to ensure that it is secure and that other businesses cannot access your key to their advantage. This is  important if you use a Google map of your address or locations on your website. We’re talking the dynamic ones you can play around with and take you to the Google Maps app when clicked. Strictly speaking, if you’re using map JPEGs, this is irrelevant to you. 

How To Create A Google API Key

  1. Log into Google Cloud Console & create a business account
  2. Link your company credit card (or any billing account they can charge to)
  3. Go to the API Library and enable Google Maps Javascript API (for map), Places API (for store locators), Youtube Data API (for videos)
  4. In the left sidebar menu, click on “APIS & Services > Credentials”
  5. On the Credentials page, click on ‘Create Credential”. 
  6. Click ‘Key Restrictions’
  7. Select the various HTTPS / HTTP links to cover all your website URLs
  8. Copy and paste your website URL
  9. Click ‘Restrict Key’ and select the options from the dropdown (options enabled from Step 3)
  10.  Click Save. 

You can check in as often as you like to see the data usage of your map on your website. Also to ensure Google has not incorrectly charged you (highly unlikely, but still no harm in taking an extra measure). If desired, you can also set a dollar cap on map usage, in the billings section of the Google Cloud Console. 

How to paste your Google API Key into your website

  1. Log into the backend of your website
  2. In the sidebar, click ‘Global Options’
  3. Click Site Keys and there you can paste your Google API Key. 
  4. Click Update.
  5.  

How To Set Up Google Analytics Code

Why should you set up GA code for your website

We don’t rate guesswork when it comes to making business decisions. To avoid this, we recommend setting up Google Analytics day 1 of your launch. There is a host of metrics you can switch on and will pull in data regarding how users are purveying your site. Reviewing this data every few months will give you concrete evidence as to which pages are performing / underperforming, where potential customers are falling off etc. 

It’s free yet incredibly invaluable. So don’t do your business a disservice!

Let’s dive in and set it up 

  1. Create a Google Analytics account and sign in (Click ‘Start for free’)
  2. Set up a ‘property’ in your account (which is essentially your website address)
  3. Set up a reporting view in your property
  4. Add the tracking code to your website
  5. Set up the goals you’d like to track. 
  6. Download the Analytics app and check in to see how your website is doing.

 

Helpful guide to selecting the right goals to look at 

Keep it manageable.

Total Number of Page Views in Session
Google tracks the number of pages each visitor sees before they bounce off. This is helpful for you to understand if people are flowing through your site into the deeper pages with more specific content. If you find those pages are not getting views, it is potentially time to revise the content on the previous linking page, or to review the structure of your sitemap. 

Duration Visit Goal 
You set a goal time. Then Google will record down every user whose session surpasses that set amount of time (eg. 3 mins) Your goal should change depending on the kind of information you house; if you’re an information hub with lengthy articles, you will hope for longer sessions, however if you’re a emergency help service, you would be aiming  for shorter sessions. 

Specific URL Destinations
Each time someone jumps on a specific page, they trigger the goal which is tracked. This is ideal to see which of your pages are receiving the most traffic and views, so you can optimise them to include more of your conversion CTAs on that page. 

Click to Call  / Email
Set goals for when users click on their phones to call you or shoot you an email. This is particularly relevant and helpful for overlaying against your marketing campaigns or website content updates, to see what has been more effective and what has fallen short of impact. 

 

Social Media Thumbnail Image For Your Website

This is the image you see when you share your webpage to social media sites (eg. Linkedin, Facebook). It’s important to make an impression, so you don’t want a blank square, where instead a shot of your amazing team could sit. 

Let’s get you ready to share your website to your socials!

  1. Log in to WordPress and click on your homepage. 
  2. Look in the bottom right corner for ‘Featured Image Section’. 
  3. Replace with a shot that inspires confidence
  4. Hit up the YOAST section at the very top of the page
  5. Expand and edit the meta description for your page (this is the 2 lines underneath the image)
  6. Click save and hit update! And you’re done! 

 

Optimising Imagery & Video For Your Website

You’ve received your stills from your latest photo shoot and you want these on your website. It’s important to refresh your content if you strive to stay relevant and keep customers coming back. 

How To Optimise Imagery For Web

Resize your imagery if possible. You do not want to drag and drop the 24MB RAW file straight from the folder. Generally subpage banner images should be 1920px wide, and smaller images can range from 300px – 700px wide. You can do this by editing the ‘image size’, (not the ‘canvas’). As an example, you want to shrink your 6720px wide image to a 640px wide image, if that’s the size of the frame on your website.

Once it’s the right size, you can then optimise it further to reduce the file size further. This will help your website speed stay fast. 

Hop on tinyjpg.com and drag and drop your files. You can drop in 20 files at a time, as long as they are under 5MB. Differently proportioned images will come out different sizes, but a good one to aim for is <300KB per image. 

 

How To Optimise Videography For Web

Video is a wonderful way to draw in attention and keep them there for 10 seconds. But if not handled well, can be a really drainer in website speed. For a 10-15s video, it is ideal for it to be under 5MB. If it’s significantly chunkier than that, it will lag your website load and your potential customers might not have stuck around to even see the video. 

When optimising a video, simply download the free software ‘Handbrake’. The one with the snazzy Pina Colada and pineapple logo. 

  1. Drag and drop your video file anywhere within the Handbrake editing tool
  2. Click Audio tab and remove the audio file, if possible
  3. Click the Video tab Drag the slider of ‘Constant Quality’ to about 20-24. 
  4. This genuinely does the trick, but feel free to play with dimensions too. 
  5. Hit export and voila!