You’re days away from launching a new or newly redesigned e-commerce site. Congratulations! Before you pop the cork on that champagne, use this list to start a conversation with your development partner to ensure you’re ready to launch.
1. Complete a technical SEO audit of the site before launch.
You’ve loaded all the inventory you plan to sell online. Your test transactions are functioning as expected. The e-commerce site looks perfect on mobile and desktop. Now, is your e-commerce site search-engine friendly?
Having a search-engine friendly e-commerce site is critical to your success. With a technical SEO audit, this is where you ensure that your site is easy for search engines to find and index. When you make your site search-engine friendly, you also make it easier for potential customers to find your products when using a search engine like Google.
Here are some of the items that a technical SEO audit covers:
- Page Titles: Every webpage, blog post and product page should have a unique title. Does every page have a title and does it meet best SEO practices?
- Page Load Time: Basically, how quickly does your website load? The goal is to have your website load as fast as possible. Every second counts.
- Redirects: Redirects are akin to “change of address” instructions you send to the post office. Redirects are a must if you’re launching a redesigned site; old pages of a site must be set to redirect to new pages upon launch. Are your redirects set for launch?
2. Complete a technical SEO audit on the day of launch.
Even if you just completed a technical SEO audit the day prior to launch, a post-launch technical audit will help you quickly identify any hiccups that occurred while moving the site out of development and into the live environment.
Questions for your development team include, but are not limited to:
- Is the site accessible to search engines or is it still marked “noindex” preventing search engines from accessing it?
- Is the website loading as fast as it was when it was under development?
- Are the redirects functioning?
3. Add analytics to your site.
Analytics is a must for e-commerce sites; these tools collect data about the people who visit your website, what they purchase, and the actions they take on your website prior to purchase.
There is a wide range of analytics tools available including free and paid versions of Google Analytics, Clicky, Kissmetrics, Adobe Analytics, and more. Regardless of what tool or tools you choose, ensure that what you’ve selected is set up properly and gathering the data you need.
- Do you have an analytics tool installed and ready to collect data upon launch?
- Do you and your team have full access to your analytics tool and your data?
- Is your analytics tool capturing data from live e-commerce transactions?
4. Draft a measurement plan.
Analytics will generate a lot of information, more information than you need (at first). Having a measurement plan will help you narrow your focus to a specific set of data points that you will need in order to optimize your e-commerce site. This is where kaizen goes digital and it all starts with analytics.
- Do you know the full capabilities of your analytics tool?
- Do you know how you plan to use analytics data?
- Do you know which data points you need to focus on to improve your ROI?
Analytics and continuous improvement go hand in hand. Your analytics data will tell you what the most popular pages and products are, where customers drop off in the checkout process, and what actions they take on your website prior to purchase. But it’s your measurement plan that will help you hone in on the data you need to improve your ROI.
5. Launch a marketing campaign.
Build it and they will come, right? Not necessarily.
Having a marketing plan in place for launch will give you a strategy and corresponding tactics for generating lots of traffic immediately upon launch as well as a plan to help you sustain and grow that initial bump in traffic you experience.
- Do you know how do you plan to get the word out about your new e-commerce site?
- Have you told your current customers, perhaps via an email marketing campaign?
- Do you have any press releases drafted?
While search engines can do some of the heavy lifting for you, it takes time for search engines to find and index new websites. If you want to see real results from e-commerce, you need a marketing plan to serve as your roadmap for generating traffic and transactions for years to come.
Claudia Pennington is co-founder & CEO of DIY Marketing. She is a digital marketer working with manufacturers, machine shopsand distributors, helping businesses generate more leads and sales with digital marketing and SEO.