When developing a new website, most companies (or web development agencies if the project is not being done in-house) go through an exhaustive “Test Plan” or “QA Checklist” before the site is launched. This document tends to focus on checking for broken links, spell checking site copy, testing site features like search or online forms, verifying the presence of 301 redirects (on the old website), making sure the site is free of (CSS, JS, etc) errors, ensuring the navigation is consistent, checking cross browser compatibility and so on goes the list.
One of the areas that I believe that is most often overlooked when “QA-ing” a website before it is launched is verifying that the site's analytic and search engine strategies are in place.
- Have you created a new profile and added your analytic code to the new site?
- Have you setup goals and funnels based on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your website? (If not, how will you be able to prove to your boss the redesign was worth all the time and money the company spent on it?)
- Has analytic code been added to any 3rd party applications you are using? If not, are you at least tracking the traffic that is clicking over to your 3rd party applications/sites?
- Have you submitted your XML site map to Google Webmaster Tools and Yahoo Site Explorer so search engines can more effectively index your website? Have you also submitted your website to free directories like dmoz.org (which Google has a relationship with)?
- Have you thought through your meta-tag strategy? Search solutions that you use on your website and public search engines like Google evaluate meta tags when returning results and often use the page title tag and sometimes the description in the search engine results pages that your site visitors will need to understand.
So just because your QA team believes the website is free of errors and ready to be launched don’t forget to verify your analytic strategy has been addressed, and you’ve taken the necessary steps to make it easy for search engines to find and understand your new website.