The Consultant’s Checklist for Launching Content

You’ve launched a brilliant new piece of content everyone is excited about. But a few minutes after it’s sent out into the big wide world, you realise you’ve forgotten to do something. Panic sets in, the phone starts ringing…

I’m guessing many of us have experienced this scenario. In a way, it’s easy to see why. We know pieces will go through rigorous quality assurance processes - checking functionality, browser testing and device testing, but there are other things a project lead needs to look out for.

Here’s a checklist every consultant should review before launch.

Tracking

Have you placed the correct tracking on the page?

For the majority of our clients at Distilled, this means ensuring Google Analytics (GA) or a Google Tag Manager (GTM) container is on the page. Make sure to insert the appropriate tracking code for your own site (Omniture, Coremetrics, etc).

If you’re not sure how to check whether analytics is set up, you have two options:

  1. Use the Google Tag Assistant Chrome extension. Simply load the landing page and run the extension. If GA and GTM are on the page, you should see smiley faces across the board. If you receive any error messages, click on the icon and drill down into why your tracking isn’t working.
  2. If you are using a different browser (e.g. IE, Firefox) or for another reason you’re not able to use the Tag Assistant, load the page and dig into the source code, then use the ‘find’ function to look for your Google Analytics tracking code.

Have you checked sessions to the landing page are reporting correctly into Google Analytics?

Okay, you now know tracking is on the page, but is it reporting correctly? Something as simple as the GA tracking code being commented out could be preventing this. Let’s open up GA and look at Real Time reporting.

This is the new page we have just created. Real Time Data is reporting as I visited the page so we are looking pretty good here!

Have you enabled remarketing for Google and Facebook?

I know what you’re thinking… “we’re not using remarketing at the moment, so this doesn’t concern us”. Even if you’re not doing remarketing right now, that doesn’t mean you won’t be in the future. Meanwhile hundreds, thousands or maybe even millions of future customers are passing through your content and may never be seen again.

Let’s plan for the future and whack some tracking code on this page. (I’m not going to talk you through how to do this because others have already done a great job. Paddy Moogan talks about how to implement Facebook remarketing over at Moz along with some pretty useful retargeting tactics, while Google already have excellent resources on how to get remarketing set up within Analytics.)

Social

Are you ready for social?

If you want to gain social traction, you need to make sure that social icons are appearing on the page. It is also worth considering which icons you require. Do you actually need every single icon?

It’s highly likely that your site will only need Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, but depending on your industry you may consider featuring additional channels.

Have you validated your Twitter Vcards?

When you post your content to Twitter, are you making the most of your visibility? Twitter Vcards allow your tweets to stand out from the crowd, so it’s pretty important to make sure they are in place. Twitter have various card types – if you are looking to use large images like the one below then you should try to use the Summary Cards with Large Image or the Photo Card markup.

To check the Vcard markup has been implemented correctly, once again dig into the source code of your landing page. Search the source code for Twitter and it should resemble that below:

<!-- Twitter -->
<meta name="twitter:card" content="summary_large_image">
<meta name="twitter:site" content="timsteashop">
<meta name="twitter:title" content="Do you think we make the best tea?">
<meta name="twitter:description" content="We have spent many years perfecting making the best cup of tea. We asked you">
<meta property="twitter:image:src" content="http://www.timsteashop.com/images/creatives/your-vote-on-our-tea/social/twitter.png">

What if you post the URL to Twitter and the card still isn’t appearing? Then use the Twitter Card Validator to submit your URL and check for any potential errors. If something has gone wrong with the markup you will see…

Or if everything is looking just fine…

Have you validated Facebook cards?

You want to make sure you are getting the most from any social shares you gain for your newly created page. Thus, you need to make sure social images are appearing correctly on Facebook. You can test this by sharing the URL on Facebook. Useful tip: if you don’t want the whole world to see your new creation just yet only share the URL privately.

My Facebook social image isn’t working, what’s gone wrong?

To help Facebook detect social images quickly, you can use the Facebook Debugger. Simply paste your URL into the debugger and if your page is marked up correctly you should see the following:

 

You’ll get a list of items which may require a fix from your developer, and at the foot of the page a preview of the card will appear on Facebook:

 

Are you referencing the appropriate Twitter handle in social copy?

This one is relatively straightforward but easy to forget. Quite simply you want to make sure that the brand is being mentioned in any social copy, making it easier to interact with those sharing the piece and to also leverage brand recognition for your wonderful work.

Does the embed code work correctly?

If your landing page has come with an embed code, make sure it works as expected when placed on other sites. To do this, copy and paste the embed code and paste it into the HTML of a page.

If the embed button creates a new page, is the page noindexed and canonicalized back to the content page?

The embed page you create is there purely for users and is of no major use to search engines, or users arriving from search engines so it’s best to keep it out of the index. Slap a noindex tag on the page to prevent this and - because it’s closely related to your landing page - add a rel=”canonical” tag as well.

Example:

www.timsteashop.com/how-tea-should-be-made-graphic is your actual landing page, you want this indexed!

www.timsteashop.com/how-tea-should-be-made-graphic-embed is the URL where your embed images can be found and, as a result, should canonical back to the actual landing page and have a noindex tag in place.

Redirects

Is there only one unique page?

This is pretty much SEO 101 but you need to make sure that you only have one unique landing page. This is worth being aware of particularly if things have been handled by developers that you have no direct communication with. You may see some of the following:

  • timsteashop.com/how-tea-should-be-made-graphic
  • www.timsteashop.com/how-tea-should-be-made-graphic
  • www.timsteashop.com/how-tea-should-be-made-graphic.html
  • www.timsteashop.com/promotions/how-tea-should-be-made-graphic

Make sure any alternative URLs that have been generated for your landing page are 301 redirects to the canonical version. This includes:

  • non-www vs www
  • file extensions (.html)
  • any unexpected sub-folders
  • sub-folder variations
  • http vs https

Are any links going to the correct, canonical version of the URL?

You don’t want to be pushing your traffic and valuable link equity through any internal redirects. If your homepage is https://www.timsteashop.com then make sure that you are sending users directly to that version of the page, not via the non-www or http version.

On Page

Is the company logo on the page?

Super self-explanatory but certainly worth a check, as it’s often the simple things that can slip through the net.

Does the company logo link to the homepage or another appropriate page?

Make sure the logo is linking to the canonical version of the homepage (or another appropriate page) and that any other URLs on the page are pointing to the canonical version.

Are all other links on the page working correctly?

Once again pretty simple, but check and double check that all links on the page are working and landing on the correct page. If you have multiple URLs on the page, rather than opening them individually, use Linkclump Chrome extension to easily open multiple links at the click of a mouse.

Is there a favicon?

First of all check within the browser that the favicon is appearing. It may be that you already have a site-wide favicon in place, so this issue may not be too much of a concern.

If not, double check the implementation is correct by opening up the source code and look for the following:

<link rel="shortcut icon" href="/images/specialicon.ico" type="image/x-icon" />

If your favicon still isn’t appearing then follow these tips to add a favicon to your page or site


That’s it! In our busy online lives, any of the simple steps can easily be overlooked and cause a whole world of frustration post launch. Is there anything you religiously check when launching a new promotional campaign? I would love to hear your thoughts, tools or further suggestions in the comments below.

Want to learn more about Distilled’s creative processes? Last month Hannah shared some of the lessons we have learnt and how, as a result, we have refined our processes, while Matt has previously showcased some of the exciting pieces we have got to produce.

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About the author
Tim Allen

Tim Allen

Tim joined Distilled in March 2013 after making a considerable impression upon Duncan and Tom Anthony by wearing a Panda jumper to his interview. Originally moving from Lincolnshire to London to study acting at Reynolds Performing Arts, Tim soon...   read more