site launch checklistIn the rush to launch your campaign website, it’s easy to overlook little details or simple problems. Here is a quick rundown of things to check before you announce your website to the world.

This article reviews some important and necessary checks that should be made before a campaign officially launches their website.

For Online Candidate clients, clicking the ‘Help’ button on the upper right corner of the site admin will pull up relevant instructions for whatever section you are working in. 

Fill Out Your Site Settings

The Site Settings page in your Online Candidate admin covers all of the major website configurations, including form settings, page options, disclosure options and custom code insertion. As we’ve added features over the years, the page has become longer, but we’ve found it’s easier to keep everything in one place. Make sure you have all the sections configured the way you want before you go live with your site.

Titles And Meta Data

When creating your site pages, the page title is the most important element for SEO and is also important so that users know what’s on the page. Make sure your page titles are different on every page and that the title relates to that page’s content. The meta descriptions should also be short and to the point.

Proofread

Once you have your site content ready to go, check it over. Even if you’ve already read it, read it again. Then get someone else to read it. Someone will usually find an error. Streamline your text as much as possible. Break up large text blocks into shorter paragraphs. Add clear headings throughout, and use lists so that readers can easily scan the content. Don’t forget about dynamic text too, such as quote and alert boxes (which you can add by applying a style in the page editor).

Make sure your spelling and grammar, consistency and tenses are correct. Again, have someone you trust give your content a final read.

Call To Actions In Place

Don’t assume that your visitors will know what to do after reading a page on your website. They won’t. All of your pages should have a call to action. For most pages, this will be a reminder to vote on a primary or Election Day.  Calls to action also include volunteer or donation requests.

Links

Don’t just assume all your links work. Check them out by clicking on them. Sometimes people forget to add “http://” on links to external websites.

All Pages Added To Navigation

When generating your site, be sure to add any new pages you’ve created to your website navigation.

Search Engine Accounts

To ensure that your site is indexed quickly, you should create webmaster accounts on Google and Bing. You will need to verify your site ownership by adding a small amount of code to your site header. Setting up search engine accounts will give you access to additional search engine tools and site information.

Set Up Analytics

Add your analytics or other tracking code to the “Sitewide analytics or tracking code” box under Custom Code Insertion section in the Site Setup. Google Analytics is free and simple to set up after you have a Google Webmaster Account, but you can use whatever tracking service you choose.

Additional instructions on how to set up search engine accounts and analytics can be found in the Admin Help section.

Verify Your Email Accounts

Send a test message to all of your email address to make sure the accounts and forwards are working properly. Make sure the proper email addresses are assigned to your various forms, as well.

Refresh When You Go Live!

Once you go live with your campaign website, the temporary page will be replaced with your actual website. If you still see the temporary page after regenerating the site, try refreshing your browser. If that does not work, hold down the shift key while reloading the page. Sometimes browsers may cache a page for display and you need to force a reload.

The Online Candidate platform is powerful yet simple to administer. It was designed from the ground up specifically for political candidates and campaigns. We also offer our clients a number of additional services to help launch and promote their websites quickly and effectively. Learn more.

Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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