By Dan Romanski
When it comes to teams, everybody has a specific position that caters to a different part of the common goal. During a website redesign, this couldn’t be more true.
From the beginning, a Senior Consultant/Project Manager, Designer, Developer, Content Specialist and Marketing Technologist work with the client to analyze the old site and plan the new one. Goals are discussed. Calls to action and navigation are discussed. A content strategy is discussed. Every small detail is covered so the process is as smooth as possible. Once everything is in place, it is time for the different positions to break off and start working on their tasks.
While the Senior Consultants are the main point of contact and oversee the project, the Designer and Developer plan and execute the look of the new site and the Content Specialist reviews the content strategy, what is the role of the Marketing Technologist? As a Marketing Technologist, here is what I do during a website redesign.
Create a Redesign Workbook
In the beginning of the website redesign process, I am making sure I have everything I need to do my job during and after the redesign. Before I start gathering this information, I build a simple workbook in Excel to keep track of it all. This workbook will contain the sitemap of the former website so I can set up the redirects, as well as login information for the client’s accounts, including:
- Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools
- Other CMSs, e.g., WordPress, if they are using one
- CRM such as Salesforce
This workbook will also contain on page items such as H1s, images and metadata. It is important to remember that this is a living, breathing document and will go through many revisions before the end.
Once the initial shell of the site is built and the site copy and images have been approved by the client, it is time to start populating the site. I work closely with the Senior Consultant and Developer during this process. Together we make sure the content, CTAs and links are added to the site correctly. Page by page, we input the content and determine the paths visitors will take through the navigation.
Throughout the building process, I am constantly referring to the workbook we built. I am copying H1s and metadata for the different pages, as well as tracking the urls to help with the final 301 redirects.
Testing and Go-Live
The pages are built, the content is in and everything is linked together. As a Marketing Technologist, it is my job to make sure this is true. Before we go live with a new website, I make sure it is ready through rigorous testing. Not only will myself and my team review the new website, but I will also ask a couple other people who have not been involved in the project to go through and click on every link, download every download and jot down any issues that arise.
When it is time to go live, it is a good idea to have the whole team ready in case something happens or doesn’t look right. To begin the process, I copy the new CNAME address from HubSpot and email it to the individual responsible for updating it in the DNS settings. Once this CNAME change is verified the new site begins to propagate, which could take up to 24 hours. As this completes, the team clicks through the newly live site to verify it transferred correctly, reporting and fixing anything that might arise in the propagation.
The teams’ hardwork has paid off and the site is live, but the job isn’t done just yet. After the team has decided everything is live and working correctly, I follow a Post Go-Live Checklist:
- Remove NO FOLLOW HTML tag from Sitewide Header HTML area
- Add Google Analytics Code to Sitewide Header or Footer HTML area
- Add Google Webmaster Tools to the Homepage Header HTML and Verify in Webmaster Tools
- Input the redirects from the old site to the new
Completing these allows the site to be found and catalogued by Google and other search engines, tracked using Google Analytics, and the former URLs to point to the new website.
My job is not over, even after the Post Go-Live checklist. Aside from the building of lead nurturing campaigns and maintaining the flow of leads through marketing automation and lead scoring, there are a couple items I keep my eye on: Google Webmaster Tools and HubSpot Page Performance reports. Completing these reports on a regular basis, ideally once a month, will help ensure there are no errors with the site moving forward.
What other items should a Marketing Technologist be aware of when working on a website redesign? Share your ideas in the comment section below.
photo credit: boxman