Interactive Content Launch Checklist
The time has finally come. You’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into your most recent content piece, and it’s ready to be packaged up and sent to the client to be pushed live. After a few final checks and only a handful of back and forth emails, your shiny interactive now sits proudly on the client’s domain, eagerly awaiting that inevitable surge of links and traffic.
Talking of traffic, it’s at this point you realise you’ve completely forgotten to include any tracking. Sh*t. You’ve no choice but to sheepishly approach the devs for help (who are now sick of the sight of you) and send over anotherversion of the files to the client (now named awesome-interactive-REAL-FINAL.zip).
Building links these days is hard. Your content needs to be of exceptional quality, unique, and presented in an aesthetically pleasing way. This often means creating larger, interactive content pieces that sit on your client’s domain, and anyone who’s worked on these projects knows that it can be a very lengthy and stressful process, way before you’ve even reached the outreach phase!
As such it’s easy for minor details to be missed, but there are some essential checks that you should be carrying out before you send it off to the client.
1. Google Analytics Tracking
GA tracking should exist on every single one of your content pieces. It’s essential for gauging its performance over time, as well as being a great way to spot coverage as it happens through the real-time referrals report.
Further to this, you could look at implementing scroll tracking and events to track performance at a more granular level.
2. Hreflang Implementation
If you’re going to be translating your content into multiple languages (and you really should if your client serves them), don’t forget to implement the correct hreflang attributes.
Yoast recently released a comprehensive guide if you’re not familiar with it, and Aleyda’s tag generator gets things done quickly.
3. Meta Data
An obvious one but often overlooked. Don’t forget to add a decent page title, meta description and headings.
4. Remove ‘noindex’
It’s not unusual for devs to include a ‘noindex’ directive on the page during development, so don’t forget to remove it before going live.
5. Internal Linking
The majority of the coverage will be linking back to your content piece, so don’t forget to include internal links through to the relevant pages on your site to help pass on some of that link equity.
6. Favicons/Apple Touch Icons
Tiny files, tiny explanation. Don’t forget to make a favicon/apple touch icon or reference your client’s main one on the page.
7. Open Graph & Twitter Cards
People will (hopefully!) be sharing your content on social media, and when they do it’s important that they stand out from the crowd. Twitter Cards along with Open Graph allows you to create rich objects with titles, descriptions, imagery and more.
8. Cross-Browser & Device Compatibility
While you have of course built this interactive with mobile at the forefront of your mind, it’s always worth a few final checks around how your piece displays on multiple devices. During a recent content piece of ours, someone pointed out that while it looked great on desktop and mobile, for users with ultrawide monitors there were ugly gaps on the edges. Wide and high res monitors are becoming more prevalent, so test on this where possible.
Likewise, you’ll want to make sure it looks good across the main browsers. Something that looks great in Chrome might not look great in Firefox (or FussyFox as our devs call it!).
Speed is of growing importance, and if your content piece doesn’t load quickly enough, people won’t hang around. This is particularly important during the outreach phase when you only have a short amount of time to make an impression.
Take a look at Google Lighthouse when it comes to benchmarking, as it’s regularly being improved.
10. Test Embed Codes
If your interactive is embeddable, always check the embed code thoroughly. Bear in mind that if you are using an iframe to do this, you want any links back to your client’s piece outside of the frame.
11. Social Sharing Button Copy
When including social sharing buttons, always prepopulate the buttons with decent copy and the correct URLs, being sure to @ in any Twitter accounts you want to be mentioned as well as including hashtags.
If you’ve used various sources to research your content piece, make them easy to find. People looking to cover it will want to check where the information or data has come from and making the sources easy to find adds credibility. If you’re trying to hideaway your sources, you’ve probably got bigger things to worry about.
Some of these may seem obvious, but with projects spanning multiple months, they’re often easy to overlook. Carrying out these checks before you launch will no doubt save you from infinite headaches further on down the line. If you like the satisfaction of ticking things off by hand, feel free to print off this handy graphic.