4 Steps leading up to your website launch
June 17, 2019
Every business needs a website. It’s expected by your customers and it’s an essential channel to connect and develop your business. Not to mention, it’s a huge part of your overall marketing strategy. But chances are, you’re already aware of this and are working towards launching or rebooting your business’ website.
Your website is a touchstone that represents your business. For that reason, its appearance and ability are very important. And like with any kind of marketing method, a website’s release needs to be timed strategically and well publicized.
But it doesn’t end there. There needs to be a plan in mind to track analytics in order to understand how effective your website is in pulling in and converting visitors. Consider where they’re coming from, where they’re going, and why they’re going there.
1. Prioritize functionality over fancy features
Sometimes businesses are so focused on having unique sites and eye-catching visuals that they sacrifice the functionality and speed of their site. A page that takes thirty seconds to load some graphics might be a sign to rethink your priorities.
If you’re nervous about launching your website, you should also be concerned about what comes after. If your website isn’t equipped to handle the traffic from your initial release, not only is that a problem for returning visitors, but it also says a lot about your website’s ability to scale. Consider your website’s role in taking your business global.
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Additionally, a lack of speed will weed out even the most dedicated visitors. Not only will it affect the user experience, but Google also recognizes load time as a factor when ranking sites.
Along with minimizing heavy, unnecessary features, avoid roadblocks like popups or automatic video ads. They may seem like easy marketing tools to catch a few leads, but too much can be overwhelming and frustrating. A signup form, a helper bot, and a banner blocking your content could mean sayonara.
That being said, there should always be a form to sign up for your email list. It should be visible and creative, but shouldn’t harm the user experience. User experience should be your top priority in terms of your website’s functionality.
2. Build brand familiarity
Sometimes you have to flex your knowledge in order to gain authority and to pull in traffic. Writing relevant content and guest blogging can help readers “put a name to a face,” so to speak. Without recognition of your business, users may resist your website.
If you’re new to creating content, start with a few “How tos”, answer some burning questions or tackle some common mistakes. Aside from pulling readers in with these necessary articles, their keywords and phrases should be well researched in order to effectively pull in readers.
There’s a lot to SEO (search engine optimization). It’s not just about writing something interesting and posting it to your site’s blog; instead, search engines have specific algorithms for what appears on their results pages. Make your website easy to find by optimizing content.
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But your site’s connections aren’t just based on its content. Another huge way to make connections and build recognition in your industry’s online community is to link to your social media accounts and develop online and offline relationships with brands with similar values.
Especially for ecommerce sites, getting involved in the online community will help build a trusting voice. Use social influencers to help reach your audience. Your website can be a vehicle for proving your business’ knowledge in its industry. Ecommerce websites with any ounce of “sketchiness” tend to see less credit card numbers.
So, your content and connections should be well on the way before releasing your website. After all, a release doesn’t happen overnight. Amp up your connections pre-release in order to build a solid reputation.
3. Show them the way
Don’t overcomplicate things. Don’t assume visitors know anything about your business, or anything about websites either, for that matter.
Worry about getting visitors to your landing page. Your landing page is significant. It should be friendly, simple, and should state clearly what your business does.
It’s been a marketing strategy to have users dig deeper into the site to find answers, but are you actually seeing a return on investment? Most likely, the analytics you gain from these users don’t actually represent anything tangible other than poor planning and a lack of communication.
Aside from the simplicity of your landing page, visitors shouldn’t need a compass to navigate your site. Not that one would help much anyway, but you get the point. Navigation should be clearly laid out. No one wants to spend more time than they have to digging around for what they need. Have a simplistic layout with visible buttons and a table of contents that is available on each page.
4. Secure your team
Planning your website launch relies a lot on the organization of your team and priorities. Keep communication open and take the time to review the work before taking the plunge of going public. Communication is your best friend, both in terms of reaching the online community, potential customers, and developing as a team.
Your team can be one of the biggest challenges to hurdle, whether remote or in house, working with developers, writers, graphic artists, SEO, and social reps. Be sure to set up excellent communication lines prior to launching so that any issues can quickly and quietly be deescalated.
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By the time you’re ready to release your website, it should be tested and reviewed by fresh eyes.
Lastly, not getting the traffic you desire doesn’t mean your launch promotion failed. It’s an on-going process to be adjusted based on analytics. It’s just helps your team understand the interests of potential customers, the rerouting required, and the needs of the industry.