You are excited about your new shiny website. You wipe your brow and pat yourself on the back for finally getting down to it and actually launching your site…
But you are literally staring at a blank canvas, waiting to be beautified, to be shown off to the world, to be opened for business. If this is your first website, you are probably, and naturally so, freaked out about what to do now that you finally have it, in all its emptiness.
The next steps do not have to be too daunting. Here’s a checklist of the most important things to do and consider after launching your website:
Unless an experienced designer or digital agency has created your website it is likely to be only bare bones. It needs to be ‘beautified’ to ensure users have the best experience when they visit. Some of the essentials of optimizing your site for user experience include:
Before placing content on your site, make the site shareable by adding the appropriate social media share buttons. With platforms such as WordPress, installing social media share buttons can be done with plugins such as AddThis, ShareThis, or Easy Share Buttons just to mention a few.
Making your site shareable from the get go will encourage your very first site visitors to spread the word once you start publishing your content.
It is not enough to place share buttons on your site; you need to leverage the actual social platforms to get the word out about your site.
Naturally, the greatest challenge for new website owners is pulling in traffic. It is usually recommended that you start to publicize your upcoming website before the official launch to at least get some traffic trickling in as soon as you launch.
Whether you created buzz before the launch, you need to continue engaging users on social media and telling people about your site through word of mouth. Ensure that you are targeting social platforms where your ideal audience hangs out—this is your best chance to create awareness for your new site.
Developing content for your new site will be an ongoing process but you need to start as soon as possible.
There are a lot of paths you could take when developing content for your website—you could develop blog posts, a free e-book, white papers, long-form articles, videos, galleries etc. Your audience will determine the type of content you should develop.
As part of your content campaign, you also need to be strategic about how you will get this content out to the people who matter the most—your audience and influencers. So as you create your content, develop a distribution channel that will make your content visible both to the search engines and to your target audience.
One of the most effective ways to stand out from the crowded online world is to promote your new website in a big way. This does not mean that you need to put in a lot of money to create buzz. Simply set up a paid search campaign through Google AdWords and establish your budget.
The Google Display Network within AdWords gives you excellent opportunities to create any type of ads—image, words, video and more importantly, to choose your target audience through very comprehensive and audience-specific options.
When done strategically, a paid search campaign, targeted to the right audience, can generate plenty of visibility and traffic for a new website.
Even if your site has not started receiving significant traffic yet, it is important that you keep track of those first few visitors. Tracking user behavior in the early stages of your website launch will quickly provide you with insights into what needs to change and what should remain the same.
Google Analytics lets you track important metrics such as where your traffic is coming from and peak times i.e. when your site receives the most visitors. You can learn about the most viewed or searched content on your site and identify your underperforming pages; visualize the effectiveness of your online campaign and determine at what point people abandon the shopping cart. With the available data you can also determine the devices visitors are using to access your site so you can optimize for these devices.
What you do right after launching your website really sets the pace for your business. After putting in so much effort and time to on the website, it only makes sense to get it started on a high note and to sustain this pace if you want to remain competitive in the crowded and noisy online world. Do not wait for your ideal audience to find you; create buzz, bring them to your site and given them reason to come back often.