Launching a website is easy….
…If that’s what you’re thinking as you come to get your site off the ground, we’ve got some advice for you:
Because to launch a website properly in a way that really produces the results you need, there’s a lot that needs to be done.
Just wait until you see our 2018 website launch checklist. It may be a long one, but trust us, every last item on that list is vital to the success of your web presence.
Stay with us as we run down the most important steps to launching a successful website in 2018 before diving deep to explain the hows and whys of each one.
PAGE CONSTRUCTION & CONTENT
1. Use Google Webmasters to Submit Your Sitemap, Fix Errors, and more…
….Google provide a range of free tools that you can use to make sure your website is fully equipped to be indexed and ranked by the company’s search bots.
Of these tools, the search console alone is the first and most important one to use. Here, you can not only submit your sitemaps but can also submit your entire website in Google’s index.
From there, you’ll find that Google webmasters is divided in several sections and sub sections, each with its own useful set of tools.
The status section will show you website errors, server connectivity, the status of your domain name server, and whether or not Google fetched the robots file correctly.
Next, we come to sitemaps. The fact that Google provides an entire separate section for these shows just how important it is to submit yours, so if you haven’t done that already, go take care of it now before we proceed.
These tools, and others, are divided into four major sections. You can find explanations of each at the following links:
- Search appearance
- Search traffic
- Google Index
Familiarize yourself with each one and put the tools to good use in making sure your website ranks as high as possible in Google search results.
2. Read Content From Your Visitors’ Perspective. Ask – Is it compelling enough?
Though other factors play a part, your content plays a critical role in attracting visitors to your site and keeping them there.
Be sure then, to check, double check, and check again that the content on every page of your website is compelling enough to keep visitors engaged.
Keep in mind that whilst the quality of your content is vital for bringing in visitors in the first place, it is this engagement that is most important, especially when it comes to improving your Search engine Ranking Position (SERP).
When determining where to rank your site, Google considers the average time that a visitor spends on your website to be one of the most important deciding factors.
Providing that all other vital elements are also at their optimum best, the longer visitors spend on your website, the better your chances of being ranked higher up in search results.
When lots of visitors are spending lots of time on your website, Google’s search bots take that to mean that your site is highly relevant to a specific search term.
After all, if it wasn’t relevant, visitors would just click back and leave. The fact that they’re spending any amount of time on your site shows that visitors searched for a particular keyword, visited your site, and found something of value there.
The more relevant, the longer visitors to tend to stay, and the higher you’ll
See your website climbing
TIP: Write content in simple, conversational language and share practical advice and experience with your visitors.
Conclusion: The success of your website depends on how you present yourself.
Things to ask yourself are:
- Does my website offer a unique value proposition for your visitors?
- Is my content engaging enough to attract visitors and keep them engaged with each page?
Think of each page of your site as a valuable asset for your business. Nurture and grow each page by adding value propositions, compelling content, USPs, Calls to Action (CTAs), headings, sub-heading and internal links
3. Check the USPs in Each Page: Does Your Website Offer a Useful Value Proposition?
Unless your products or services have their own unique selling points they simply will not sell.
It’s such a simple fact but one that can make all the difference to the success of your business.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if your website is beautifully designed and your content is as compelling as you could possibly hope for, if there’s nothing that sets your business apart, there’s no reason for anyone to buy from you.
So, if you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to give them that reason.
Go through your website again, and if it doesn’t offer a value proposition – create one.
If there’s nothing which explains how your products and services are unique – add those explanations and USPs.
Conclusion: success of your website depends on how you are presenting yourself, ask if your website is a value preposition for your visitors,Try to enhance content of your website as best as you can,
Read your website content from visitor perspective again and again
Consider your website pages as assets, nurture each page and add a value preposition, make it compelling by adding USP’s, call to actions, headings, sub headings, links to other pages
Tip: When it comes to your UPS, don’t try to invent so
Meaning that isn’t already there. Most customers will see right through this and if they don’t, they’ll certainly notice when your product or service doesn’t do what it says. That’s how refunds happen, and that’s the last thing you want.
Instead, look again at your products and services – is the value proposition hidden in there? Are there unique selling points that you haven’t considered before?
If not, it may be time to change your business model!
Conclusion: The uniqueness of any product or service is vital to its success. A business without USPs is like a car without gas:
You wouldn’t want it in the first place, and even if you had it, you wouldn’t be able to do much with it.
Do not go any further with your website launch until you’ve tackled this essential step.
Check That Your Website Contains Calls to Action (CTAs)
A Call to Action in your web pages acts as the catalyst for turning passing visitors into paying customers.
Think of it this way:
….A page without Calls to action is like a car without a driver:
It just sits there – doing nothing, going nowhere, providing no value for its owner.
Likewise, without call to actions….
Your website just sits there – doing nothing, generating no sales, providing no value for you.
In other words:
‘Website conversions are not possible without a CTA ’
And without conversions you cannot run a business!
With that in mind, now is the time to make use of all the different forms of CTAs. Maybe even experiment with different ones and see which works best for you.
Some examples of Call to Action methods include:
- Contact forms
- Social media sharing buttons
- Subscriptions (such as to a newsletter)
- Service signups
- Product purchasing
- And that’s just for starters.
Remember: After 30 minutes of inactivity -even if a visitors is still on your website page, Google will not count it as a session.
So it’s crucial that you engage your visitor and keep them interacting with your site so that Google knows they are active.
5. Check: Does Each Page Contain Meaningful, Relevant Graphics?
Graphics, images, and infographics are important for any website page, but it’s essential that those visuals are relevant to that page and have been placed in line with content….
….Do not place graphics or images in your website for the sake of filling the space; it will be far better to leave that space blank rather than filling it with an irrelevant graphic just to look nice.
Instead, use a simple image, or even a well-designed infographic relevant with the content. You’ll soon see what a difference it can make.
Note: Copying images from other websites (including doing a Google search)is not wise. These images are likely to be licensed or copyrighted, and you could run into legal trouble for using them – it’s effectively stealing.
Not only does using copyrighted images put you in a legal predicament, it also leaves a bad impression on your visitor.
After all – if you care so little about your own website that you’re prepared to use copyrighted images belonging to someone else, what’s to say that you’ll put any care and attention into creating your products or services?
Instead, consider creating meaningful infographics using Canva or purchasing unique stock images from trusted libraries like Fotolia.
If you do use and or image from any other website that you’re legally allowed to use do not forgot to include the source in your website page.
Tip: Use simple, relevant images that reflect your content. Avoid using images you found on Google Image Search or other websites, and instead create or purchase your own.
6. Pay Attention to Fonts Used and Their Sizes, Including Those Of Your Headings fonts used and sizes, headings & sizes
Fonts, headings, and subheadings play a vital role in page construction.
Could you imagine reading a newspaper without headings?
How would you know what the stories were about and whether they were interesting enough to read?
You couldn’t, and would probably cancel that subscription right away!
Likewise, a webpage without compelling heading and subheadings has the same result:
Your reader has no idea whether your page is relevant to them, and even if they do click through, there’s nothing there to keep their attention.
As such, we recommend to dividing your page in compelling headings and subheadings, using appropriate sizes to keep attention of your visitor at all times.
Tip: Always use meaningful headings relevant to your content to attract visitors and keep them on your page.
Conclusion: Wise use of fonts and headings plays a vital role in visitor retention and conversion, try to make the best use of headings & fonts in page construction
7. Check: Your Entire Website From The Perspective Of Your Visitors
Having implemented everything we’ve discussed so far, now is the time to go back through your website with a fine tooth comb and assess it as though you were a visitor.
Check that your value propositions take center stage, that your CTAs are compelling and meaningful, and that the whole experience of visiting your website does its job in compelling you to purchase a product or take some other form of action.
If it does – go through it again and ask:
How can this be improved?
Trust me, the more effort you put into your website, the more value you will create for you, your customers, and your business.
8. Keep this SEO checklist handy to make sure you’ve completed all the most essential tasks before launching your website.
- Check the volume searches of each keyword, as well as total keywords
- Check internal contextual links in all of your web pages
- Ensurethatany use of Rich snippets, OpenGL, and Schema is correct and efficient.
- Ensure that you have an xml, html and image sitemaps in place
- Check the keyword density and proximity in your website. If your content is relevant and well-written, you will see that targeted keywords will start appearing automatically
- Check that your website’s URLs are well optimized
Your website should pass all of the above checkpoints before you go live.
You can use Google’s keyword Tool for volume searches. Google also provides analysis of structured data checking (openGL, Schema)
Google search console will help you manage your sitemaps.
If your content is well-written and contains information that is valuable to users, keywords density and proximity will automatically start evolving in your page.
Internal contextual links are also critically important.
Google says to ensure that every page in your website can be reached by a link from another page, and also that the referring link should include either text or an image with an alt attribute relevant to the targeted page.
Social media profiles
9. Consider your social presence. A well-optimized social profile creates astrong and memorable first impression
10. Your social profiles should be empty. Post some relevant details, pictures and content before you launch.
11. Maintain brand consistency in each of your social profiles
12. Check you are following relevant users on each profile.
Note: It is not necessary for you to sign up every social platform you come across. Instead try to focus on those social platforms that will help you connect to your targeted audience.
For example, a consultant doctor might use YouTube to share tips and advice with his patients, and use Facebook to spread those visitors and connect with patients.
A small business owner providing B2B (Business to Business) services, however, might look to connect with other businesses using LinkedIn and Twitter.
You could use Twitter for customer support, or even Pinterest to share tips, advice, and ideas relating to your products or services.
This is to determine what you want to achieve with social media, identify which platforms are going to empower you to achieve that, and use those platforms to connect with a relevant, targeted audience.
Conclusion: A strong social media presence is essential for connecting with your audience. Determine which platforms are best suited for this job and come up with a concrete strategy for amplifying your key messages through social media.
Conclusion: social presence is essential to connect with your audience emotionally, come up with a strong social strategy and determine steps on how you wish to amplify your business
Domains and FTP
13. Ask your website design team to clean the FTP and get rid of any irrelevant objects, code, graphics, and or folders
14. Check your domain name’s Whois records. Now is also a good time to ensure that your domain isn’t about to expire, and to renew it if it is.
15. Check with your web host if your web server correctly supports the If-Modified-Since HTTP header. Feature directs your web server to tell Google if the content of your website has been changed since Google last crawled your website.
Google explains this in the below snapshot:
Again, this step may be optional, , but looking at your domain and with the above points in mind may help you identify ways to speed up your website and deliver better experiences for your customers, as well as identifying any unresolved issues that your web developers may have overlooked.
WEBSITE INTEGRATED BLOG
16. Keep a website launch blog post handy so that it can be used as your first blog post when you go live
17. If your website doesn’t already include a blog, integrate one before you launch.
An integrated blog is not only an ideal way to share news, views, and ideas relating to your business and your industry, it can also prove invaluable for attracting customers and engaging them with your brand.
If you don’t already have a blog built-in to your website, you might want to consider a self-hosted blogging platform like WordPress.
….We can help set this up for you. Contact us to start attracting more customers with your own integrated blog.
Keep your blog posts simple and shareable. Include the date and relevant topics, and do not forgot to syndicate your blog posts via your social media platforms.
Tip: If you don’t have the technical expertise to deal with things like HTML/PHP, web functions, cPanel, and MySQL, considering outsourcing the setup of your integrated blog.
Conclusion: blog is where you can publish fresh content & ideas which Google loves and your website visitor appreciates,
Considering an integrated blog will definitely prove an asset, it will be fruitful and worthwhile giving your precious time
18. Keep NAP Consistency (Name, Address and Phone number) in your records as you will require this after website launch
Keeping the NAP consistency whilst submitting your business name, address and phone number is one of the important factors in determining your SERP (search engine ranking positions).
Example, we’ve called ourselves Bitvero, with the tag line
Since ‘search consultants’ is only the tag line and not part of our business name, writing our name as Bitvero SEO or even Bitvero Search Consultants would be wrong.
Instead we would need to
Use only the name ‘BITVERO’ in every business listing, map listing and social profile, and only add the tag line if allowed by the website where we are submitting to.
The same applies with your address and phone number – ensure they are consistent wherever you post them online.
You can check your NAP variations in Google My business
You can also check them with MOZ Local
Conclusion: Determine your NAP listings now and maintain the same details wherever you submit your website, including Google My Business.
19. Send a Mailer to Your Primary Business Contacts to Inform Them of Your Launch
Keep this list separate from others. It should only contain your primary business contacts – those you know well enough to email about your new site.
You can find numerous free and paid-for Email Marketing Tools but, if you are looking for the absolute best one, at this list of Top 3 Email Marketing tools.
It’s important that you save this step until last. Only once you’ve completed all the above steps and made your website as compelling and effective as possible should you start encouraging people to visit.
Now might be a good time to ask your contacts for feedback on their browsing experience and first impressions of your website. You can use this feedback to make further tweaks and improvements.
A FEW THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:
20. Make sure printed materials, letterheads, business cards and email signatures include all relevant company details, including your website:
Your business stationary speaks volumes about your brand, and is often the first place people look to get key details about your business. So it’s important that your new website address is on there.
If you don’t have your printed materials yet, and highly recommend them.
Email signatures are equally as important we don’t advise you send emails without proper email signatures in place. They are an integral part of you day to day communication
A basic email signature should include your
- Company name
- Business tagline
- Contact numbers
- Basic overview of the products/services you offer
- Website address
- Social links
- Affiliations (optional)
Remember: Your email signature represents you and your business, so it’s worth taking the time to get it right.
You can use Hubspot to create elegant, simple signatures for free
21. Don’t Forget to Ask for Feedback
Last but by no means least, be sure to ask for feedback about your new website from friends, family, or indeed anyone not directly connected with your business.
This will help you to gain a whole new perspective on the look and experience of your website, identify any critical issues and make improvements where necessary.
If you already have existing customers, it might be a good idea to ask them to give your website a ‘test run’ as they will be the exact audience you are hoping to attract with your new website.