5 Steps to Follow When Launching a New Website

Submitted by DigitalMX Online on Tue, 08/14/2018 - 16:16

Communicate Your Market Dominating Position and Attract Your Ideal Customer

Let DigitalMX assist with the technical basics when launching a new website

Need it be said that there's intense competition online, where strengths are showcased and weaknesses are exposed?  Not so long ago businesses could promote their brand simply with ads in the Yellow Pages and a few select publications and not much more. 

Today's digital marketplace demands continuous marketing. It’s no longer enough to merely have a presence online; now it’s necessary for a business to have an interactive web design that’s optimized to provide a memorable user experience.

The Internet is filled with websites that, to put it bluntly, miss the mark in terms of their technical functionality and their content. Who’s responsible for this? According to a recent article published on Forbes.com, the blame can be shared equally between clients and web developers.

We at DigitalMX don’t 100% agree with the Forbes conclusion because it's our opinion the bigger issue is the approach a business takes when developing their website. 

Web developers are not marketing strategists; their focus when developing your website won't be about your strategy. If you are lucky, they are focused on a good technical foundation and maybe the design is an after-thought. 

Our model at DigitalMxOnline.com is to focus on strategy first. Your website is the hub of your marketing program. Its function is to communicate your market dominating position and attract your ideal customer.

If your website content and strategy don’t align, you will attract the best customers for your business only by accident. Your bounce rate will skyrocket when you aren’t meeting your users’ expectations, and your SEO will suffer in the process.

The end result is that you rarely get to talk to your ideal customers. A good web design will rarely overcome a poorly thought-out or lack of clear strategy. 

Strategy’s very significant contribution aside, our focus here is related to some of the technical basics to be aware of in the process of launching your website. 

1.) Enable Responsive Web Design 

I’m really amazed at how often I see websites that aren’t mobile friendly. I have also seen a severe drop off in the quality of the search experience depending on how intense my search needs are for a particular topic. The amount of mobile search varies dramatically depending on what service is being searched. 

When looking at overall traffic for some clients’ websites, we have seen desktop search as high as 74% for our kitchen remodeler clients.  Conversely, for our dog boarding clients, the percentage of desktop searches comes in significantly lower at 36%. 

Take some time to think about your users’ experience on both mobile and desktop devices. And perhaps more importantly, consider the nature of your industry and what users want to see.  

I think in our kitchen remodeler example you can make the case that the investigation process is more intense and more easily done on a desktop device. And potential clients naturally gravitate to a desktop or laptop when searching for kitchen designers. While the search for a dog boarding business is shorter and requires far less information gathering to make a decision.

Regardless of what service or product you sell, people use a variety of screen of sizes and resolutions to surf the web, and your website needs to be ready to deliver the same or similar user experience regardless of the device being used to view your website. 

How can you create a website that provides the same UX (user experience) across devices that have different screen sizes? The answer is simple – with a responsive web design. 

In addition to providing the same experience across devices, your website needs to provide the same UX across browsers. Before your website goes live, test your website using as many devices and browsers as possible. If you see a glitch or two when you use a given device or browser, fix them and test your website again.

UX is driven by a number of factors and is an important metric for Google in assessing your website and will impact your SEO results. 

2.) Test Your Website’s Functionality At All Levels

How can you turn off the people who visit your website and send them running to a competitor’s site? By having a feature on your site that doesn’t work properly. It is crucial for you to test every feature on your website, including your lead generation forms, email signups, comments sections and social sharing buttons. You should also test every link on your site, as well as your redirects. 

Another way you can drive visitors to your competitors’ websites is by having web pages that take forever to load. And by forever, we mean more than just three or four seconds. As you’re testing your site’s functionality, test your page load times. If it takes too long for your pages to load, use Pagespeed Insights by Google to see what you can do to make improvements. 

3.) Prepare Your Analytics To Measure Goals

After you launch your website, you’ll want to keep track of how it performs. You can do this by using analytics. Figure out the metrics you want to track before you launch so your website can collect valuable information from the moment you launch it. 

At the most basic level, you will want to watch 

  • entrances (how many people came from another website or email link)

  • page views (how many times people saw a specific page from your site)

  • bounce rate (percentage of sessions where a user only views one page and leaves your site)

  • new and returning visitors (number of interactions for a visitor within a specific timeframe)

  • device overview (is your search coming from desktop, mobile, or tablet)

  • channel overview (did the visitor come from organic search, another website with a link to your site, or a link from an email)

  •  social media traffic analysis (what social media outlets generated the traffic to your site) 

  • Identify and establish goals for your analytics reporting to ensure you are achieving your targets

As you fine-tune your knowledge and understand what the numbers are “saying”, you will want to go deeper, but this is a great start.

Preparing analytics is vital to your website’s success in both the short- and long-term. Analytics will provide the information you need to determine what is and isn’t working successfully on your site. This knowledge is necessary for you to make changes to your website that will make it even more appealing. Before you launch, perform some kind of web crawl to make sure that your analytics programs will actually collect the data you’ll need.

4.) Back Up Your Website and Set Up Security

Believe it or not, some people forget to back up their site prior to launch. You should backup your website before you launch, and you should continue doing the same thing regularly post-launch.  

The good news is that daily and weekly automated backups are standard for any good hosting company. Just be sure to verify frequency. Continuing to back up your site after you launch will help prevent the loss of any data from malware attacks against your site. It will also give you some well-deserved peace of mind.  We have seen business nearly fail because of a lack of backups.

You should also make sure your site is secure before you launch. This is particularly important if you’re going to process payments on your website or you’re going to collect personal information, such as your visitors’ email addresses.

5.) Review Your Entire Website As If You Knew Nothing About Your Business

Before your website goes “live” and is available for everyone to see, you need to check everything on your website. This means you should proofread your content. It also means you should pour through your content again even if you’re confident you caught every error. Remember – you proofread your content before you upload it, so if you’re still catching mistakes at this point, the odds are good you missed something the first time you proofread your material on your website. Double and then triple check.

You need to make sure your images and videos are loading properly, too. Make sure nothing is distorted and any audio that accompanies your videos is clear and understandable.

Verify your opt-in forms are working to initiate an autoresponder sequence or at least directing to an email that someone is ready to respond to.

This is a good time to review the marketing and content strategy on your site. Make sure your market dominating position, your headlines and calls-to-action are clear throughout.  With that in mind, clear calls-to-action and user-focused headlines will go a long way in the early stages of your new website as you build out the content on site pages and in your blog.