It’s episode 5 of the Visceral Concepts Podcast! Join Founder Michael McNew as he talks about the perfect strategy for a successful site launch. If you have ever thought about getting a website for your business or redesigning your existing one, this is definitely for you.[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/322131430″ params=”color=43b649&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
If listening isn’t your thing, here’s what you need to know.
Websites Are Necessary
You live in the digital age and, if you haven’t figured it out yet, your business needs a website to survive. It’s one of the most powerful marketing tools around, and you need to have an amazing one if you want to attract the most customers possible.
That’s why launching a new or redesigned one is such a big job.
In fact, launching a website is so ginormous that most entrepreneurs are terrified by it. They’d rather have no website, or worse yet, one that’s hurting their brand. Anything to avoid this monster.
It’s Time To Simplify Your Website Launch
What if there was an easy way to manage a website launch so it wasn’t so overwhelming? Would you be more likely to undertake this task? I bet you, and most other entrepreneurs, would.
That’s why we’ve put together this step-by-step to help you assure a successful website launch.
Step 1 – In-House or Outsource?
The first thing you need to do to launch your website successfully is decide if your team can handle the job. If your staff is up to the task, you don’t need to spend the extra cash. But how can you tell if you need to outsource or not?
Consider the following:
- Is the time available? There’s no need to set aside the things that make you money if you’re a solo entrepreneur or running a skeleton crew.
- Are the technical skills available? Maybe nobody on your team – yourself included – knows the first thing about domain names and web hosts.
- Are the design skills available? If you and your team are a bunch of technical people but don’t have an eye for design, you’re going to want to send this out.
- Is the digital marketing experience available? You must know how to design your site to guide the visitors towards a sale. Not every marketer or salesperson has that skillset.
- Can we maintain it after launch? Maybe you have time now, but won’t in a few months. This is a biggie for the long term.
If the answer to these questions is anything other than a resounding “YES!”, you need to start looking for a good web designer. Make sure you find one that takes the time to understand your needs, skillsets, and experience, and has a strong portfolio.
You also want to find out if that designer handles hosting, domain names, copywriting, and online marketing as well. A one-stop shop will save you time and troubles in the future. Support is another key. Make sure the designer will help you when you run in to troubles, and that the help won’t cost a fortune.
Step 2 – Make A Plan
You’ve never succeeded at anything that you didn’t have a plan for. Your website is no different. You need to put together a roadmap for your website, even if you hired out. That way, at every step, everyone is on the same page.
Once you’ve consulted with your designer, you should have a clear understanding of who is responsible for what. The last thing you want is a surprise charge for something that you thought was covered but exceeded the project scope.
Also, you need to have a clear understanding of deadlines. You need to know how your project will be affected by delays, and what sorts of things may create them. That way, you and the design team will be held accountable.
Understand where the clear boundaries for your project are, and know where your designer will be flexible. There needs to be a level of sensibility in both directions, and that needs to be understood upfront.
Step 3 – Strategize Content
If you think launching a stunning website and letting it sit on the web is enough to attract customers, you’re dead wrong. You need content.
We’ve told you why content is so important plenty of times before. This is not optional. You need it to get found on Google and to draw in visitors. It’s paramount to growth. That means you need a strategy.
You need content that’s going to help achieve what you want.
There’s no purpose to crank out undirected content just to do it. You need to decide what your goals are. Pick the purpose of your content and plan it. Choose from things like:
- Boost Brand Awareness
- Generate Leads
- Boost Search Rankings
- Create Interaction and Community
Whether you have one goal or multiples, you need content that’s going to help achieve what you want.
But before you start creating content, you had better learn your audience. Find out what sites your clients visit, what they’re engaging with, and which social media sites they prefer. Google can help you out with that.
Once you know who you’re dealing with, you can create content that they’ll pay attention to. Remember, be genuine and authentic. Show your expertise. Most of all, make sure you’re giving your viewers real value.
Oh, and don’t forget to proofread and edit. Bad copy hurts your brand.
Step 4 – Learn About SEO
You’re probably familiar with SEO, or search engine optimization. But, for you, it’s probably a vague and mystical concept that takes some sort of wizardry to master. Oh, that’s just my first impression?
We’ve said more on SEO as well, but the key thing to take away is that you should never ever do anything in the name of SEO that will hurt your user experience. No. Matter. What.
Keywords, meta tags, link building, and site structure all matter, but not as much as great content does.
Step 5 – Promote, Promote, Promote
You might be asking why I would tell you to promote your site before you’ve launched it. That’s an easy one.
Early excitement sells.
It’s time to start promoting the upcoming launch of your site, and that begins with yet another plan. Figure out the best ways to reach your audience and start hyping your site launch to them. Think about the best way to reach them.
- Are they prone to email advertisement?
- Which social networks do they like the best?
- Are they local? Can you meet them face-to-face and give them printed materials?
Once you know how to reach them, it’s time to create promotional content. Make sure you use the unique content for the form of advertising you choose. Facebook and LinkedIn require different content, and what you’d send in an email varies still.
Make sure your content matches your brand. Then, when you’re ready, test it. Communicate with a targeted subsection of your audience. Bonus points if you can A/B test. Find out what works before you go broad.
No matter how you choose to communicate with them, remember that you’re selling value. Focus on how you can solve their problems and make their lives better. You’ll get attention when your audience knows you’re worth their time.
Get That Website Launched
If you’ve done everything here that you’re supposed to, it’s time to launch your website. Then, once it’s live, you can take a moment to celebrate. After all, you did just conquer one of the most overwhelming marketing tasks in the digital age.