A new website is similar to revamping your work wardrobe when you accept a new position.
While a new wardrobe can make you look good, feel good, boost your confidence, and improve your professionalism — it’s still up to you to deliver excellent work in your new role.
This is easily comparable to how we approach a new website.
A website is something that can build your confidence as a brand, and even as an individual. It should make you feel proud and excited for people to see it.
But, an attractive site can only get you so far. You have to put in the necessary time and hard work for it to be considered a wise and effective investment for your company.
Where do you start?
Tips for Pre-Launch
Take note of how your current website is performing.
Before you do away with your current site, you’ll want to take a look at how it’s performing and track things like domain authority, indexed page count, crawl errors, bounce rate, and conversion rate.
Domain authority: how well a site will rank on search engine results pages (SERPs)
Indexed page count: pages that are generated by Google search engines
Crawl errors: when a search engine (via bot) is unable to access a page on your site
Bounce rate: when a visitor leaves a page after only viewing one page
Conversion rate: the number of conversions (desired action a user takes) divided by the total number of visitors to your website
Tracking these metrics will make the launch of your new site more measurable, and help you set “early benchmarks” that give you more insight on whether or not the launch is truly effective. Plus, it never hurts to have something to compare to as a way to see just how far you’ve come!
Build out a content checklist.
The importance of quality content cannot be overstated.
When visitors arrive on your site, the content you provide them with is the one thing that’s going to either keep them there and engaged, or drive them somewhere else to get their questions answered.
Before you launch your new site, you’ll want to be sure and have a well-crafted plan for the type of content you’re going to share and consider how that content is going to best meet your audience’s needs, and hopefully turn prospective leads into loyal customers.
Here’s how you do it:
- SEO driven tactics
- Long form content
- Produce ahead of time
- Navigation structure
Think about what your customer wants first when they visit your website. Are they looking for a specific product, service, or an answer to a question? To get a better read on what your target audience is searching for, you’ll want to implement a few SEO-driven tactics for some quick wins.
This could be anything from keyword research, updating header tags with relevant keywords, writing high quality long-form content that speaks directly to the user’s intent.
Which brings us to our next point. Long form content can help drive more traffic and generate more leads. But, it’s important to note that this type of content isn’t just about reaching a specific word count to better rank on search engines.
If you’re going to aim for a 1500-2000 word blog post, quality is essential.
You want to help reach your audience’s needs in the best and most efficient way possible.
Write for the user first. If you’re answering user questions and fulfilling their needs, the search engines always adapt their algorithm to be most helpful to the user. So, if you’re already writing for the user, you’re staying ahead of any algorithm changes. -Gaby Riggs, Digital Marketing Strategist at MAKE
Do your best to avoid a last minute scramble to write content before launching your new site. Queue up 5-10 high quality pieces, with at least 3 that are ready to go once the site is live. Try to cover evergreen topics — content that is fresh, relevant, and provides value to the user.
If you’re not sure where to begin or what type of content to produce, we suggest “how to content” in blog form, case studies, and FAQ pages… just to get started.
Keep track of redirects.
When redesigning an existing site, tracking redirects is a step you don’t want to miss. This ensures that visitors aren’t faced with the dreaded “404 page not found error.”
You can avoid this by making sure you have old URLs linked to new and relevant URLs on your site. Mapping these out in a spreadsheet (or whatever suits your organizational preference best) prior to launch will help you stay ahead, and keep your visitors happy.
Publish a coming soon landing page.
This may seem obvious, but similar to a preview for a movie or marketing for an upcoming event, you want to make your audience aware and excited for the launch of your new site.
You can achieve this through a simple “coming soon” landing page. This page should emulate some of the features of your site through the use of colors, fonts, and branded imagery.
See the example for Lon. It’s simple, easy to follow, has attractive visuals, and you know exactly what type of services they offer right away.
Test for UX.
User experience (UX) makes the world of digital go ‘round. The design, content, and functionality of your website can help elicit positive user experiences, and ultimately build more loyalty with your product or brand.
When thinking through UX, consider these questions:
- Is the design cohesive with your brand?
- How quickly can a visitor get their needs met?
- Are you using appropriate, branded imagery?
- Is your content easy-to-ready and digestible?
- Is your site mobile responsive?
As you prepare to launch your new site, don’t lose site of your why. All of these pieces are designed to work together to provide the most effective solutions to fulfill your user’s needs.
Remember, even the smallest improvements to your website can make a remarkable difference.
When you focus less on making the conversion, and more on the user, good things start to happen. Trust is built, positive experiences are had, and your brand gets to reap the benefits.
Need more insight for a successful website launch? We’d love to help! Get in touch with MAKE.