The launching of a new website can be a difficult and challenging experience for those who have never done it before. Inexperience and technical knowledge both play parts in this, and although the process is easy to learn, it may take some practice to get comfortable with it. We are going to offer some suggestions for those are who have yet to launch their first website. These are general tips for a wide variety of topics, but all of them will make the launching process much easier.
1) Install Analytics
It’s important to know how many visitors your website is receiving, so you can make changes to your site if no traffic comes. Tracking your visitors is a vital part of the marketing process, and should definitely not be left out. We recommend Google Analytics for beginners, as it is free and very easy to setup on your website. For advanced users with more technical knowledge, you may want to look at Piwik as an alternative. It’s very similar to Google Analytics, but offers a different perspective on things.
The Google Analytics Dashboard
The code for your tracking script needs to be placed on every page of your website. If the website is a static HTML site, then you’ll need to copy and paste the code to every page. If you use another language to code in, such as PHP, you can use includes to make a single template file (for example, footer.php) which will contain the tracking code. This file will then be included to every page of your site, making the process much easier.
2) Sign up for Webmaster Tools
All three of the major search engines have a service that you can sign up for that monitors data about your website, and then lets you view it. Google’s and Bing’s are the best of the bunch, but we recommend using Yahoo’s too for the best results. Since the data you feed to these Webmaster centers will feed directly to the search engines, it’s highly recommended you do this. Create a sitemap.xml for your site and submit to these Webmaster centers to help the search engines crawl your site.
The Google Webmaster Tools Dashboard
Be warned though, the reporting tools inside these Webmaster centers are not always perfect; in fact, most of the time we find they are way off. Keyword and traffic data always seems skewed to us, so you should use other tools for these areas. The Webmaster Tools also offer crawl rate, spidering, and indexation reporting, which is usually more solid than the keyword and traffic reports, although it may not be completely accurate. They do however keep rolling out new features for the tools, and overtime, it seems the reporting has gotten slightly more accurate.
3) Setup a Newsletter
After launching your site, include a newsletter signup box so that visitors interested in further updates and news can receive them. Email marketing is also an extremely valuable tool, if used correctly. It’s even better if you have a list of friends or clients that you can already use to email about your newly launched website. Be honest and polite in your email and ask for feedback about the website. It’s a good idea to say you will return the favor too, as this may get more people interested. Make sure to use Carbon Copies (CC) so everyone on the email list doesn’t see the email of everyone else on the email.
A Newsletter Signup Form
This will allow you to stay in contact with visitors to your site via email.
If you notice people aren’t signing up for your newsletter, you may want to offer an incentive to do so. This creates some trust between you and your website visitors, and makes you look knowledgeable about the subject your website on. Some things you could create to give away are e-books, videos, whitepapers, or any other content that is exclusive to your website.
4) Signup Your Brand on Social Media Sites
Every year, social media becomes a more powerful and popular way for businesses to communicate with their customers. Every business in this day and age should be utilizing social media marketing, no matter what industry they are in. There are a couple of sites that you should, at minimum, have an account on. These are:
YouTube (if you have any video content)
There are other sites we recommend, although these won’t be suitable for everyone. We say you should still go through and find out which ones are relevant to your business and industry. These sites are:
Flickr (if you have graphics or images you can post)
Take the time to fill out all the information fields when you signup for these sites. This makes your business easier to find. Change up the information slightly for every profile, and don’t just copy and paste the same information to each one. The descriptions and bios should be unique for each site, tailoring to the specific needs of users on that specific site. Empty social accounts are no fun and do virtually nothing, but an active account can create traffic, customers, and a ton of value for you if done correctly.