STEPS TO TAKE AFTER LAUNCHING YOUR NEW WEBSITE
You’ve gone down valleys to have your new website ready. Kudos! I couldn’t be happier for you! All those months, countless emails and phone calls between you and your website designer – Oh, and not forgetting the huge amount of money you’ve invested in the website.
You finally know what you’re all about as a business and you’ve crafted a clear, compelling story that your team can rally behind. You’ve committed to providing real value to your clients and have a growing library of useful content on your site.
You’re up and running on social media – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, perhaps even Google+, Instagram: you’ve got it all covered.
SO, WHAT NEXT?
Well, the best way to answer that question is to first get some facts out in the open. Every day, over 822,240 websites are launched, adding to the + 644 million websites that are already online. I should also mention that there may be a significant number in that total that may be fiercely fighting for the attention of the same visitors that you’ve been imagining of all along. Yeah, it’s scary!
So, how do you get the most from your investment, or to rephrase it - How would create a competitive presence for your new website? And, how do you make sure your website starts delivering the promised sales results? That was the whole idea of the new website of course, greater sales?
The good news is that, opportunities are huge!
Here are some tips to consider moving forward:
- Make sure your website is Crawlable and Indexed.
The key points here are Crawling and Page Indexing.
What is crawling? Crawling in layman's terms refers to following a path. in this case, when Google's bots for instance follow the links that are accessible in your website; your website has been crawled.
What is Page Indexing? In simple words, Page Indexing is the process of adding webpages into Google's search database.
Are your pages crawlable and are they being indexed by search engines? It is imperative that Googlebot spiders can be able to crawl your website effectively, understand the text content available, understand the visuals and embeds available in your website - all in an effort for them to be able to eventually store that content into Google's databases.
If neither of the above is implemented; this is what you should be doing:
- a) Set up a Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools account.
Google Analytics helps you keep track of all the activity on your site. By ‘keep track of your activity’, I mean, through the tool, you can see the percentage of people that arrive on your website, how long they stay there and where they go next – and for how long they will stay there. This is relevant info.
Think how valuable it is if you knew that around 75% of your visitors land on your page via say, the ‘About page’? - For starters, you could feature a call-to-action on the page to convert the visitors into customers and etc.
Google Webmasters on the other hand, is a tool that ties into your Google Analytics account while providing some tools and data to help make your site Google-friendly. The good news is that, both are FREE!
- b) Set up Sitemaps for your site
It is worth noting that an XML sitemap should be submitted to Google via your Webmaster Tools account.
What are sitemaps? A Sitemap is a list of the pages in your website. It simply serves the purpose of informing search engines about the content that your website contains and how often you are updating your website.
To create a sitemap of your site, visit XML Sitemaps (and don’t forget to submit it to Google via your Webmaster Tools account).
- c) Set up a robots.txt file
Remember Website Crawling? Well, robots.txt are guidelines that go hand in hand with crawling. Basically, a robots.txt file provides information to the web crawlers, informing them for instance, what pages in your website shouldn't be crawled.
Why do you need to tell the web crawlers what pages they shouldn't visit? Often, when Google bots come crawling your site via the links (most likely provided by a sitemap), they have limited resources for these purposes. Therefore in cases where they can't follow through a path (link), well, they just abandon ship leaving your web page without indexing it.
2. Create compelling Content for your website
I know what you must be thinking: "But I have have already generated all this new content for my website! Now I need more?" Well, yes.
The purpose of generating new content is simply to convince Google and other search engines that you haven’t abandoned your website and that it's still worth indexing. Google LOVES new content. And don’t just create new content for the sake of appearing active — generate GOOD and COMPELING content; content that’s worth reading and sharing. Because great content will attract visitors, and visitors means traffic! I bet you knew that by now!
In my opinion, there are two main foundations to creating compelling content for your website:
a) Focus on the User
- When creating your website content you need to pay attention to your target audience. IT IS ALL ABOUT THE USER. That is what Google and other search engines care about - the searcher (and of course making a profit).
You are therefore compelled to understand your target audience, what are they looking for? How are you solving their problems?
The truth is that, people do not search for your solution, they search for a solution to their problem.
Find out what your potential customers are asking online, try to identify their pain point. Then, create content that helps them to solve their problems. Another reason is that generally people will not buy from you, if they do not know what you can do for them.
b) Keyword Strategy
Again, the key point here is your target audience. You need to find keywords or phrases that your target audience is using while searching for the problems they are facing. These keywords and phrases should then be integrated into your content.
By the way, the old day of Keyword stuffing are all past gone. In other words, it is of no relevance to stuff those found keywords into your content in hope that you will rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
What you should be targeting is using those keywords to come up with compeling and qualitative content that your target audience can relate to. Remember, Google knows when you have bounce clicks (when users visit your site and within seconds hit the GO BACK button on their browser)- and it will punish you for that.
A word of note when it comes to keyword strategy:
Pay great focus on USER'S INTENT - this is trying to truly understand what the searcher's intentions are whenever they are searching. This is called Semantic Search.
3. Link Building
This is a tough one, especially having just launched your website. Either way, link-building is a pivotal factor when it comes to ranking high in SERP.
You may have great content, fast loading webpages but if you no one is backlinking to you, well, let's just say its going to be a rough ride towards appearing on search results pages.
It is also worth noting that having irrelavant websites linking back to your website simply won't cut it. The back links have to be from relevant websites. Websites that rank high on SERP.
One analogy I like to use while talking about link building is: think of High school - you wouldn't become popular by having say, 100 'unpopular' kids talking about you. However, once few 'popular kids' started talking about you, well, your fame would rise.
I wouldn't advice you to start posting links to your website in all the forums out there, or in facebook, twitter, etc. It doesn't work that way.
In my professional opinion, great links are links that:
- i) drive direct referrals to your website
- ii) create visibility of your products / services with your target audience
- iii) enhance your reputation as a brand
So, how do you build links when you are starting up?
My suggestions would be to start with your local space. Contact bloggers, local listing websites and etc and ask them to share links to the services or products that you are offering. Ohh, it is not as easy as I am stating it - I have been through that road myself.
Another suggestion, would be to spy on your competitors. There are bunch of tools that you could employ to get insight of your competitors SEO strategies - among them, where they are getting backlinks from. Once you identify your competitor's sources, contact them and convince them why they should also backlink to your website. Spyfu is one of the many SEO spying tools out there.
4. Promote your website
One of the best ways to get indexed by search engines is by traffic. In other words, having people visit your website.
The sad truth is that generating traffic just doesn’t happen automatically.
One of the fastest ways to generate traffic is to tell everyone you know and have them tell everyone they know! Make the announcement of your new website a viral announcement. A key approach to creating something viral is through social media: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all provide effective means of sharing content. Updating your status on Facebook or creating a “tweet” on Twitter to announce your latest launch can ultimately create a viral announcement of your official launch.
Another way to get the word out is through email marketing. With services like MailChimp and Constant Contact (and hundreds more), you can create a nice looking branded email announcing your latest launch!
Email marketing can also be used as a tool to bringing repeat customers. People tend to forget your products' name after a long period of time thus, if you setup a newsletter sign-up form and collect their emails, it could be a plus for both you and your customer because each time you have some cool new info that you want to share they are just one email away.
The steps that I have outlined above are easy to implement. Time consuming, yes, but the rewards are far staggering. Nonetheless, if you need help with any of the steps, whether it be integrating Google Analytics, setting up your social media profiles, consultation or advice on creating content that is based around semantic search and the user – get in touch with me!
It would be my pleasure to help you and your website succeed.