There’s a Lot of Prep Work Before Launching a Website
It’s always been wishful thinking that you could throw up a great website and people would come to it in droves. A lot of people have the misconception that if you have a website, people will instantly flock to it. Unfortunately, there’s a lot that goes into a successful website. A lot goes into a website before you even launch it. Here are some things you may want to look at before launching a website.
Nail Down a Good Hosting Company
Believe me, hosting can make all of the difference. I started out with a terrible hosting company for one of my main sites, and I am convinced that held my business back for quite a while. My site constantly went down, and people couldn’t even access it. Another problem is that when I needed something, that company didn’t help at all with support for my site. I ended up switching to Bluehost, and all of my problems went away. Do your research, because hosting can make all of the difference.
Implement a Good CDN
A CDN, or a content delivery network, can speed up your website and make it more pleasant to explore. It cuts down on load times, while taking a bit of a load off of the server. That’s another reason I love Bluehost so much. They partner with CloudFlare, a great CDN, as an added bonus to their hosting customers.
Optimize All Images
Images are one of the biggest resource hogs of any website. You don’t need 300DPI images on your website at 4000 pixels wide by 2000 pixels tall. It’s unnecessary, and it’ll cause your site to load very slow. Optimize your images using Photoshop or Fireworks (Yes I still use it) to reduce file size by up to 90%. You can use beautiful images, but they don’t have to kill your website speed. Even better yet, use SVG, or scalable vector graphics, whenever possible to cut down on even more file size.
Set Goals To Meet
You’ll want to go into the website launch with a goal. If you don’t, how will you be able to properly gauge how successful your site is? If your goal is to get 1000 email subscribers, put a time frame on it. For example, your goal could be to get 1000 email subscribers in the 1st month. Whether you meet it or beat it, it gives you something to shoot for, and causes you to act accordingly. It’s easy to lose site of your purpose, but setting definitive goals keeps you on the right track, and keeps you focused.
Develop a Solid Content Strategy
A lot of people make the mistake of starting a website or a blog without any sort of content strategy in place. You’ll be amazed at how much planning can make the difference between success, failure and discouragement. It’s a good idea to plan your content strategy a month to 6 weeks in advanced and to have everything pre-written and ready to go for the next 2-3 weeks. This keeps you from feeling pressured and gives you adequate time for reviewing your content to make sure it is good quality. Poor quality content will only hurt your business, not help it.
Optimize All Body Copy
You should look over all of your body test and content to ensure that you utilize proper SEO. Make sure you have quality headlines and titles, and that you’ve used your keywords enough throughout your content. Also, you’ll want to make sure you don’t overuse your keywords, also called keyword stuffing, which can negatively affect you.
Double-Check & Test All Features
You’ll want to make sure all product demos work, that videos are working, and if you have any other features, they are all working properly. Try everything out to ensure that your users have the best experience possible. Think about the last time you went to a site where the features weren’t working. Did you come back to their site? Probably not.
Make Sure Social Media Links & Contact Forms are Working
Social media platforms are more important than ever for developing quality relationships with customers and clients. Some people like to feel things out before they buy from you, so these types of interactions are essential for long term success. Make sure that all forms, such as login, registration and contact forms are working properly. Any links on your site, whether they are outbound links to other sites, or links to downloadable PDFs, or internal links to other pages, should all be working properly. You definitely don’t want to disappoint someone who is expecting to download a handy PDF, only to get a 404 error.
Plan Content Promotion Strategy
You can write great content all you want, but you need an audience to share it and make it popular. A lot of people miss this step, too. You’ll want to know who you’re going to promote your content to, where, and how. This will drive quality traffic, while generating social media shares and building momentum for your site. You’ll want to consider other places, too, like relevant communities, portals, forums, and directories. These can all drive traffic and get your site the attention it deserves, especially if you’ve taken the time to build quality content that helps people.
There’s a lot more that goes into launching a site than most people think. A lot of it has to do with preparation and planning, which will make the entire process much smoother. What are some things you do before launching a website? I’d love to hear your thoughts, and the things you do to prepare for a new site launch. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.