15 January 2013
All the brand guidelines, content and images are in place, the project plan is on target but inevitably, the run up to the launch of a new website can be sometimes prove to be stressful, for the client and to a lesser extent, the design agency. But, it shouldn’t be like that. Here are some tips on what you can do, to ensure a smooth and successful launch.
As part of the production process, it is important to think about how you will drive traffic to your new site, as part of the overall project plan. The more competitive your industry and the most established your existing website; then the more work that will be required to attract traffic, retain and increase traffic levels.
Within the website itself, there are many “in-situ” things that can be done to attract visitors and search engines. Without question, the website needs to be built in an SEO friendly manner, the content on the site should be informative, well written, relevant and keyword rich.
Unless you have internal or external SEO trained resources available, then the most effective method of ensuring SEO-Optimisation of your new site, is to use a premium content management system, such as iQ Core. With iQ Core, the content is automatically optimised for search engines, ensure the efficiency of your content throughout.
The content on the site should also be informative, well-written and keyword rich. To collate, identify and target a range of broad range of relevant keywords for your products or services, then a blog is an extremely beneficial tool.
A blog offers a great opportunity to publish keyword-rich content – content that search engines thrive upon. However, a blog shouldn’t just be written for the benefit of Google or other leading search engines. It should be written for the reader. Information on your website should always be interesting and informative and hopefully, will prompt readers to revisit for further news and updates.
Depending on the sector within which you do business, then pay-per-click campaigns can be effective for buying traffic to your website. Obviously there is a cost involved but it can be a sound initial investment to drive visits, especially if you are launching an ecommerce website. As your website becomes recognised by search engine optimisation activity, by natural search then you can reduce your pay per click activity. However, all website data should be reviewed, to ensure that you are achieving a return on your spend and the required level of traffic and ultimately enquiries or sales via your website, on a regular basis vs. original targets set.
In the hectic lead up to a new website being launched, the importance of measurement can very easily be overlooked. Before launching a new website or redesigning and restructuring an existing site, you must clearly define what your objectives are, how will the new website be judged to be a success – in terms of traffic, enquiries, newsletter sign ups, or time on the site itself.
Once your site is live, there are a number of ways to announce this. There is not a one size fits all approach, as ultimately it depends upon who your audience is and as part of your overall marketing communications strategy. And of course, budgets available to support the launch of your new website.
In simple terminology, in order to herald the launch of your new website, you need to think about the people who you want to tell, your audience and what you want to tell them. By further segmenting your target audience, for example in relation to buying patterns, geographical location, age etc, you will reach the right people, in the right way. You could let your existing customer base know by using a targeted email newsletter, which is branded in the same style as the new site, such as iQ Media’s iQ Mail e.campaign platform. Wherever possible, you need to ensure that there is synergy; recognisable brand elements across all marketing communications activities. This way, you achieve optimum brand awareness, via utilising your existing brand palette. Plus, this type of activity is traceable, so you can see who has received your newsletter and more importantly, who has opened and read it.
Other platforms which can be used are promotional giveaways highlighting the new website url or work with your PR agency, to produce a launch story and rationale behind the new website.
Natural back-links or reciprocal links are a good way of promoting your website, within relevant websites. This also has a positive effect on search engine visibility.
Once your website is “up and running”, it is important to continue and build on the initial launch momentum. The range of marketing communication activities undertaken will have formed a sound foundation on which to continue. Good quality search engine friendly content, with continued back-linking will help to maintain and improve upon your rankings and visibility online.
As with all marketing or promotional activities and campaigns, evaluation is key! Post launch, you should continue to refer back to your objectives for the launch of your new website, to identify your performance, achievements or areas where improvement is needed.
By continuously testing new content, refining existing and evaluating the website performance as a whole, you will continue to improve your websites performance, and its ability to achieve bigger and better results.
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