Launching a business website can be an exciting experience to say the least. Ben and I have five websites between us and in the past few weeks we’ve just launched Ben’s new self-employed handyman website. It’s all very nerve wracking as he leaves the safety of his employed job in July and embarks upon his new self-employed adventure.
The very first thing we did was to launch his website to make sure he is discoverable in the online world and to ensure he had a professional website to direct potential customers too. There’s nothing more important nowadays than getting your business online and I’ll share some tips for launching your very first business website in this blog post.
When launching your site, there are a few steps that you need to take in order to make sure that everything goes to plan, some of which can be found below.
If your customers know that you are working on building a website then make sure that you reserve the URL you want well in advance. If you already have a business and it doesn’t have a website yet then you may realise that the name you desire is already taken and you may either need to spend a little more to get your desired URL by buying it off the owner, or you might need to choose a different domain name extension such as .co.uk instead of .com.
If you don’t have a business name yet and the website is the first step then you can choose the domain extension you want such as .com and then pick your name from what is available. I must have come up with no less than 100 names for my travel website and they were all taken already! This is why it’s a good idea to reserve your URL name as soon as you launch a business, even if you don’t need a website right away.
Once you have your URL, you can then setup a launch page with a countdown timer. This will help to get your customers excited about your site and it will also help you to generate much more interest as a result. It’s also a good idea to include a signup box so you can let customers know as soon as your site launches and they can opt in to receive your newsletters so you’ll begin building a subscriber list before you’ve even launched.
Any promotional strategy will somewhat be based around the content you have. For this reason, you have to make sure that the text you have on your site is high-quality. Before you launch your site, go through what you have and make sure that it is packed with interesting information.
It also helps to make sure that your content answers any questions that your visitors might have. When you do this, you can then increase your chances of ranking in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and you can also boost your backlinks too as others will link to your content as an informative guide.
If you want to get some ideas of what content you should be posting then consider tutorials, expert roundups, FAQs and even how-to posts.
Of course content doesn’t need to be essay like and academic, in fact it’s better it’s written in the voice of your brand so it’s relatable, but it should be proofread to ensure the grammar and spelling is correct. There are lots of online tools to help with this, or simply run a spellcheck to ensure you haven’t missed anything obvious.
Networking is important and if you are just launching your site then it could mean the difference between success and failure. You need to reach out to the well-known people in your field and you also need to let them know about your new site.
It’s also a good idea to follow people on social media, and then share their content on your page. When you do this, you will show up on their radar and you will also be able to introduce yourself.
You want to interact with those in your field to learn from one another and share knowledge, but you also want to be where your customers are so you can attract them to your website. Perhaps you can find local networking hours on Twitter if your business is regional to make contacts or at least make people aware you exist.
As you begin to promote your site, people will probably start talking about you. This is great, but you have to make sure that they are speaking highly about your brand. If they aren’t then you need to take immediate action and you also need to make sure that you resolve any problems that they might be having. If you aren’t sure how to gauge your own online success then setting up alerts is most certainly the first step. You can set up a Google alert to receive an email any time there’s new content or mentions of your brand here: https://www.google.co.uk/alerts
An XML sitemap is a document which essentially provides search engines with a list of important pages on your website. It gives Google the chance to crawl your site, and this will mean that your posts are indexed way faster.
If you have a self-hosted WordPress site, then it is very easy for you to download the XLM site plugin. If you are hosted by WordPress.com then you don’t need to do anything. Other website hosts and creators may also do this for you already, so check with your website provider.
You can also download a sitemap generator, as this will help you to download a version of your map with ease.
Learn the basics
Sure, you don’t need to be an expert in the field to start ranking, but you do have to make sure that you put a few basic measures in place. One of the things that you need to think about is your keywords. Use phrases that you want to try and rank for and put them strategically throughout your content.
You can include them in your title tags, your header tags, alt tags and more. This will help you to boost your chances of being found and it will also help you to really connect with the right audience too. If you want to keep track of the people who contact you through your site, bespoke software development is a great option as well as setting up your own business email address. You can easily set up a professional email address for free that ends in @yourwebsite with email provider Zoho.
Building links to your site is so important. Any pages that you create should use words instead of numbers in the URL so that your permalink structure is the best that it can be. It also gives users the chance to see the page that they are being taken to before it loads. Plus it’s important for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to include accurate, concise and relevant keywords in the URL to tell Google what the page is about.
When posting your content, it has to be original as well. It is not OK to just copy and paste from another website - this is plagiarism which is stealing content which belongs to another person. You must write your own content in your own words. Also, your website can be penalised for posting duplicate content as it’s frowned upon by Google.
Mobile friendly website
Making sure that your site is mobile friendly is also very important, and this may affect the content that you post. For example, on a desktop site you may be able to have three sections of content on the home page horizontally. On your mobile version, however, you might only be able to have two or even one, due to the size of the screen. Google prefers mobile friendly sites and ranks them higher, so it’s important your website is responsive to different size screens.
You are putting a lot of time and effort into promoting your site, and for this reason, you have to make sure that you understand how much traffic you are getting and even where your visitors are coming from. The best thing about Google Analytics is that it is completely free to use, and it is also easy to set up too.
This will help you to find out what is working and what isn’t, and it will give you the chance to take your site to that next level. For example if you’re spending all your time promoting yourself on Facebook but that drives the lowest amount of social traffic then you might want to concentrate on other social medias instead or change your Facebook strategy.
If you find Google Analytics too complicated then there are easier to use web analytics dashboards available online.
Google Search Console
“Google Search Console is a web service by Google, provided free of charge for webmasters, which allows them to check indexing status and optimize visibility of their websites.” - Wikipedia
Google Search Console was once known as Webmaster Tools. It’s essentially a way for you to maintain the health of your site in the eyes of Google. If the search engine happens to find any issues, then you will be notified here. It’s really worth having this because it can help you to avoid making any negative changes to your site.
There are lots of things to do when launching a new business website, as well as a lot of things to learn. Of course, you might not know everything at first, but it’s important to learn the basics and continue to learn as you go along to ensure your website is found on search engines and by your customers. The above are just a few tips, but you can find lots more business website tips in my UK money blog.