Congratulations, you've just launched your site. Now what do you do? Well, don't sit back and relax, the hard work's just begun!
This article lists some of the things you should do after you launch or update your site. Be warned though, everything takes time and effort, which is what running a successful website is all about. Be prepared to work hard or be prepared for failure.
Killer not filler
In essence, killer content is stuff people want to read. So getting regular, quality content on your site, is undoubtedly the most important thing you should start focussing on. It doesn't matter what type of site you have, whether you sell things, run a business, provide a service or your site is just for fun; it all comes down to publishing good quality content. Ask yourself, is it what people want to read? Does it present you (or your business) authoritatively? Will it encourage people to come back again?
Good quality content will attract both human readers and search engines spiders. It will include keywords and phrases, representative of your business, that people will use to find your web site via a web search. These are probably terms that only you or someone in your business will be qualified to know. So, even if you're not confident at writing you should at least produce a list of all your important keywords and phrases. If you hire a copywriter, they'll ask for this information.
Market your wares
Having good quality content is fine if you have regular readers and a well indexed website (i.e. search engines have already spidered your site and have added pages to their search index) but if your site is new, how can you let people know about your site? Here's a few things you can do:
- Networking - whether it's physical or virtual networking, telling people about your business and web site works
- Print - get your web site address on every surface you can: business cards, headed paper, complimentary slips, newsletters, fax cover sheets, t-shirts, stickers, badges, calendars, beer mats, leaflets, telephone / business directories, flyers and newspapers
- Newsletter - announce the launch of your site and provide regular news updates in a newsletter. This could be a printed newsletter or even better, an HTML Email Newsletter. And you should have something in every newsletter that highlights new additions or resources on your web site
- Answer machine - add your web site address to your answer machine messages
- Talk to the press - got some new killer content? Press releases shouldn't go by without mentioning your web site address
- Email signature - add your web site address to your email signature
- Forums - join forums and web groups connected to your own business and participate by sharing your knowledge. Add your web site details to your forum signature
- Write articles - if you write an article for another publication, you can ask for your web site address to appear with your name at the beginning or end of the article
Build incoming links
A vital part of increasing your web site ranking is by building up good quality incoming links to your site. Ask your friends to link to your web site via their own personal web sites and profiles on social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.
Blogging & social networking
As we've already said, writing killer content is a must, so blogging provides the perfect opportunity to publish regular content rich in your keywords and phrases; just what the search engines love! And depending on your business-type you may be able to write niche articles; which should definitely help in improving SEO. Providing an RSS is feed is a must.
And to compliment your blogging, make sure you're using social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to publicise your new content.
Search Engine Optimisation
Optimise your web site for search engines. Think carefully about the keywords and phrases people are likely to use when searching for your services or business and make sure they appear within your content.
View your visitor statistics
Check your visitor statistics regularly to see how people are using your site. Apart from the daily or monthly hits, you can find out which pages are most popular and which ones sink without trace, which pages people leave your site from and what pages people link to. With some thought you can use this information to direct you on what to write about (and what not to write about).
Check out your competition
You'll already be aware of who your competitors are, but have you seen their web sites? Have a look to see what their content is like, what's good and what's bad. Find out what sites link to them and ask these sites to link to your web site too - remember, the more quality incoming links you have the greater your ranking on sites like Google.
This may sound obvious but when you get communication from your web site make sure your correspondence is impeccable. When you receive an email via your site respond to it quickly and efficiently. And always answer the telephone with 'Good morning' or 'Good afternoon' (if you have to answer it 'Good evening' them maybe you're working too hard?).
Get feedback from site visitors and friends, ask them what content they are interested in. As an incentive you could offer an enticement like a free download - Top Ten Tips for Blah Blah Blah etc.
Build up your email list
This applies to Email Newsletters. If you encourage people to sign up for your newsletter it means you have a captive audience, i.e. people who have said they are interested in what you have to say and are willing to listen. Make the most of this privileged position.
You may have just launched your site but if you think something isn't right, don't hesitate to make changes, even if it means paying your web designer a little extra.
The key to a successful web site is to accept that it is a never-ending job. New web sites emerge and disappear regularly because they are not maintained, so don't rest on your laurels. Work hard to make your site a success.
Originally posted on Monday 3rd December 2007. Updated on 18th April 2010.