August 10, 2015
When you’re launching a new website, there are a variety of elements to consider and examine for a successful site to be built. Aside from the website design in general, the items on this to-do list below will play a pivotal role in achieving objectives you have outlined as part of a cohesive business plan for a new website. Without properly planning for a website launch or developing a cohesive business plan, you won’t be as effective with your efforts and objectives.
Determining the Primary Purpose
At its most basic level, a good website provides your customers with valuable information about a service or serves as an online marketing place for customers. If you’re an eCommerce site, the primary purpose of your website is simple — you want to sell goods to your audience, and to do so you will need a product page that properly showcases the goods you want users to purchase. If you’re a B2B with no product page to offer on your site, you can still have a strong call-to-action, even if it isn’t a “buy now” button. Whether it’s an RAQ form or a newsletter sign up, the purpose of your website is to gain more clients, and this should be defined from the start so that it helps shape the way your website is structured. Within moments, your audience should feasibly be able to accomplish the objective of your website.
Think About Keywords
The domain name for your website is an important feature to determine. It should reflect the nature of your business and be representative of what your company does. For SEO, this is particularly important. You want to attract potential customers searching for a specific type of service or product and for your website to be their finding. While domain names still play a strong role in your website’s success and in SEO, they are not the only elements you need to think about anymore. Things like title tags, meta-descriptions, and relevant URIs are also crucial to building up your search engine rankings, and significantly increasing traffic. Structure your pages around terms relative to your services and products, and integrate keywords as naturally as possible throughout your content.
Choosing a Hosting Provider
Every website needs a hosting provider where all data is stored for quick load times to allow users to easily access your content. When it comes to a Web host, there are two popular options—a shared host or a dedicated host. For small businesses, shared hosts are often selected because they have a significantly lower cost. However, you’ll be sharing this server with other websites, and if uptime and site speed is a concern, you may run into issues. By spending the money on a dedicated host, or basically your own private server, you won’t be sharing with other websites that could potentially cause a decrease in your site’s speed. While the cost is more, you are more likely to also have access to service and support anytime you need it.
Setting Up Analytics
One of the most important things you can set up for your site prior to launch is an analytics program such as Google Analytics. By implementing this onto your development or staging server before the website is live, you can iron out any issues and coordinate a proper set up. Once the website is live, you can monitor which pages are performing the best, what products aren’t being sold, and try to determine the reason why. With the proper implementation of this program, you can thoroughly examine marketing campaigns to see further understand user behavior, and subsequently optimize your site accordingly.
Building Your Pages
A good website is more than just a good homepage—it’s the entire website design. By creating various pages that are dedicated to different aspects of your business, you can provide your clients with as much valuable information necessary to make an informed decision about whether or not to move forward with your company. Your homepage is the first impression you give users, and should be captivating, reflective of your brand, and feature a clear navigation with a strong call-to-action that encourages users to complete your objective.
The about us page is another very important page for your website, and is often not thought of as being crucial to a successful website. You can’t just have two or three paragraphs explaining what you do, you should be offering an inside look at your organization’s culture, with graphics or visual elements that show who you are as a company. For most industries, a blog is another way to instill this sense of credibility with users. Having an active blog is an effective way to build up your audience and showcase expertise for most brands. This holds particularly true for start-ups, where content marketing initiatives are a great way to generate traffic by targeting long tail keywords that will provide your business with relevant, qualified traffic.
Determining what the strengths and weaknesses of your website are can be difficult. By conducting A/B testing, or using a tool such as visual web optimizer, you can couple your testing with analytics to determine what design elements (such as typography, colors, and font size) are working best on your website. By testing different elements, you will begin to see trends for what seems to be working and what isn’t in terms of generating the most conversions. Acting on those findings will directly help you increase your conversion rate and enhance your online sales.
Utilizing social platforms is absolutely necessary for all businesses today—there is simply no way around it. Most businesses need active accounts with engaging posts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If you sell any sort of visual product or service, Pinterest or Instagram are also excellent channels for posting something that is attractive to the eye or interesting to look at. Consider the 80/20 rule across the board for your social posts. Eighty percent of your content should be genuinely interesting and non-promotional, and 20 percent should be self-promotional.
Strong Website Design
Any business today needs a strong website design to support the foundation of the business and provide a good user experience for customers and potential customers. Without the proper planning in place before you launch your website, you’ll find your success and business growth won’t be as significant. Taking the time to go through each element above will prove beneficial to any new website, regardless of industry or sector.
Gabriel Shaoolian is a digital trends expert and CEO and founder of Blue Fountain Media, a digital agency in NYC focused on growing brands online through effective websites and online marketing. From start-ups to Fortune 1000s, Blue Fountain Media helps generate more leads and increased brand recognition Last year alone, the company, which has a client roster that includes Procter & Gamble, Harper Collins, Canon, NFL, Publishers Clearing House, Sharp, AOL and the United Nations, drove more than 200 million monthly visitors and $2 billion in revenue to the digital properties of its clients.