So, your brand has a shiny new website. What next…?
Launching a new website is certainly no mean feat. If you’ve spent the time, money and resource on having an entirely new website designed and built from the ground up, you need it to start delivering a return for your business pretty quickly.
After all, you don’t want all that time spent pushing for budget sign-off and deliberating over design concepts to go to waste. This is your brand spanking new shopfront, your window to the world, the epicentre of all of your sales and marketing efforts. It’s a pretty big deal.
If you’ve used a trusted website development company, there’s a good chance your business goals will have been at the heart of the project right from the off. But your work isn’t done once that final approval is confirmed. That’s when the big questions really come into play.
– How do you make sure your new website is found by your target audience, customers or clients?
– How do you give them a positive experience when they’re on your website?
– How do you keep them coming back for more?
We could probably write a book on each one of those, but that’s not really how we roll. So instead, here’s a snapshot of the considerations you need to make both before and after that new website goes live.
After all, your new website attracting users in their droves right from the off would be far too easy, wouldn’t it?!
Migrate your existing site to keep those strong foundations
If your business is a completely new brand or start-up, this won’t be a concern. But for the majority of brands, there’s a legacy to consider here. Years spent building and optimising an existing site, earning backlinks and supporting with a raft of digital marketing campaigns. All of this will have built up a degree of authority in the eyes of the Google algorithm, which is something you’ll want to preserve at all costs.
For a failsafe migration, use a web design and development agency with bags of experience. There’s a lot to consider here from testing on a staging server to ensuring every page on the old site is married up with a specific page containing the same information on the new one.
Get this bit wrong and all that hard work in building your old site will sink without a trace. But nail this bit and your new site will have some outstanding foundations to build on – making you much more likely to see results quickly.
On-site SEO and keyword optimisation
There’s lots to unpack there and lots to plan when it comes to your keyword research and onsite optimisation. The best starting point is your keyword research. We tend to recommend using a range of tools to get your keyword ideas;
– Google Keyword Planner: Handy for obtaining volumes and competition of keywords alongside suggestions of similar relevant key terms.
– SEMRush Keyword Gap Tool & Keyword Magic: By popping your URL and a couple of competitors into this tool, you can quickly get an idea of what keywords they currently rank for, the difficulty and volume. The keyword magic tool allows you to enter an existing keyword(s) and will give you a range of variations and similar keywords.
– Moz Keyword Research Tool: Another handy tool that allows you to enter either a URL or keyword to find recommendations for your optimisation strategy.
Once you’ve decided which keywords you want to focus on, you should identify the most likely ‘quick wins’ for your brand. Often, these are high volume, low competition keywords in the short term, but it is also worth considering targeting more generic and competitive keywords used by a broader range of users over the long term.
Ultimately, the aim here is to find that sweet spot where the topics a user is interested in meets the quality content your brand can offer in response. In doing so, it’s also wise to explore the brands already ranking for those target keywords and whether there is any room for improvement in their content, which could be addressed by your brand.
We like to use that target keyword list to create a content plan which ensures your website is regularly updated with content designed to add value to those who visit the site. From an informative landing page for a new product range to a blog offering valuable insight into the industry issues affecting your prospects, the goal here is to ensure content is varied, engaging and sharable.
Use digital PR to earn backlinks
If traditional PR is all about building brand awareness indirectly through media coverage, digital PR can do that and more. But why is digital PR even relevant to the launch of a new website?
In simple terms, your site needs inbound links for Google to deem it an authoritative, trustworthy source of information. The more links you have pointing to your site from credible sources elsewhere, the more likely Google is to rank your website above your competitors for relevant search terms.
How can you build backlinks to your site? Through digital PR.
A good digital PR campaign will often be centred around a linkable asset – in other words, a piece of content hosted on your website that a journalist, blogger or influencer would need to link to in order to add important context to their article.
From white papers to buyers guides, infographics to itineraries, FAQs to interactive tools, there are numerous types of content that add weight to a story but even more importantly, enhance the experience of your target prospect when they visit your site. If you feel like you’ve heard the term content marketing used more frequently in recent years, that’s why – it can make a huge difference to the visibility of a brand’s website.
But be careful – not all backlinks are equal. Google recognises that a link from a high ranking news site to yours is a more credible nod to your brand and the content it offers than a barely used directory listing, for example. Those outdated link building techniques of placing links anywhere and everywhere certainly won’t get you anywhere these days. And there are a number of factors that make a good link.
Make sure the content you offer to a journalist of publisher contains a keyword (or keywords) as anchor text containing a relevant link, but don’t overload your press releases or editorial with links and don’t target completely irrelevant publications either. Your digital PR strategy should be centred around making sure the information you offer to a user is relevant and enhances their online experience.
Driving traffic, conversions and purchases via social media
Social media goes hand in hand with discovery so use your social channels to amplify all the great content, products, and/or services your website has to offer. While the temptation might be to shout loudly and proudly that you now have a brand spanking new website, your social media followers will want to know how this will benefit them. Does your new site contain a really useful tool? Then why not use your social content to offer a sneak preview? Similarly, if your new site boasts a load of really useful blog content, consider each blog as an opportunity to tell your social following what makes each one a must-read.
Consider social media advertising as a way to reach your target demographic, however niche that might be. If you have an online store, social media advertising can be a great way to drive purchases as well as traffic, so consider how your social media strategy can reach new users and move them through your sales funnel using a variety of different content, creative and ad formats – many of which are designed with your business goals in mind.
Ongoing website optimisation
To revisit our analogy about your new website being your shopfront, you wouldn’t let your signage and window display reach a state of disrepair and the same applies to your site. Maintaining your website is key, as is ongoing optimisation.
Whether you have eCommerce functionality or you have a simple brochure site, it needs to be continuously monitored for bugs, errors, security and your content needs to remain up to date and relevant to the users you want to see it.
You should regularly critique how users are interacting with your site, the buttons they press the most, the way in which they contact you, and overall how effective the User Experience (UX) is.
Equally, you need to think about how you get users to your site – this could be through social channels, organic search and digital PR which will all work in tandem (if done well) to help your website establish visibility and expose your brand to more potential customers. Tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console will play a key role here, as can a raft of other tools designed to help you to fully understand how users find and use your site.
So while launching your new website might feel like a case of job done, it’s actually just the first step towards a brighter future for your brand and your business. And that’s where the fun starts, right?