Your brand new website has been in the works for weeks. You’ve seen the amazing demo and the last bugs are gone. It’s finally time for your website to go LIVE! One flick of a switch, one click of a button and there it is. Brand new, and waiting to welcome its first visitors! Now you can sit back and relax, enjoy all the amazing new traffic, inquiries and sales your website is sure to bring, right?
If only it were that easy! As anyone who’s ever tried to create a thriving website or blog will tell you it’s not that easy! Once your website is live it might seem like all the hard work is done, but in reality, it’s only just beginning. The real work starts after your site is live. Traffic doesn’t just appear, you have to work for it. Websites don’t just thrive on their own, like houseplants, they need a little tender care. You can’t simply stick it in the corner and never water it again and expect it to thrive, you’ve got to at least water it every so often!
What are you supposed to do once your website is live anyway?
Your website probably has some sort of content on it right? Maybe its products for an e-commerce site, or maybe you have a company blog? No matter what your niche is you need content for your site. Your visitors expect to be able to do something when they get there right? Even if you don’t have a blog, you still want your content to shine, don’t you?
If you have a blog:
- Create a content calendar & plan your blog posts.
- Create new blog posts, update old ones as needed.
If you don’t have a blog (and even if you do):
- A/B Test Your Copy. Is your current copy really the best copy to use? Or could it be better? It’s time to find out!
- Keep the information updated. That means your hours, phone number, location, social media links, and even employee bios if you have them.
- Add testimonials and social proof.
- Update seasonal offerings and promotions.
Say what? SEO is search engine optimization, and yes, it does sound overwhelming but it’s really quite simple. SEO is how you get search engines like Google to notice you. The better you are at doing this, the more likely you will be one of the first links people looking for sites like yours will find, and that means more traffic will head your way. SEO has two parts: 1. Doing things Google likes and rewards. 2. Not doing bad things Google doesn’t like. Frankly, the only search engine most people care about is Google. It’s the biggest and the best, so what it says goes. Failure to play by Google’s rules can get you blacklisted from their search engine! That means it’s important to not do the things you shouldn’t do.
What should you do? What should you avoid? Don’t worry, here’s a TLDR (too long didn’t read) version for you.
Good SEO Practices (aka Get on Google’s good side.)
- Have a responsive or mobile-friendly website. (Since your site is brand new, this shouldn’t be a problem!)
- Have well-written content with lots of keywords about what you do. (Grammar and everything you used in English class still applies!)
- Keywords: These are words you’d use to describe what you do. You will naturally use them as you write your content. If you sell crochet items, you’ll probably be mentioning the term crochet, and hand-made crochet doilies naturally on your site, those are keywords. Keywords help Google understand what your site is about. Yes, it DOES read your site and it’s getting better and better at understanding how we humans talk and write.
- Quick Page loading times.
- Good User experience (No annoying pop-ups, good design, etc). [Grats on the new site, by the way. You probably have this already taken care of!]
- Use Keywords in important areas, like page titles, URLs, and headings.
- Use images.
SEO Practices That You Should Never Do (aka Don’t ever do these things or Google will be angry.)
- Hide things. Some bad advise that will earn you the wrath of Google includes hiding keywords and phrases in your content so readers can’t see it, but search engines can! This is bad! Don’t do it!
- Having paid links on your site. (This includes affiliate links! If any link on your site has paid you a fee to be there it must be rel=nofollowed.)
- Submitting your site’s URL to bad sites aka link farms. Your site’s reputation is in part related to the sites that link to it. If good sites like legit businesses, schools, and government sites link to it Google will think it must be a good site. If bad sites, like link farms and spam sites, link to it will think your site is bad. You can’t control all of this, but it is the main reason why you shouldn’t submit your site to any bad link farms.
- Have large pop-ups that block the viewer’s view of the content. This includes things like newsletter pop-ups and so-called “welcome mat” pop-ups. It does not include things like login screens, and legally required pop-ups like cookie disclaimers.
- A site that isn’t mobile friendly.
Promote Your Site!
You have a brand new site, you want people to see it, so tell them about it! Tell your friends and family in real life, tell everyone across all your social media accounts! Don’t keep it to yourself, celebrate your new site’s launch! Don’t forget to add it to your business card, email signature, LinkedIn and any other professional account or platform you might be using. Yes, that includes your social media accounts. You may also want to go beyond that, many businesses celebrate their launches with specials and giveaways. They are a great way to build buzz and get your new site some extra attention and promotion. Whatever your marketing plan includes, make sure it celebrates your new site too.
Don’t Forget the Maintenance
While some hosts might do all the maintenance for you, not all do. Websites are not fire-and-forget, they do need care. You want to keep your site safe and secure, regular maintenance is part of that. Just like your vehicle, houseplants, and everything else, regular maintenance now can save you big time in the long run.
- Regularly backup your site. IMPORTANT! (This isn’t optional, don’t lose all you’ve built! Backup your site at least once a month!)
- Regularly update WordPress.
- Regularly update your plugins.
- Regularly update your theme.
- Use secure user passwords and update them every few months.
- Use a plugin or service to help keep your site secure.
Wondering what plugins to use? Check these out.
Your website is a valuable stone to help you build the foundation of your business. It can do a lot of things for you, but it can’t do everything on its own. Taking action on your site will help keep traffic heading your way and keep your website safe and secure. Don’t launch a website and forget about it! Nurture it and care for it, and it will be one of your biggest assets.