If you are preparing to launch a new website, I’m going to assume you have done your research to select a product or service that will be viable in the current marketplace. Or at least that you have an outstanding idea you need to share with the world.
So we won’t be covering that part of the website launch process. Instead, we’re going to take a look at how best to take your website from an unknown to, hopefully, viral success. The most important thing to remember when launching a new website is that success won’t happen overnight. It’s going to be hard and tedious, but the more attention you pay to every last detail, the more successful you will be.
Know that you can’t just throw some items or product SKUs on a webpage and let the internet do the work for you. That won’t happen. You have to make sure you’re preparing your site to be appealing to your target customer and then getting it out there for them to see. If that sounds feasible and you think you have what it takes, keep reading.
Step 1: Build A Great Site
There are a number of important factors to consider when you start. Again, we’ll assume you’ve already done some of the basics like choose a name and domain, picked a website host, and created a clean and recognizable logo. Those things are incredibly important, but we’re going to focus on the things you need to feature on the site once those decisions have been made.
Know Your Pitch
The homepage of your site should quickly let people know what your brand is all about and why they should pay attention. Basically, you’re trying to hook them in and give them a reason to continue exploring the site.
You should spend a significant amount of time on this because you want your message to be conveyed in 10 seconds or less. Why ten? It’s really quick, but so is the attention span of the average internet user. Research shows that if a visitor lasts at least 10 seconds, they are more likely to spend a few extra minutes on your site!
Have Content Ready
As you build your site, make sure you build your content too. I’m not just talking blog posts, though if you’re going to have a blog make sure you have at least 3 or 4 articles posted before your launch, but also available products, an About Us page, Contact Us page, and other assets. Having the site populated with a decent amount of content upon launch will give visitors something to explore and, more importantly, something to get hooked on.
Pick a Theme
This may seem easy, but a lot of thought should be given to this aspect of your new site. When choosing a theme, you will want to consider the layout, color scheme, and overall design. If your site is too crowded, it will be overwhelming to visitors.
If it’s too sparse, it will appear empty. Odd colors, or one that are hard on the eyes, may drive visitors away. And having a design that is difficult to navigate will frustrate potential customers before they have the chance to get hooked.
You also want to make sure all these different aspects of the theme accurately represent your overall brand. What do you want visitors to feel when they come to your site? That’s what you’re trying to capture here.
Design a Logo
Much like your theme, you’ll want to think carefully about your logo. Your logo will become a visual representation of your brand over time and you’ll want to make sure that image is recognizable. Try to stay away from too many details that will get lost when the logo is sized down.
Keeping the design of the logo clean and simple is a great guideline. If you’re looking for a way to differentiate your logo from the rest, think creatively about how you can use color.
Not the creative type? Try hiring a contractor to bring your vision to life. Even if you don’t have a vision yet, explain the concept or goal of your site and the designer may have an idea to share.
Create a Pre-Launch Page
While you’re working on your site, you’ll also be creating buzz around the launch (more on that in a minute). So you’ll want to point visitors to a page with more information about the site your building. This page should be designed using your theme while incorporating your logo and pitch.
Allowing potential customers to access this page before your launch will help build brand awareness and recognition. Plus, if you include social sharing buttons as an easy way for visitors to spread the word, you’ll be recruiting others to help you spread the word.
Step 2: Spread The Word
Get on Social Media
One of the best ways to spread the word about your new site is social media. As you’re building your site, make sure you create brand account on various social media platforms. Think critically about who your target customer is and then evaluate which networks to join.
Once you have the networks selected, make sure your brand profile on each matches the overall theme of your branding on the site. This will help your potential customers get familiar with your brand.
Remember: just like your website, have content available on your social profiles before proceeding to follow others.
Develop a Following
After you’ve setup social media accounts, you have to gain followers. This may seem overwhelming at first, but you’ll have a community in no time! Start by brainstorming a list of large brands that are similar to what your brand is, we’ll call these aspirational brands.
After you have your list of aspirational brands, go to their brand pages on each network you’re on and look through their followers. When you see another smaller brand, follow them. Chances are they’ll follow you back.
Once you have a relationship with some other small brands, you can look through their followers for Influencers. A tell tale sign of an Influencer account is a high follower count. The higher the count, the more valuable that person could be to your brand.
If you are an outdoor brand, some potential influencers could be wildlife adventurers, landscape photographers, or conservationists. There is a following for nearly every niche on social media, you just have to find yours.
Now that you have a following, you can start generating buzz around the launch of your site. Put the link to your pre-launch page in the bio of your social profiles and make sure to share your launch date.
Having an actual date will help to excite people, while having a vague ‘Coming Soon’ might keep them at bay. The more hype you can generate around your launch date, the higher your chances are of launching with a bang.
Step 3: Grow A Community
Once you launch, and as your build your site, make sure you take advantage of on-site marketing techniques. This will help ensure that visitors to your site become customers and, hopefully, advocates. There are a number of simple on-site features to help accomplish this:
- Social Sharing Buttons As mentioned before, social sharing buttons will allow visitors to easily share pages and products to their own social profiles. This is great for you because it puts your website in front of a whole different audience.
- Promo Codes Offering promo codes directly on your site helps keep visitors present. They won’t leave your site to look for a discount. You can even generate a sense of urgency by putting a timer on the page once the offer is activated to encourage visitors to make a purchase before their discount expires.
- Referral Programs A referral program combines the previous two methods by offering a discount to those who refer new customers. Giving you the benefit of more social sharing and, hopefully, more sales.