Launching a new website is exciting and a bit daunting. No doubt you have high hopes for it and can’t wait to go live so that good things start happening for your business, writes marketing and SEO expert Karen Dauncey.
But great design and structure, engaging copy and high-quality images are only part of the package. You need your website to stand out, attract the attention of potential customers and deliver the goods (figuratively and literally!), so let’s chat about some key things you need to do behind the scenes which will boost your online visibility.
When you launch your first business website, remember these 12 action points
- Alert Google
Why? The starting point for your SEO is getting your business name ranked on Google. To do this, you need to advise Google about your new website. Google will then be able to start indexing your pages.
How? Set up a Google Search Console account and submit your sitemap.xml.
- Claim your Google Business Profile (previously called Google My Business)
Why? This free tool from Google is essential for any business which services a local area from a bricks and mortar premises, or services businesses in person from their location. It can’t be claimed by online-only businesses. Use it to manage how your local business shows up across Google products such as Maps and Search and update your information regularly to keep customers informed and engaged.
- Share on your socials
Why? Social media platforms are playing an increasingly important role in the way businesses communicate with customers and vice versa. You should have a presence on as many platforms as are relevant to your business so that you can announce your new website, promote your business and interact with your target audience.
How? Upload posts (make them as compelling as possible to attract traffic to your website), link your website directly to your Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles to generate traffic to your website when potential customers want to know more information about your business.
- Set up Google Analytics
Why? This is a really useful tool that allows you to see how much traffic is coming to your website and where it’s coming from – in real-time. Use it to find out your customers’ behaviour, their user experience, which devices they’re using and which channels drive the most traffic, plus keep track of your digital marketing campaigns. And more. By understanding the behaviour of your visitors, you can deliver better results.
How? Go to https://google.com/analytics, set up your free account and then install it on your website. It can be a bit fiddly, but it’s worth persevering as the information provided by the tool is invaluable.
- Check for broken links
Why? Broken links are a real menace in terms of your business reputation and your SEO. They negatively affect the user experience and can affect things like bounce rates and dwell time which can harm your SEO rankings.
How? Tools such as brokenlinkchecker.com can be used to test your site for broken links. They do the work finding any problematic links – you just need to make sure you fix them (and then remember to test again!).
- Preview your site on a mobile
Why? More and more people use their mobiles to search for brands, products or services. When they click on a website that isn’t optimised for mobiles, they feel frustrated and will probably leave. Previewing your site on a mobile gives you the opportunity to test the navigation, making sure that all the key pages, menus and buttons (eg Contact Us, Buy Now) are easy to find and use.
How? Do a test run yourself and also ask for an independent objective evaluation from someone who hasn’t been involved in the website design or development to make sure that new visitors to your website are able to navigate it seamlessly.
- Test your Contact Form
Why? Every potential customer is important – especially a motivated one. When someone completes a contact form, it means they WANT a response from you. Your contact form simply cannot fail, so you need to make sure it works and that the message gets through to a working email address.
How? Fill in the contact form on your website, check that the users get a message after they submit the contact form to let them know when you will be in touch, and also make sure the email comes through to your inbox with the test enquiry.
- Get cracking on your SEO
Why? Effective SEO can put your website at the top of the search engine rankings. It will boost your online visibility and put your business in front of your target audience.
How? Add keyword-rich SEO titles and meta descriptions.
- Review your website content
Why? Content is the most essential part of your website. Design, navigation, structure etc are all really important, but great content is what will attract attention, draw people into your site and keep them there. Make it readable, explain clearly what you’re about and what you offer and keep the tone friendly. And remember, no spelling or grammatical mistakes! Remember as well that Google loves great quality content and want to provide the best quality website result from each time someone does a relevant search.
How? Read the content out loud. This is a simple, but really effective way of finding out how the copy actually sounds. And use Grammarly to check spelling and grammar throughout the site. Don’t forget to include comprehensive content on your key web pages that you want to rank on Google.
- Optimise your images.
Why? Images that aren’t optimised correctly can be slow to load, compromising the user experience and possibly even resulting in lost business.
How? Make sure you upload images with the right dimensions (without any loss of quality) and include an image ALT and keywords in the file name if possible. Images can be optimised in various ways including resizing, caching or compressing them. Have a read of our image optimisation for SEO blog post for more information.
- List in local directories
Why? Adding your website to local directories adds authority and builds trust (from Google’s perspective and in terms of public/industry perceptions).
How? Add your website to business directories in your area and industry bodies and include local citations where possible.
- Start blogging
Why? Blogging is a really useful way to increase traffic to your website, build your reputation, share information about your business and brands, put new ideas and opinions into the marketplace and expand your sphere of influence. Blogging also helps you establish your business personality and build trust and authority.
How? There are plenty of resources on how to write blogs and you can either DIY or outsource the job to an expert. Remember to always use your target keywords in the copy and write for the reader, not the search engine! You can also read our blog on Why you need to blog for SEO for more information.
These are just some of the most important things to do when launching your first business website. Get the basics right and then you can really start applying more advanced SEO techniques and tools to take your website success to the next level.
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