After months of planning, design and lots and lots of hard graft, it’s now time to launch your website and showcase your sparkly new makeover to the public.
A daunting prospect perhaps, but with the right strategy in place, launching your new website can be as seamless as Tim Peake’s orbit into the International Space Station. After meticulous planning and preparation to get your website up and running, launching it with a half-hearted attitude doesn’t cut the mustard.
And anyway, now that you’ve got so good at planning – why stop now?
So the first step with any successful launch is to plan ahead. Design a launch document and outline all the areas that need to be addressed prior to the big day. A checklist is a good place to start as this helps to iron out all the finer details before delving deeper into bigger, long term strategies.
A brand new website can look the part but making sure it works is just as important. First things first, test, test and test again to find and fix any issues before your public discover them. Test your site in every browser because whilst it may look fabulous in Firefox, Internet Explorer just isn’t doing it justice. Test all the links, including links in the menu, links which appear in your content and buttons across your site as you don’t want to dishearten your visitors with a dead link and a 404 error message. As mobile and tablet usage is becoming increasingly popular too, testing your website across different platforms ensures your website adapts well to a different environment. Check that all your contact forms and call-to-actions are in working order and finally make sure all your Meta titles and descriptions are optimised and accompanied by a friendly URL.
When you’ve been working on a website for so long it can be easy to miss a typo here and there. That’s why proofreading all your content is a big must to make sure there are no mistakes that will leave you with a red face (hey, that rhymes). If you have multiple content contributors it’s important to check that all your content maintains a consistent voice, tone and style. This will help visitors identify with your brand and really get to know your personality – because appearance isn’t everything.
Your blog is another key player in making sure your launch goes off with a bang. Having a blog bursting with valuable content brings your website to life and gets your voice out there. And thanks to Google’s Penguin Algorithm Update – content is still king. So where to start? If you are updating an old website you will (hopefully) already have a number of blog posts on your existing site which you can spruce up and republish once your site is live. If you are starting from scratch then having a few blog posts already published will establish a history, promoting your blog as a hive of useful information that people will return to again and again. Alongside posts which are relevant and useful to your sector, crafting a viral piece of content that you can use as a promotional tool will spark interest in far reaching places. A forecast post could be a great way to identify current and future trends of that year and a forecast on their success. This piece of content shows an up-to-date knowledge of your sector and also identifies you as a thought leader during the launch.
An all-rounder resource is another great tool for showing the world that you really do know your stuff. It’s easy to become complacent when writing about your product or service and take it for granted that people will know what you’re talking about. A lot of the time, they might not and your carefully crafted content may become lost on your readers. Creating a glossary of terms which explains all the sector specific terminology that you have used will help forge a closer relationship with your audience and help them to really understand what you are talking about.
You may not think the launch of your website is quite newsworthy material however writing a press release is another great way to create some buzz during the launch. Write an interesting and factual piece that can be submitted to local newspapers and online PR sites to make sure your launch hits the headlines.
Finally, crafting a creative social media strategy to spark interest in the weeks leading up to your launch is an effective way to increase engagement when you need it most. Once you have a launch date in mind, stick to it. Think of the launch date as an event, the specific time and day that your brand and everything it has to offer is on display to the public. Teaser campaigns offer an exclusive insight to what is coming and leave your audience thirsty for more. Share progress images from the old site to the new to show how far you’ve come or create a screencast video to give your visitors an exclusive tour around key pages of the site. Counting down to the launch date also builds momentum in the lead up to the big day and provides a subtle reminder of when it’s all going to happen.
As our very own website launch identified, all the strategies which we had in place showed that there were #CreativeJuicesIncluded to really bring that added zest.