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3 Ways To Optimize Your New Website Launch

3 Ways to Optimize Your Website Launch

I’ve been knee-deep in new website launches with clients and with my own website, recently.  After months of fussing over getting everything just right, it’s totally understandable to want to get that new baby out into the world. I get it – you can’t wait to finally share your new look and branding with everyone.  However, here are a three steps you should consider taking so that your fantastic new website gets maximum exposure and visibility.

1)   Get your website Google-ready.

As important as it is for your new site to function properly and be easy to navigate for new users, it is just as important for it to work well for Google and the other search engines. Make sure that you have created the best headlines, meta descriptions, and keywords for all of the content on your site so that the search engines identify your website as one that is reliable, informative, and appropriate for searches in your areas of expertise.

yoast

For most WordPress sites, you can add in plug-ins (Yoast is the most popular) to help you do this. However, if it sounds too confusing, I advise hiring an SEO (search engine optimization) expert to help you with this process – ideally before you even design your new site.

2)   Carry your new design across all platforms.

No doubt hours and hours were spent thinking about the images, color, fonts, and the look of your new site – right? Keep that awesome design going with your branding for your newsletter, social media networks, and online presentations. You want your fans and customers to feel like they are in your world with your consistent look and messaging no matter where they are in your online space.

branding

Create new newsletter header, and new (and appropriately-sized) social media images (both profile and cover images) using your brand’s new look. Also, make sure your website and looks good when it is shared. Get your designer to help you, and use social sharing plug-in (my website designer  recommended Social Warfare) and set up your social cards on your website so that you can control the look and specific content that is shared.

3)   Let your tribe help spread the word and engage with your new website.

Nothing is as infectious and engaging as a happy excited employee or fan, so let them help you share your good news. Encourage them to share the new website with their networks. If they have been involved in the process, this shouldn’t be difficult as they are probably as enthusiastic to get the word out.

stats

In one recent launch, the team was so excited and proud of the new website, the employee team shared it on Facebook and encouraged all of their friends to like the company’s Facebook page, nearly doubling the the audience in one week!

Or make a game out of it. My friend Patty Lennon just launched a gorgeous new site and to get her people to check it out, she created a treasure hunt on her site – hiding a phrase that she rewarded people for finding.

It could be so easy to finally flip the switch and just let your site be your new site. Often, people choose to forget these extra steps or they wait until they realize they are not getting the traction they expected.  But taking the time and implementing these critical to-dos into your launch strategy will most certainly give you the wider visibility and engagement you are seeking for your most important online marketing tool – your website.

Want to learn more about maximizing your new launch? Schedule a clarity call with me now.

Your website is ready to go live, take a deep breath…and check again!

In this month’s guest blog post, website designer Veronica Agabs offers a great “check list” before launching a new website:

So, you worked hard and everything is ready but there still things to go over. I am not asking you to be a perfectionist but few simple things can make a big difference. So be sure to check one more time. Here is the list you should go over before you turn the ‘switch’ on.

1. Is the navigation where you’d expect it to be?
2. Is the navigation terminology clear (i.e. “Contact” versus “Reach Out”)?
3 Are there any broken navigation links?
4. Is there excess clutter in the form of graphics or text?
5. Are the colors pleasing to the eye or do they give you a headache?
6. Is the text on the homepage clean and simple?
7. Is it clear what the website is about? When considering the ten-second rule, this is one of those areas where there should be no doubt in the visitor’s mind.
8. As a visitor, are your most important questions answered quickly?
9. A simple About page is fine. In almost all cases, this includes a photo and a brief bio. It’s always nice to know who you’re doing business with, wouldn’t you agree?
10. Optimization for conversions means making sure your website serves a purpose – it doesn’t necessarily mean a big red “BUY NOW” button.
11. Do a basic SEO audit. Here are a few other things to look for:
– Does the website have an appropriate site title and meta description?
– Are the major pages of the site optimized with an appropriate title, meta description, and content?
– Is permalink structure set-up properly?
– Is there address and contact information in the footer of each page?
– Is their NAP (name, address and phone number) consistent across all their profiles (website, social & business listings)?
– Make sure all pages are verified by Google

Beyond the obvious navigation, general layout and color selection, does the site feel intuitive? Are things where you’d expect them to be? More specifically, is the existing design trying too hard to be creative at the expense of simplicity? Put yourself in the shoes of a real visitor, because this is who the website should be built for.

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Veronica Agabs is a a freelance web developer, a WordPress fan, dog and coffee lover, and mother of three.  She is passionate about helping businesses and individuals to build their visibility online. No project is too big or too small. Rather than being just a designer or developer, she sees herself as a business partner. Her specialties include branding, design, user experience, development, integration, and maintenance. 

Measuring for Success: A check-up for your website

This article is the first in the “Measuring Your Success with Online Marketing” series reviewing key marketing metrics for you online platforms (website, newsletters and social media) to gauge where you are, where you are going and how best to get you there.

How healthy is your website?  If you have a blog, e-commerce and/or a contact form on your website, you might have a general sense of how active or engaged visitors are with your website.  However, most people who basically use their website as an online marketing brochure (is this you?) don’t really have a sense of how well their website is performing and what they could do to improve its “health and vitality.”

To review the basic website metrics, you will need to have Google Analytics installed on you site, so that you can then log into the Google Analytics dashboard for your site (if you don’t know how to do this, ask your web developer or go here).



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Google Analytics Dashboard

 

Now let’s dig in to the numbers – (which I recommend you do at least monthly) and understand what they mean.

Number of sessions – This is defined as each time a visitor initiates a session.  Ideally, you would like to see this number grow each month or at least remain constant.   Adding new, consistent and valuable content to your site on a frequent basis will help grow your audience.  If there are big fluctuations from month to month, it is important to figure out what or who is helping to spike your traffic (see Referrals via Acquisition below).

Number of users – This is the number of  visitors who are coming to your site for a specified period of time (by default 30 days).  A 50/50 balance of new and returning visitors shows a healthy engagement with fans who are returning to learn more from you and a new audience who is interested to find out more.

** Note- Don’t get lost in the numbers and forget about engagement.  It’s important to be consider quantity AND quality of your audience.  For example, in trying to raise awareness for your site and business, you will be much better served by 500 enthusiastic visitors who return to your website on a regular basis, read your blog posts, leave comments, refer traffic and contact you, than you will by having 1,000 visitors who visit once and never come back. **

Time on site (Avg Session Duration) – Obviously, the more time spent on your site the better, but don’t forget we have short attention spans, so don’t be surprised to see an average of under 2 minutes.  To get people to stay on your site, make it “sticky” by including easy navigation and discoverability throughout your site.  In other words, make it easy for them to get wherever it is you want them to go on your site.  Don’t lead them to dead ends.

Bounce rate – This percentage reflects how much of your audience is landing on your site and bouncing off quickly.  Ideally you don’t want to see a bounce rate higher than 60%.  If it is hovering closer to 45% or 50%, that’s better, but not ideal.  Try to keep it trending downward using the same engaging tactics (mentioned above) for getting them to spend more time on your site.

Sources and referrals via the Acquisition Channel  – Where is your traffic coming from?  Are they coming by searching? Or via email? Or social media? Another website?  Who is your top “referrer”?  Be sure to be developing relationships (online and off) with your most valuable referral sources.

Most popular pages via the Behavior Channel – Once visitors are on your site, what do they do there? What page do they come to first, and then where to they go?  Which are the most popular pages on your site for a given period?  Is it your services, about, portfolio or do they head to the blog?  Does this change or does is stay the same?  Understanding your visitors’ behavior and interest will help you better update and refresh your site with content they are seeking.

In reviewing these key stats on a monthly basis, you will soon get a clear picture about how healthy and effective your website is.   It will also give you valuable insight about how well your other online marketing efforts (social media, newsletters, online advertising, adwords, etc.) are performing.

Stay tuned for more about online marketing measurement and metrics, when we look at social media and email newsletter marketing in upcoming posts. 

In the meantime, let me know in the comments, what did you learn or discover about the health of your website when you dug into Google Analytics.   I look forward to hearing from you!  Thanks.

Why I Started A Blog

So why would a former-accountant-turned-online-connection-maker start a blog?  Very good question.

In addition, to knowing that a blog is good for SEO (search engine optimization),  it creates the the opportunity to share insights about what I am working on and what I have learned and what might be helpful to you.    I also have to walk my talk – don’t I?  If I can sit and convince you that a blog is necessary for your website and growing your business, then I sure as heck should be blogging for my business to prove it, right?

Blogging also allows me to practice writing, which is not necessarily my strong suit.  Believe it or not, I find it much easier to edit others’ writing or to spin some  marketing copy or even input numbers into a databse.  Staring at a blank screen (or a blank page in my notebook) to compose my thoughts or to succinctly explain a new idea can be a daunting proposition.

Yes, there is so much information to share.  However, I sometimes feel overwhelmed with how to organize it, present it and write it.  I worry about the tone,  staying on message and keeping it interesting, using keywords and providing “quality content” – all the things that are important for good blog writing.

Phew – I’ve admitted it:  I am vulnerable and I am figuring this out as I go along.  I wonder who will ever read this and I hope that I can keep it up with some consistency.   But if I wait to figure out a perfect plan, then it may never happen.  So here we go and I hope you will join me on this journey of blog writing, story telling and tip sharing.

Please let me know in the comments – What blogs do you read?  Have you ever tried to write a blog?  What was the best and worst part of the experience?