Launching a new website can be an intense experience. Preparing yourself for the launch and making sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row will ensure that your launch is successful. Today, I want to discuss with you ten things you must do before a new site launch.
Please note that not all items below are in an order of importance, but all 10 should be completed before the site launch.
1. Do Your Homework
Starting a website in any niche is hard work. Be prepared for it and prepare yourself for the type of visitors you’ll be gaining. Is your website going to be design related like SpyreStudios is? Ensure that you’re catering to those visitors in your planning. What about a freelancing website like Freelance Folder? Should they randomly post articles about sports or do they need to stick to their target market – freelancers? You guessed it, they stick to what their site is about and they know what their readers are after.
2. Create (Or Hire Someone To Create) A Killer Design
I’ve talked about this numerous times before with people, but I believe that design is one of the most important items for a website, especially one that is geared towards gaining clients and/or readership. Yes, if you’re running a blog, your content needs to be great (we’ll be covering that in a minute), but the design is what catches the viewers attention first – so make a good impression. :)
3. Plan Out A Month Or So Worth Of Content
There’s no reason to launch your site if you have nothing to show but 1-2 posts. I’d suggest having 4-5 posts up live and 10+ in the holster, ready to post every few days after the launch. This will let people know you’re serious about the site and will also give you time to promote the site, chat it up with other people in your niche to get some exposure and to write more content.
4. Arrange For A Giveaway For Your First Readers To Benefit From
A great way to ensure that you’re getting visitors when you launch is to organize a giveaway. You can do this by giving your services away for free (if you’re a designer, writer, coder, etc…) or find websites in your niche that your readers could benefit from (ie: time tracking software sites, invoicing sites, etc…). The bigger the contest, the better the response, so make sure you either go big or go home :)
5. Set Up All Of Your Google Accounts
Make sure you set up Google Analytics, Gmail, Webmaster tools, Sitemaps, Feedburner etc… You need to set them all up and make sure they’re all working properly so that when you launch, everything is in full running order. There’s nothing worse than launching a site, only to find out 2 days later that your feedburner link was broken or you forgot to set up analytics to track your traffic stats.
6. Set Up All Of Your Social Media Profiles
You might not use them all, but I’d suggest setting them all up anyways. For instance, when I started putting together the Giant Themes website, I immediately set up an account on twitter to help promote the site as well as make sure no one else is setting up an account under my name, squatting on it and/or promoting nonsense that I wouldn’t want associated with me.
7. Build Up Anticipation On Other Platforms
Do you already run a blog? Post up some teaser images and/or information about your pending site launch. Don’t have a blog yet? Why not leverage the power of twitter and utilize a hash tag like #GIANTcontest (which I’ll be utilizing myself soon) to make sure people are talking about your site and looking out for the launch. Just opening your doors without any warning could work, but the majority of the time, there’s a higher chance you’ll hit a home run if you build some anticipation beforehand.
8. Find A Host That Can Handle Your Traffic
It’s no secret that the ‘digg effect’ or becoming popular on websites like popurls, delicious and/or twitter will send you a huge amount of traffic and there’s nothing worse than having all that traffic and a “page cannot be displayed” screen. So, do some research and find a website host that can handle these things and has experience dealing with a website like yours. Can you get away with a shared hosting plan or should you go with a dedicated server or VPS? If you can’t answer that question, you need to do more research.
9. Do Last Minute Checks On All Of Your Pages And Content
Are your archives in order? Does the 404 page work properly? Are all of the social media links working on your page? Does your contact form work? These are just a few of the things you should check over just to make sure that your site is in full working order. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve built a site, got it running and then forgot to check the 404 pages or how the site displays the search results. It’s the little things that count – make sure you’re not looking them over.
10. Comment Over 100 Times On Various Blogs In Your Niche
Yes, you read that right – 100 times. This is a great way to build awareness for your site as well as build relationships with other bloggers in your niche. Another great result from this is that generally if you are commenting on other peoples blogs, they’re more eager to check your blog out and comment on yours. Now, imagine if 100 comments by you (on various blogs – 1 comment per blog) resulted in 100 comments on your launch posts. That will give instant credibility to new viewers who see 10+ comments on each post. (in theory – of course it’s pointless leaving comments on blogs if you’re not genuinely interested in the posts. It’s all about the conversations) :)
Anything I Missed? Let Me Know
I’m always up for revising my to do list when launching a site, so drop us a comment and let everybody know which items you normally follow. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the subject.