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Hopefully following this guide will help you mitigate the mistakes that are in many ways an essential part of the growing experience business owners make while launching a new website.
Every day, all across the world, excited entrepreneurs, business owners, and creatives are excitedly launching their new website.
The only problem is, those websites are littered with mistakes.
Yes, no website is perfect, and even the biggest on the web right now will have little errors that make life difficult for visitors and the webmaster alike. However, what the top websites do right is proactively root out the mistakes that cause real damage, no matter how simple they are.
In this article, we’ll explain what not to do and how you can avoid simple website launch mistakes in 2021.
1. Common website launch mistakes
First, let’s take a look at some common website launch mistakes you should be wary of:
● Poor website architecture
● Slow loading times (aim for under 3 seconds)
● No mobile optimization
● Hard to locate on search engines (SEO)
There are many little issues that can leave a website fumbling through a stuttering start. But if you’re dealing with any of these, make them your main priority.
2. Make SEO the foundation of your site
If you’re not up to date on SEO, you might want to push that website launch back a few weeks.
SEO is essential for success online in 2021. It ensures your website gets seen, winning you new business and slowly building an engaged audience through high SERP rankings. If search engines can’t spot you, how is anyone going to?
SEO is too dense a topic to go into here, but it’s vitally important you’re getting all the essentials right, including:
● Meta descriptions
● Title tags
● Correctly tagged images
● Internal linking
● Registering your business with Google
There are so many other intricate points to SEO, so it’s essential to familiarise yourself with it throughout your journey as a webmaster.
SEO isn’t just important for online success in the here and now, but setting your website up for developments in the future. As search engine algorithms develop and challenge your mettle as a business owner, it’s important to have a website that can react quickly without suffering a huge penalty.
That’s why beginners benefit so much from using an SEO-friendly website builder that turns optimizing your website into something akin to a checklist. Some of our favorites include:
These are just a few examples. Make use of free trial options to check whether or not the website builder you’re planning on using is right for your SEO ambitions.
3. Plan your content strategy out in advance
Content is key to surviving and thriving as an online business. Whether you’re promoting your new digital workspace tool on social media or using your blog as a hub for getting your ecommerce store off the ground, content is essential.
Launching a website without content in place or a comprehensive strategy for the future can leave your digital space leaving quite barren and ultimately a bit pointless for a lot of new visitors. You might be pushing them towards starting a free trial, signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase, but many first-time visitors will simply be looking for some content they can sink their teeth into a gleam some extra context from.
If they’re greeted with an empty blog or a message about how you’re “working on upcoming content” the first time they land on your site, they’re unlikely to be enthused to come back.
Have a few weeks or even months of content planned out in advance and a collection of essential articles already live when you put your website out there. Understand how you’re going to integrate the, with other channels, such as email and social media. Are your product and services difficult to understand for the layman? Content immediately makes these difficult elements easier to digest.
4. Do your due diligence on potential CMS
Selecting the wrong CMS can lead to all sorts of issues when you finally launch your website.
Imagine you’ve just bought a shiny new car. You go out for a drive and realize it’s full of issues under the hood. Passers-by might think it’s impressive at a glance, but actually driving the thing is impossible. Soon enough, it’s billowing out black smoke and everyone is staying well away.
A bad CMS can make your website completely unusable on the back end. This doesn’t just harm the user experience for customers, but it can also lead to significant issues for your team. Your website will be slow and you’ll have limited space to expand your products and services.
You want to ensure you’re investing in a CMS with variety and power in equal measure. Don’t just go for the cheapest option (or splash out for the most expensive). Choose something that works for you, your business, and your team’s skill set.
5. Test the user experience in full
It’s easy to overestimate your own user experience.
When you’ve poured everything into building a website it’s not uncommon to think buying, selling or signing up for something through your website is as easy as pie. Well, unfortunately, it’s often not the case.
Testing your user experience properly means imagining every possible pain point a first-time user could encounter. Does your homepage feature a clear direction of where to go next? Are your product filters working well? Do you offer enough payment options? These are all questions where the answer is obvious to you, but that’s because you understand the website inside out.
An important element not to gloss over is your page structure. First-time website builders have been known to include way too much information on a single page, overindulging in content and images to tell the story of their business. While you might want to stand out from the crowd, sleek and simplistic designs are popular for a reason.
To achieve a great user experience approach your website with a minimalist attitude. Short and snappy copy, a visually appealing interface, and clear calls to action will help improve how first-time visitors navigate around your website significantly.
Imagine your visitors as the least online-literate people you know. The pandemic has forced a lot of people online for the first time, and new websites can’t just aim to attract seasoned browsers. Don’t assume anything, streamline your website again and again.
6. Choose the right launch date
While technical issues should be right at the top of your list, the timing of your website launch is just as important as the components under the hood.
While you might think it a good idea to launch your website during a particularly busy period (i.e. Father’s Day week for a men’s gift store), this can actually lead to it getting lost in the shuffle. During peak periods, competing stores will up their digital ad spend and be incredibly active across already popular social media channels. Likewise, consumers in a rush will be more inclined to go with a website they’ve used before and know they can trust.
As we touched upon earlier, you’re going to have some mild technical issues with your website upon launch, no matter how much prep you do. Choosing the wrong launch date and publicizing it can lead to some reputational damage when you’re inevitably hit by the odd glitch.
In fact, the best practice is to have a soft launch out of the spotlight. That way, you can make little necessary tweaks as they appear, without the scrutiny of a large user base to worry about. Should you need to take the website down for a day or two, you won’t be frustrating visitors and breaking promises made through your promotional channels.
7. Don't forget the little things
While it’s all well and good to pick up on these bigger simple mistakes, you still need to be across all the little problems cropping up on your new website well into its launch.
Customer support sounds like something too straightforward to get wrong, but you'll be surprised how many websites manage to do it poorly. If new customers and clients can’t get in touch with you (and yes, many of them will want to hear a voice on the other end of the phone, rather than tackle a chatbot), you’re going to lose out on business. Ensure your website had clear and easy to navigate content information for you:
● Phone number
● Email address
● Social media
● Physical address
In addition, don’t forget to scan your website for small cosmetic issues such as broken images, live links, and consistency across your copy (think font and size). A lack of attention on these issues can make your website feel unloved and cheaply thrown together. In a world where that is equated with scam websites, you’re not exactly putting across the best first impression.
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