There’s almost nothing on earth as hectic and frenzied as the run-up to a website launch. Key executives are often found weeping under their desks, and lesser marketers have been driven mad by the process. The DSM-5 recently included PLSD, colloquially known as secure shell shock, to its most recent revision, and Bellevue has an entire wing devoted to those suffering from the condition.
But once you’ve released your site out into the ether you can relax, right?
To answer that, imagine if we weren’t building a website, but instead were assembling a basketball team. Before launch, you’d have an exhaustive talent search to organize, difficult contract negotiations to suffer through, personality conflicts to sort out, and a host of other persnickety details to resolve. But once your team is assembled and introduced to the world you can relax, right?
No. Now you have to play basketball!
Once a website is released, there is still plenty of work to be done. Leaving out rehab and other mental health expenses, here’s a brief overview of what you should be prepared for once your website has launched.
Getting the Word Out
Mainly if your site is brand new, no one will know about it unless you tell them. But even for significant revisions to existing sites, it’s worth making announcements across every channel where your audience may encounter you.
You’ll want to send out press releases, post on your social media accounts, contact influencers in your industry, and create a press page on your site that you can drive people to. This shouldn’t be a one-time blitz. You should continue to talk about your site wherever it’s relevant, to be sure your audience is aware of you.
No matter how thoroughly your site was tested before launch, it’s inevitable that bugs will crop up once it’s operating in the real world. You’ll want to keep your web design agency on retainer so that bugs can be dealt with quickly when they appear. It’s common to establish a monthly retainer relationship after launch so your agency can handle bug fixes and routine maintenance.
Bugs can cause anything from mild disturbances to significant security vulnerabilities, so they aren’t to be trifled with. Verify that you have a plan in place to deal with them when they occur.
Websites are like gardens. If you create them and then ignore them, they’ll eventually die. But if you care for them and give them what they need they’ll fill your freezer with tomatoes all summer long.
To make sure your site is healthy, it’s necessary, among other things, to keep your hosting up to date, apply required updates and patches, scan for and remove spam comments, fix broken links, analyze security logs, seek out ways to improve your site, and keep your content up to date and relevant.
Dividing necessary maintenance procedures into weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual buckets and then sticking to this established schedule is the best way to stay on top of your site and keep it running smoothly.
Keeping Security Current
Confirming that your website is secure is a critical step in keeping your site free of hackers, data breaches, hijackings, malware, and any number of other threats. After launching, you should check to make sure the right security software is installed and configured correctly.
You’ll need to keep it updated, and if you make any substantive changes to your site, you should always check to see if any security protocols need to be updated to match.
For a website to flourish, it needs to create value, both for you and, more importantly, for your potential customers. You need to give them reasons to visit frequently, and you need to give Google and other search engines grist to help drive up your search ranking. For SEO purposes and driving traffic, you need to create a continual stream of high-quality, relevant content.
Consider creating a blog as part of your site. Blogs are the perfect space for posting new, relevant content in a way that doesn’t intrude on the layout of the rest of your website.
Monitoring Your KPI’s
Post-launch you’ll want to make sure both Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools are set up correctly on your site. These will help you watch for problems and keep tabs on your key performance indicators. This is important because if you aren’t keeping tabs on how your site is performing in terms of acquisitions, conversions, visitor behaviors, and more, you won’t know when there’s a problem, and you won’t be able to optimize for maximum traffic.
Constantly Improving Your SEO
Your site was almost certainly optimized for search engines during its creation, but SEO isn’t something you do once. To be maximally effective, search engine optimization needs to be revisited and continuously tweaked.
What your potential customers are searching for can change over time, and you want to be sure you continue to rank well. Additionally, Google and other search engines are continually modifying the parameters they’re applying when ranking sites, so a website that ranked well a year ago may not rank as well today unless someone is keeping the site’s SEO strategy fresh.
Building Your Local SEO Presence
If your business has a storefront, office, or other local presence, you’ll want to work on local SEO as well. Why is this important? The SEM Post found that nearly one-third of all mobile searches are location-based, and 72% of the time these local searches result in consumers visiting a business, according to WordStream. This means there’s a lot of value in getting your local SEO presence established.
To start the process, claim your Google My Business page and fill out the detailed questionnaire. Leave nothing blank! Google rewards businesses that take the time to provide complete business descriptions. You can find useful information from Google regarding the optimization of your My Business listings here. These guidelines should be followed thoroughly.
You’re Not in This Alone
If this all seems like a lot to process, know that you don’t have to do it all yourself. Not only can we conceptualize, design, and launch your next website, we can handle nearly everything that comes after as well.
Let us handle your ongoing maintenance, SEO, security, and analytics needs. We’ll work diligently in the background to keep your site updated and performing masterfully so that you can focus on handling the business side of your business.
The reality is that someone’s going to have to “take a break” in a nicely-padded room. Let it be us instead of you.