Our web design/development team is wrapping up a new website this week for a special friend and client, Erin Schreyer. (As soon as she’s ready to unveil the site, I’ll share a link!)
We’re excited for her — it’s a beautiful site — and we’re glad to be successfully completing this project. But once a new website is complete, the site’s owner has a new and exciting opportunity to build their online presence. The most important question to ask after your new website is built is…Now What?
Since your website is the center of your social media strategy, the creation of a new website demands a celebration — and a strategic plan!
This celebration, of the hard work and investment that resulted in a new beautiful online home, could be considered a house warming party. If you build a website, you must find a way to invite people in; you want to create excitement and momentum while bringing people to your site. And you want to create long-term return traffic, not just a spike in visits for a day or two.
Here are a few tips about planning a house warming party for your new website:
1 – Create a clever invitation! If you want people to visit your new website, you must invite them! Use the beautiful graphics from your new website to create images to share on social media sites. Our team created this Facebook cover image.
If you have a lot of local customers in a brick and mortar location, you may want to create a physical banner or flyer. Or if you have a list of mailing addresses, perhaps you want to send a print mailing announcing your new site. If you regularly email to a subscriber list, be sure to email your list to announce the new site and encourage people to take a look.
2 – Make your call to action clear by creating an offer. Every great party needs games and favors. What do you want people to do when they land on your new site? What value are you offering them when they visit your site? Think strategically about both your call to action and your offer and include those in your invitation.
3 – Create new, relevant, fresh content regularly to keep people coming back. The best way to draw people to your website is to share a steady stream of relevant, interesting content. When you do, you’ll get traffic in two ways: through organic search and through referrals. When people know that you reliably create new and interesting content, they will want to come back to read/watch the content you’re sharing.
4 – Use this as an opportunity to update all your visual branding. If renovating your site included new visual branding, you’ll want to refresh all your branding on social media sites. New headshot? Make sure you change all your avatars and gravatars! New logo or icons? Create new business cards, letterhead, and other print materials to match your site. Make sure your web address is prominent and link to all your social media outposts.
5 – Direct people to the most important places first. When someone visits your home, you may point out the powder room (important!). In the same way, you want to make sure new visitors to your site can find the places on your site that are most important to them.
6 – Look for ways to entice people to navigate through your new site. You may want to consider a sticky blog post (stays at the top of your blog), a blog footer (at the bottom of each blog post), a lightbox (pop-up when people arrive at your site), to share the features of your site, like a “tour” of your new site as a way of introducing people to its features. Help people find what’s most important to them on your site. If you’re really in the mood for fun, maybe you want to create an online scavenger hunt with questions and offer a prize to people who complete the hunt and email you the answers.
For example, we added a portfolio on this site that displays our recent projects. We also have a new page with resources. We’ve updated with some new comments from our clients, and we have more coming. Although people may navigate through your site, you can use internal links in blog posts, like I did above, to encourage people to click through your site.
7 – Throw out your welcome mat! You may want to create a welcome page for your website, a first stop for people who discover you, with favorite blog posts linked or other information that will help people get to know you, your business, and your differentiating value quickly.
8 – Beware that your site is never truly “done.” Your website is a work in progress, requiring ongoing care and attention. Often with a site redesign, your developer may make changes that result in broken links or not-as-expected functionality. As much as possible, test everything before you unveil, and invite your closest friends and customers to have a first look to identify any glitches before you announce your site to the world.
9 – Include a note in your email signature. If you send and receive as much email as I do, your email signature will remind people to visit your site. Include a link and an invitation to your new online home in your signature.
10 – Make sure your promotion strategy includes a plan to continue to draw people to your site. Now that your website is complete, you may be tempted to take a break. Breaks are good, but remember that once you’ve launched your site and unveiled it to the world, you must return to your WHY. Create a strategy for promoting your site long-term that is centered on your unique goals for the site. Why do you want people to visit your website? How can you accomplish your goals? What commitments will you make to marketing your site over time?
A Bonus Tip: Use the launch of your new website as an excuse to re-start anything you’ve been letting slide. For us, that includes re-starting a regular newsletter. We’re going to create a new, simple template to match our new site, and plan for ways to share regular value with people who have opted-in to our email list.
Tell me something! What other ideas do you have about how to celebrate the launch of a new website?photo credit yumsugar.com