These days, everyone is talking about ecommerce.
And rightly so! Never before has it been so prevalent.
As we usher in this new golden age, businesses want in on the action. But with so much conflicting information out there, where do you start?
Right here, with our five simple steps to launching your new website – you can thank us later!
1. Find the right web developer
This should go without saying, but unless you’ve got some serious web development chops of your own, don’t DIY this one. Seriously, don’t.
Do you understand terms like ‘UX’ or ‘mobile optimisation’? Do you know how to fix 404 errors, redirects and missing links? How to write five-star content worthy of a poet laureate, or create dazzling designs that put DaVinci to shame? Ask yourself this before attempting to take matters into your own hands.
When you’re looking for a web designer to create your site, choose someone who’s on your wavelength, who gets your business goals and understands not only what you want but, more importantly, what your customers want too. It’s vital to have these conversations early on so both parties can be as transparent as possible about expectations (and to filter out any potential cowboys).
Not that we know of any (*ahem*), but many digital marketing agencies will already have a crack team of web developers, digital designers and content creators pre-assembled to help you craft the perfect website that reflects your brand’s aims and identity. They might sound like the nerdiest avengers ever, but rest assured they get results.
2. Building your site
Ah yes, that old chestnut.
Finding a web-wise design team doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax – your job is only just beginning.
First of all, you’ll need to decide on the right platform to use for your site. WordPress and Magento are some of the most popular, but they’re not the only options out there.
Shopify is another popular site platform, particularly for retailers who are new to the world of ecommerce. They make selling simple, and as of 2021, brands using Shopify can now use the platform to sell through Instagram and Facebook – a major shift that makes it easier than ever before for your product to reach your customer.
If you have an existing site, your developer may well audit this before beginning work on your new site. This identifies current strengths and weakness, to learn what works and what needs to change on your new site.
You’ll also need to choose a domain name. Otherwise known as your URL – this is the online identification that will enable your customers to find you. For instance, Facebook’s domain name is Facebook.com.
3. Optimise for search engines
We might sound a bit like a broken record, but as SEO experts, we absolutely cannot stress this enough – it’s simply no good having the best website in the world if it isn’t optimised for search engines!
We’re sorry. We don’t want to lecture you. We don’t doubt that if you’re a regular reader of our blog, you know exactly what SEO is and why it’s important – it makes you visible online, ranks you ahead of your competitors, drives traffic to your site and secures success for the long-term.
Long story short, you can’t do without it.
Organic SEO takes time and won’t propel you to the number one spot on Google on the first day of your site’s launch. SEO is a steady process that takes place over time and requires momentum, so it’s important to begin as soon as possible – ideally before launch if you can.
For an instant boost to your search engine position, PPC advertising is a great way to ensure visibility on those top spots. That said, it should never be used as a substitute for organic SEO, which yields stable success in the long-term, and we would always recommend a combination of both PPC and SEO as essential ingredients in any digital marketing campaign.
4. Pre-launch promotion!
Launching your site into the digital ether and hoping for the best may be tempting once you’ve jumped through the hoops and over the hurdles of building your site, but it’s not exactly the strongest game plan.
Once your site is ready to go, take some time to create a pre-launch build-up that lets your existing customers know about your new site well in advance, raises awareness to newcomers and creates a buzz around this exciting new step for your business.
If you already have a mailing list, kickstart the campaign with an email marketing strategy offering existing customers exclusive benefits such as discount codes, early access and other exciting offers that ensure maximum fanfare for your site in its early days.
If you have a social media presence, make the most of it. And if you don’t? Well, no time like the present. Focus on the channels that your customers are most likely to use (for instance, under 25s are most likely to use Instagram and TikTok, whilst Facebook is the most popular site with users over 50).
A countdown to your site launch is one great way to generate excitement and attract attention on social media, whilst giveaways which ask participants to enter by following, liking and sharing are a popular method for growing follower counts.
Once your site is live, launched and ready to go, you can kick back and relax.
The hard part is over but you’ll still need to keep the momentum going. Keep an eye on your site, ensuring that all links are working as they should, that security features like your SSL certificate are up to date, and that your website is hitting its performance targets.
You’ll also have to ensure that all information remains accurate and relevant, so any changes to your business’s operations or new additions to your products and services should be available for customers to find.
You’ll also need to keep the ball rolling on your SEO campaign. There are lots of great ways to do this and we won’t bore you with details, but one suggestion to keep your site at the top of those search engine rankings is to keep your content relevant and on the ball.
Regular blogs are a great way to do this, and with as few as two new titles each month that are optimised for popular search terms, you can keep driving traffic to your site whilst asserting your company’s position as an industry authority.
We hope this blog has provided some helpful tips about launching your business online.
And remember, our experts are just an email or phone call away.