Just Because You "Go Live" Doesn't Mean Your Job Is Done
You and your team have worked tirelessly on launching your beautiful new website. Now it’s time to kick back and let the clicks roll in. Right? Not so fast.
While you have every right to be proud of your work, your website is far from finished.
Think of your website as a sapling that you’ve planted. Now that sapling needs continuous monitoring and growth to expand into a powerful oak with thousands of roots and branches.
Growing Your Website, Growing Your Brand
As your company grows, adds more staff and/or products and refines its services, your website needs to react in time to reflect these very important changes in the business.
The following is a good, quick checklist of things you should glance over to make sure your website is up to snuff:
Is the look and feel of your website conducive with your company’s vision at this moment?
Some sites, like Facebook, have undergone very few artistic design changes since their inception, creating an iconic effect for their brand. Of course, Facebook has made countless changes to its services and engineering since its founding in 2004, but they chose to keep the flow of the site pretty much the same in order to foster a sense of continuity.
But many companies are not like Facebook. Altering the design of your site doesn’t have to be something drastic like changing the appearance of your logo of your company (although plenty of famous companies have done this), edits to your site can be as subtle as changing the way the links appear or adding size to certain fonts to grab more attention for things your want to get attention.
Once you (or the developer you’ve hired) has painted a pretty picture of what your company looks like, it’s time to make sure all the words describing what you do are in the right order.
We all know content is king and a lot can be said for effective, inspiring prose about the status of your company and its values, but let’s not forget the other important aspect of content: communicating information with accuracy.
Nothing is worse than having old or out of date information in the bio or about sections of your site. Update early and update often if there are changes in personnel, news on the status of the company and, especially, contact information for key players in your departments.
While less tech-savvy clients will likely not pick up on shoddy site design so quickly, we all (presumably) speak and write English clearly, and we all expect the same from the companies we hire to do the same.
While we’re on the subject of the language of your content, there are a number of services that offer translations for your site. Adding an identical version of your site in Spanish, German, Chinese or any of the world’s other widely spoken languages is a great, low impact way to improve the user experience of your website and to expand your international presence.
Is the mailer feature on your website working effectively? Are all the links functional and leading to where you want them to? Is the server prepared to handle the amount of traffic you anticipate?
Some marketers may wince at the technical terms and “programmer-ese” that come along with these sorts of questions. Concepts like server-side scripting and database persistence don’t have to be your field of expertise, but if you want to be a leader in the online marketing of your company, you need to be at least somewhat well-versed in the basics of how your site and the internet at large works.
Even if you are not the person who is responsible for the frontend HTML and CSS framework for the site or the person managing the backend databases, you still need to be able to tell that person what’s not working for you. This requires a beginner’s understanding of what is happening as you navigate your site.
Make Sure Your SEO is Effective
Search Engine Optimization is a huge development for marketing professionals. Google Analytics can help you reach a potentially huge pool of prospective customers – if you use the tools properly.
You may need to retune your SEO strategy as your business expands. If you’re offering a new product or service, or if you’ve tapped a new market, of course you want to adapt your marketing strategy to meet those new developments in your business plan.
It has been proven time and time again that where your website falls in the search rankings has a huge impact on how your web traffic does. In order to get to the top of the heap (if you’re not already there), you need to double down on your SEO to make a difference.
With that in mind, there are a host of nifty tricks you can employ to help you in your quest for SEO dominance – things like making transcriptions of your video content available, buffing up the product review section of your website and building online relationships via handy link sharing can all be very helpful. Find out what techniques work best for you and use them.
Where to Go From Here
Like many aspects of running a business, mobile presence should always be growing and changing.
It’s important though to think about the rate of change that you’re comfortable with. If you kept up to speed with every development in the industry, you’d focus 100% of your time on your website and none of it on your business. Set a schedule for how often you want to make changes to your website and stick to it.
And if you're one of those people whose head is spinning from all this talk of change, don’t worry too much. The good news is that the hardest work is behind you. You already have a functional website up and running and it has (hopefully) proven to be very effective for your company. All you need to do now is “mind the store” as the saying goes.
One last word of advice: before you make any drastic changes to your site, make sure they are not going to be changes you will need to update or reverse immediately. You’d hate to have to go through the whole process again so soon after you thought you’ve finished.
Other than that, keep up to date with advancements in web development, keep an eye on the sites and techniques your competitors are using and think about how you can leverage new technologies to serve your message. You’re already in the game. Hopefully thinking about the effectiveness of your company’s web presence can help to keep you there.