You’ve got a new site. Now what?
After finishing a website, and usually during the time I’m uploading it to a server, my client will ask the inevitable: What now?
Honestly, if someone doesn’t ask me that, I get worried. Because it’s really the most important question you need to ask your designer and your team as you get ready to live life with a new website. Whether you’ve paid someone or a team to build and design your new site, or, you’ve done it yourself, you need to have a plan for making it work for you.
And by making it work for you, I don’t mean just making it look better than the previous version. I mean it has to help you grow your audience, make deeper, lasting connections with your audience, get you more customers and help you grow your business.
You didn’t get into business to sit still and see nothing happen, right? Same goes for your website.
A post-launch checklist
So, here’s a list of things you must do to make your site work for you like another member of your team: (because it IS another member of your team!)
- Make sure every link is working and working right: Links, forms, buttons, navigation. If you find one link that isn’t working or that’s going to the wrong page, fix it ASAP. Don’t wait.
- Submit your site to search engines, like Google. Search engines will crawl your site, then index it, which is what you need for your site to pop up in those searches in the first place.
- Tell everyone you know about your new site. EVERYONE. People aren’t going to magically or haphazardly find you. They might but generally speaking, when people find you online, it’s because they used specific search terms to find you. And because you completed Task #2, you’re popping up in the search engine results.
- Tell all of your existing clients & customers. If you have a regular newsletter (you do, right?), then announce your new site and welcome feedback. The people you do business with are busy, too, so letting them know of changes in your business is important. These are usually the very people who will refer you to others, so, don’t leave them out.
- Use Social Media to announce your new site and any new offerings you have. Everyone is on Social Media these days. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn…If you’re a member on one of these sites, post your new site and URL right away.
- Keep an eye on your analytics. Google Analytics is free and easy to set up. And you should already have that installed on your site. Check your analytics regularly to see how many visitors you’re getting, where those people are coming from, what pages they’re looking at the most, your bounce rate and even real-time statistics. Knowing what people are doing on your site is really important! And really helpful for fine-tuning your site’s performance.
- Create Content regularly. If you have a blog, post at least once a month. For some people this is hard, and many marketers say update once a week. I’m realistic. My clients just don’t have the time to sit down and write a weekly post. But posting regularly shows potential clients that your online presence is active and current. And if you don’t have a blog, update your site whenever you have something new like a completed transaction, new offering or new location.
- Become familiar with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and make adjustments whenever you can. Know where you can insert the title, meta keywords and descriptions for every page and every post. Over time, you’ll want to make changes to these as you study your analytics and discover what people are using to find you. And also as your business changes.
- Check for spam regularly. Spammers and hackers are getting smarter by the minute. Keep an eye out for these shady characters by checking comments regularly. There are a lot of great plugins for WordPress that will help you keep spammers at bay.
- Keep your site nice and secure. Use really good passwords for your login and anywhere else your site is accessible including FTP, your web host and so on. Change your passwords from time to time.
Check your website on a regular basis
These are the most basic things you can and should do to keep your new website running and running well. I suggest reviewing your site at least once a month to see how it’s performing and to ensure it’s secure.
Would you like a downloadable version of this checklist? Of course you do.
About the author
I'm a writer and a web designer. I create one-of-a-kind websites for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs. I help my clients expand their audiences, get more customers and make mo' money. Receive a copy of my free mini-workbook, "10 Ways You Can Create a Website that Attracts and Converts," as well as industry news, writing and design tips, website advice & inspiration, and occasional special offers when you become a subscriber to my monthly newsletter.