Launching a website today is easier than it's ever been before. There are plenty of easy-to-use platforms out there that transform the complexities of creating and promoting your own website into a series of easy steps that involve simply picking a theme and clicking "publish" on a few essential pages.
However, just because you can speed up your website launch with the right website platform, doesn't mean that you don't need to be careful about getting your strategy right. Here are seven points to keep in mind when you're working towards your site launch.
1. Choose the Ideal Platform
The first thing you'll need to do is decide which platform you're going to build your website on. The platform is the tool that you can use to create your website without having to worry about things like HTTP and code. Most people choose WordPress, as it's one of the easiest and most flexible platforms around. However, the decision is completely up to you. You might decide that you prefer Joomla or Magneto. There's no wrong choice, just make sure you research each of your options before you commit to one.
2. Choose a Domain Name
Once you know where you're going to build your website, you need to think about what you want people to look for when they're trying to find you. It's important to be careful with your domain name, as this is something that can follow your company for years to come. Often, the best solution is to simply use your business name or personal title as a domain name. However, if these options are taken, you may need to get a little more creative. Above all else, remember to always choose the .com option for your website if you can. The .com suffix demands more respect than any other domain out there.
3. Invest in the Right Hosting
Along with a domain name and a website platform, you're also going to need a host that you can rely on to keep your website running smoothly. It may be surprising to learn that hosting is an aspect that's frequently forgotten about in the website building process. Make sure that you don't skimp on your hosting selection. Choosing the right host will affect a wide selection of your SEO aspects, all the way from site speed, to flexibility, expansion, and more. Remember that any old hosting service isn't going to cut it. Evaluate your options carefully and make sure you choose a host that suits your needs both now, and in the future.
4. Claim Your Local Listings
If you're creating a website to promote your brick-and-mortar business, you'll want to make sure that you collect all the online tools that will help you to compete locally. Make sure that you claim your listings on Yelp and Google My Business. This will make it easier for customers to find your actual location in the real world, and it also gives people a chance to rate and review the products and services they get from you online.
5. Design Your Website
There are many different elements involved in designing a website. You'll need to think carefully not just about how the site looks, but how it's going to rank in the search engines too. Start by choosing a theme or layout that you know will appeal to your target audience, and then dive into the details of each pages with things like meta descriptions and alt tags so you can improve your chances of ranking on the search engines for the right keywords.
6. Check Usability
Once your website looks good, and it has what it takes to speak to the search engines, make sure that it's going to be easy for your customers to use. This means testing your site for everything from loading page speed to mobile friendliness. Ensure that you pay attention to things like whether your website is easy to navigate, and whether the font remains readable in every environment too. The easier your website is to use, the more likely it is that your users will stick around when they find you.
7. Choose a Launch Day and Promote your Site!
Finally, decide when you're officially going to launch your website. For the meantime, you can have a "coming soon" page loaded when people come to your URL. With your launch date set, you can begin to generate excitement for your website by promoting the upcoming launch through your social media pages and email lists. You can even share flyers and leaflets with people offline if you have a physical store. Get people excited before your website ever arrives.