So you’re ready to launch a website for your business! Well if we’re being honest, it’s probably more accurate to say you want or need a website but aren’t necessarily feeling *ready* to put yourself out there. I get it – it can be a daunting undertaking and one that’s easier to dread and put off than plan and accomplish. Creating a website (and all the supporting items you’ll need to go with it) is no small feat. There’s plenty to do and even if you’ve got some help from your team or ours at Wildernest, there are a lot of assets to collect, decisions to make, and communication and feedback required. Like any large project, it’s a marathon and not a sprint. The key to success is planning. There is so much fear of the unknown, but once you give something a name and break it up into little pieces, that’s when you can own it. Go ahead and start collecting launch plan resources and doing research on go-live checklists, but the truth is there’s no real big secret here. My suggestion is to make a huge freaking list of everything you can think of. Add notes about what you need and why you need it. What is the goal and how does it fulfill that purpose? Then organize it in order of what can or must be done first to complete other  items later. If you’re not working alone, share this outline with your team and discuss line by line, ask  clarifying questions (don’t make any assumptions), and put your heads together on any potential challenges and concerns. Assign roles and responsibilities. Put dates and deadlines on the items to assemble your realistic timeline. Choose a launch day goal. Now look up and start to feel your anxiety about your website launch turn into excitement and anticipation! Your business, your work style, and your needs are unique. Keep that in mind as you put together your plan based on advice from others. Here is a high level timeline you can follow for the launch and promotion of your new website:

Months Ahead

  1. Invest in a professional logo design and brand bible to guide all your marketing
  2. Write or rewrite your website content, being intentional with your voice and keywords
  3. Design your newsletter, email templates, and any other branded website graphics
  4. Take team head shots that align with your web design style
  5. Plan your online intake process and create go-to responses for customer FAQs
  6. Get a list of team vacation requests for the next few months

One Month Out

  1. Send an email blast to current customers about upcoming changes
  2. Add basic SEO – Every page and post should have a meta title and description (this is what shows up in search results) and internal links to guide visitors to other relevant content
  3. QA your website –  Look for accessibility issues and test mobile view, run speed, and links
  4. Check that form data is being received and that emails are sending correctly
  5. Create branded graphics for your social accounts profile and cover images
  6. Write bio text for your social accounts, tweaking for each audience and character limits

2 Weeks Out

  1. Create your social media content leading up to and 1 week after launch day
  2. Write new blog content for launch week
  3. Write a press release announcing your new site
  4. Create or update your email signature

Week Of

All hands on deck! It’s go-time and everyone needs to be available for final reviews and testing. If you’re doing this on your own, then now is the time to call in some favors and have your friends and family help review. This is your chance to add last minute content changes. If you have a team, it’s especially important during this stressful time to keep frequent and open communication so everyone is in the loop on progress and issues, feels good and in control, and keeps the momentum going to the finish line.

Launch Day

You’re live! Now what? Don’t do or send anything today, wait at least a day to make announcements. As much as you plan ahead there will be surprises. And not the good kind! There will be something you forgot or something that will break. Go ahead and plan for the worst and expect the best. Keep your schedule clear so that you can work on any bugs or fires that may come up. And then rest. You’ve worked long days and have carried the tension in your body. Release it and allow yourself some time for rest and recovery. Most importantly – celebrate your accomplishment with your friends and family. You are amazing! You did it! Share plenty of high fives and Thank Yous with everyone who contributed to this successful launch. Pro Tip: Don’t plan your launch day around a big event like a conference or media appearance. Yes, it will be great to send people to your website, but if something goes wrong at the 11th hour do you really want to be in crisis mode when you’re out of time and it’s so crucial to make a good first impression? It is best to wait and do it right rather than rush it.

First Week of Launch

It’s time to announce and promote your new site to the world. Make sure your inner circle is the first to know, and then waterfall out to your social media channels and public news sources. Take advantage of your extra exposure and traffic by posting new blogs and social media content to keep followers interested and engaged. Also, don’t beat yourself up if the reaction to your launch doesn’t meet your expectations.

  1. Send an email to your subscriber lists
  2. Send personal messages to your friends, family, and colleagues
  3. Post social media announcements and engaging posts
  4. Submit your press release

Looking Forward

You need to accept the fact that websites are never finished. You’ll change your mind and grow as a business, and your website should change with you. Be open to customer feedback and review your performance data to optimize your site for better user experience and conversions. Keep up your newsletter and email lists to nurture your growing leads and customer base. Now that you have a live site you can seek out press opportunities to reach new audiences. Submitting your expert responses to questions on helpareporter.com (HARO) is a great free way to get brand exposure and SEO benefiting backlinks to your site. P.S. Don’t forget the little things. These are some small, easily overlooked steps that are very beneficial.

  1. Make sure featured images are set and showing how you want in social previews
  2. Add a fav icon (this is your logo that shows in browsers)
  3. Set up redirects for old domain or page name changes
  4. Submit sitemap to help Google index your site faster
  5. Google Analytics – Make sure team IP addresses are filtered out for accurate reporting. Add goals for each conversion you want to track (form fills, newsletter signups)
  6. Submit your blog feed to RSS directories
  7. Hone your 10 second pitch – Know exactly what to say when someone asks you about your business

Good luck! If you’d like some expert help planning your new website launch, Wildernest is here to guide you. Check out our Compass Calls if you want some specific consulting and coaching, or our full-service method if you’re looking for a guide to lead you through this the process from start to finish.

author

andrea kalan

Digital Marketing Director

Tampa, Florida USA

Living by the mantra, “Do no harm, but take no shit,” Andrea believes that everyone deserves a fair shot at happiness. She brings her advocacy, desire to connect with clients on a personal level, and 10 years in digital marketing to help women pursue their dreams and define their own success.In building Wildernest, she’s created the lifestyle she needs to be her most full, creative self and has found the power to use her voice to help other women do the same.

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