Your website has launched—congratulations! It’s time to kick back, pop the corn and revel in the beauty of your shiny, new online presence. There is some heavy lifting that goes into a website development project, so we’ll let you enjoy this for a minute. (Okay, reality check—the work has just begun!) The set-it-and-forget-it mentality is a thing of the past. Though your website might be new, it’s still not finished—because it’s never finished. Once you've launched, tested and corrected, it’s time to roll those sleeves up and continue to improve your site’s performance.
Here are five things to consider after your website has been successfully launched.
1. Measure PErformance
Tracking software, such as Google Analytics, is getting easier and easier to use. Even if it’s tracking the highest-level metrics (i.e., visits, traffic sources, bounce rate, page visits, time spent on site, etc.), this software can help you make educated decisions when considering ongoing content updates. Once the tracking software is implemented, be sure to test and ensure that you are seeing results.
The software will immediately start tracking, so if you’re not seeing any metrics, double check with an extension, such as Tag Assistant. The more comfortable you become with the software, the more you can do with it. Tracking button clicks, form submissions and scroll depth—even integrating your digital advertising efforts—will only help validate your supportive marketing.
2. Submit to Search Engines
Although most major search engines will eventually find your site, it is still important to submit your site to the various big players (Google and Bing being the biggest considerations). One of the most important steps is submitting a sitemap. This ensures that if your site structure has changed at all, the search engines will understand where to find the content and refer its organic searches accordingly.
This isn’t necessarily an intuitive process, but if you’re fairly confident that you can tackle it on your own, a simple Google search will supply some step-by-step tutorials. Confirming that the appropriate search engines have indexed the most recent version of your site will help them find your content more efficiently. However, there’s still work to be done.
3. Formalize an SEO Plan
If you ask 10 different marketing experts what "SEO" is, you’ll probably receive 10 different answers. Albeit, there would certainly be crossover, SEO efforts can be defined and executed in various ways. Since this is a post-launch consideration, one of the most important considerations is content. If you want to rank for specific keywords, it’s not as simple as page titles and usage of said keywords. In fact, “keyword stuffing” has recently shown to have detrimental impacts on page rankings.
What is important to consider is the usage of key phrases and similar terms that make sense in a conversational context. More and more, people perform searches using phrases (e.g., "best sushi restaurant near me"), rather than simple, single keywords (e.g., "sushi"). An easy way to continue to improve your rankings is planning and executing a content calendar for your blog. This will allow topic-specific content to help your site ranking holistically instead of trying to dump multiple topics into a single page. SEO impact is somewhat of a long game, so it will remain important to evaluate how your efforts are affecting your site’s performance.
4. Set Goals, Hypothesize & Implement
You built your website to help your business, so you must have set goals. From enterprise e-commerce to a simple blog, there should be clear KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and goals that help you understand if your website is doing what you intended it to. Outline some S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound) goals post-launch that you hope to implement as you start seeing how visitors are interacting with you site.
There should be a supportive hypothesis so that any modifications can be justified or improved after testing has completed (i.e., "50 percent of our site traffic views our blog, thus, if a CTA is added at the end of every blog that directs the reader to a content offer, we expect to see a 5 percent improvement on conversion rates"). Depending on what your traffic lifecycle is, take some time to let you update aggregate data—then it’s time to report on your findings!
5. Set Ongoing Benchmarks
To ensure your optimizations are hitting the mark, it is imperative to schedule benchmarking sessions with your team. This will allow time between implementation and reporting to see if your goal’s hypothesis can be validated or needs to be re-evaluated. These sessions can help you learn more about specific visitors on your site, as well as help you understand what types of users are reacting to different elements of your site. Continue to hypothesize, implement and report on a time-frame that makes sense for your business, but try to keep to a routine so that data metrics are being evaluated within similar periods.