All of us have fears that can keep us up at night. Especially when it comes to developing and optimizing a website.
No digital undertaking can compare to launching a new website. There's a lot to get done and all the checklists in the world probably won't prevent you from forgetting something – don't worry we all do.
Here are five ways to ease the FOMO (fear of missing out) on chances to grow traffic, engagement, conversions, and other critical elements when you launch your site.
1. Goal Funnels That Can't Be Tracked
Launching a site that isn't set up to track goal funnels and conversion processes can cause a lot of headaches. Without proper tracking set-up, you may not be able to identify areas of the process that need improvement – or worse, a serious issue with your conversion process may go unnoticed for an extended period.
Communicate with your development teams and schedule regular marketing check-ins during the site build. It's a pain for you and for your developers if you wait until a few days before launch to identify conversion funnels that need to be set up or tweaked for tracking purposes.
Work with your developers early and often to create goal steps on unique URLs and design thank you pages that will display when conversions are completed. Set up Google Analytics Ecommerce tracking if you make sales on your website.
2. Building a Website That Users Don't Like
We all should be afraid of spending the time, money, and resources it takes to rebuild a site only to find out that it doesn't resonate with our users. Not only can this lead to poor site performance, but you may cause you to lose fans of your brand.
Understand the wants and needs of your users before you plan your site build. Organize focus groups, collect data via on-site surveys, run user tests and task analysis to get a clear understanding of your customers' pain points before you start to brainstorm new ideas for enhancing your website.
Conduct more research as you develop the site. Establish an information architecture and navigation structure that doesn't require users to think.
3. Content Success Metrics Are '(Not Provided)'
Google is sticking to its guns when it comes to secure search. While this isn't surprising news, as marketers, not having access to this keyword data is a little nerve-racking. How can marketers launching new sites with new content expect to track what works and what doesn't?
Start with your content. Create content focused on the benefits your service brings to its customers. Write for people, not search engines. If you understand your brand, keywords will weave into your content naturally.
Once the site is launched, instead of concentrating on the keyword data you could be missing out on, analyze and test other areas of your site that are easy to tweak.
- A/B test title tags and meta descriptions to determine how these changes can bring more traffic to your key landing pages.
- Test the performance of your page headlines until you find the short, compelling statements that direct users to the information they want to know or the tasks you want them to complete.
- Website images can influence time on page and conversions. Swap out images and monitor page performance to see what images have a positive impact.
- If your site has internal site search functionality use that data to determine what users are looking for and how you can better deliver that information.
Tools like Visual Website Optimizer show you what variation of a test works best to help you determine what permanent changes to make.
4. Users Can't Share Your Content
Don't let the FOMO on a chance for users to share your site's content distract from what you really want them to accomplish. Some marketers assume that every page on their site needs to be built with social sharing functionality.
Be deliberate when adding sharing functionality to pages on your site. Do research to determine if adding social sharing will get you the results you're looking for.
Split test your own pages to make conclusions about whether a page should have sharing functionality. In Smashing Magazine's case, the share buttons on some of their pages were a distraction for users.
5. Losing the Benefits of Previous SEO Work
It's daunting to think that launching a new site could mean missing out on the benefits you reaped from the SEO work you've done for your current site. In reality you should expect a dip in rankings and traffic after a new site launch, especially if you're migrating your domain name, but there are things you can do to ease the damage.
Be prepared. Make a checklist of all of the things that need to be accomplished before, during, and after the launch so you minimize the chance that you'll forget something. Use this high-level list to get you started, but check out other resources as well.
- Do keyword research, understand your target audience and consider how you should make adjustments to your current strategy to fit your new site or brand image.
- Rework or create new content for your site that better serves the needs of your users (per the user research you've been doing).
- Consider your new URL structure and plan to make 301 redirects as needed to prevent a big ranking dip.
- Create a "Coming Soon" page if you're launching your site on a new domain. Add a few sentences about your company and sprinkle in keywords you want to target so search engine crawlers can start indexing your domain prior to the site launch.
- Add Google Analytics tracking code to your new site.
- If you're migrating your domain name, let Google know through Google Webmaster Tools.
- Add Google Analytics tracking code to your new site.
- Submit your new sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools as well.
- Contact the webmasters of sites that have linked to you and ask them to update links so they point to the correct page on your new domain.
- Check your site for broken links.
We all suffer from FOMO at times. Thinking ahead is the key to prevention. Save yourself from the torturous thought this could have been avoided if... by taking the time to plan and analyze up front.
The Original Search Marketing Event is Back!
SES Denver (Oct 16) offers an intense day of learning all the critical aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search advertising (PPC). The mission of SES remains the same as it did from the start - to help you master being found on search engines. Early Bird rates available through Sept 12. Register today!