- Filling your website with content (text, photos and graphics)
- Testing your website after it’s completed
- Getting your site noticed (including site structure and basic SEO)
- Other stuff (social media, marketing and blogging)
Congratulations! At this stage, we hope you have a good idea of how you want to create your website. But that’s only the first half of the battle. It’s what you do after your website has been created that will help you take the field. Following are additional considerations for your website.
Make sure that text on your website supports your business identity and goals. It includes content management, such as content planning and scheduling.
Content should be presented logically and it must be easy to use by your targeted audience. This includes functionality and usability of the content on your website.
Today, search engines reward websites that make an effort to create quality content to educate people in their niche by ranking them higher. To get a coveted ranking, you’ll have to make sure your content is: unique, relevant, legitimate and current.
Once you have an overview of your website plan and site map, you can drill down to the specifics of the written content you need to create for a website launch. It will be important to create a static content for the following pages: About, Contact, Partners, Vendors, Products and Services. It’s also very important to have a fresh content posted on your blog or self-generated content on a forum or Q&A.
A blog will need the most comprehensive content plan of all of the website types. Your blog content plan should include the following:
- Topic categories you plan to cover on your blog. For example, a social media blog would likely cover general social media strategy and strategy for specific social networks.
- Specific post titles for your initial posts. If you’re covering multiple topic categories, you should aim to either focus on filling one category with several posts and then move on to the next, or write one post per each main category.
- How often you plan to publish content. Blog owners who are working alone should aim for one new blog post per week, then build up to multiple posts per week as they get used to blogging. Blog owners who plan to invite others to contribute as guests or paid contributors can plan to do two to three posts per week, building up to one post per day.
- An editorial calendar that shows what specific post titles will be published on particular dates. This will allow you to stay on track with your blog post publishing schedule. Here is a sample of the Blog Content Schedule. (coming soon)
An e-commerce website will need content planning as well. This will include fleshing out the products you plan to sell. For example, if you plan to start a mobile accessories online store, here's what content you will need for a specific category of a product type.
- Phone Cases
- Sub-Categories: iPhone cases, Nokia cases, Samsung cases, HTC cases, etc.
- Sub-Categories for iPhone cases: iPhone 4 cases, iPhone 4s cases, iPhone 5 cases, iPhone 5s cases, iPhone 6 cases, iPhone 6+ cases, etc.
- iPhone 4 cases: Multi-color, Black, White, Red, Blue, Green, Purple, Yellow
Thus, depending on the number of products you plan to sell, you will have to create specific unique content for each item.
Content of the site is not just text. Unless you want your site to look like a SimpleText document, you will need to add some visuals to illustrate the text. To make your website functional and useful, consider adding some of these content types:
- written copy
- graphic images
- PDF documents
- audio and video files
- photos and galleries
If you are working on an e-commerce website, compile your product descriptions, photos and other materials you want to have on your website.
Content and functionality checklist:
- Check if your core content is live and ready for promotion.
- Test a menu bar and all the links to make sure your pages, posts and archives open properly. Check titles and meta descriptions. Make sure you use proper titles that relate to the page content on each page. The goal is to ensure that your website pages can be easily found in the search engines.
- Use Google AdWords Keyword Planner or another keyword research tool to find the keywords you will target for your website. If you are not sure where to start, research the keyword phrases your competitors use on their pages.
- Check contact information and test your contact form to make sure anyone who wants to contact you can do so easily.
- Create all the social profiles such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram, and make sure you include your site description, contact information, and link back to your site.
- Test the social sharing buttons on your website, make sure people can share your pages and content on the top social networks.
- Give your visitors one or more ways to connect with you and subscribe to your blog including an option to subscribe by email.
- Test the website on the main browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer) to ensure that everything looks correct.
- Test your website on different devices. If you don’t have access to a variety of devices, use MobileTest.me to test the display and basic functionality in several popular mobile devices.
- Check your page-load speed. Many Internet users still have slow connections and mobile users are particularly sensitive to download time. Users expect a site to load in two seconds or less. Tools like Pingdom and WebPageTest will allow you to see how quickly your website loads.
- Set up Google Analytics. This will help you learn all about your website traffic—where people come from, what they do on your website and what leads them to completing conversion goals such as making a purchase
- Another free tool you should connect to your website is Google Webmaster Tools. Although it’s not exactly analytics, Google Webmaster Tools can help you optimize your website for search engines.
- Check to see that you have a proper error page (404 page). With the standard 404 error page, visitors get the generic «File Not Found» message. Make sure you include additional useful information that keeps visitors from leaving your site in frustration.
- Make sure you add a sitemap file (sitemap.xml) of your website. This will make it easier for major search engines to crawl and index your website. Use the XML-sitemaps free services to automatically generate it. After creating the file, upload it to your root directory so its location is websitename.com/sitemap.xml. If you are using WordPress CMS, install the Google XML Sitemaps plug-in, which automatically updates the sitemap when you write new posts.
Once your website goes live, your goal is to promote it on an ongoing basis. You can promote the homepage, your product pages or your content as applicable. Each promotion should lead to more visits.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
SEO consists of building links to your website. Here are some basic ways to get links for your website.
- If you create amazing content within your niche or industry, you should start to attract links from other websites, such as other bloggers.
- If you have a specific type of business, such as a wedding planning business, you can ask high-quality, niche directories and advertising directories to add your website. The Knot is an example of a wedding planning directory.
- If you have a local business, you can create profiles on a variety of local business directories like Yelp, Merchant Circle and Google+ Places.
- Any website can get links from social profiles such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram.
- You can look for resource pages in your niche or industry to see if they would be willing to add your website as another resource on a specific topic. Target high-quality websites that are relevant to yours.
- You can use link research tools like Moz to find the backlinks of your competitors to see if you can gain links from the same or similar websites.
Chapter 7 of the Free Beginner’s Guide to SEO can help you with ideas on links. You can also refer to the free guide by Point Blank SEO for more ways to build links to your website. Also be sure to thoroughly review Google Webmaster Guidelines to ensure that you are only using link building methods that are not frowned upon by Google.