At Bookmark, we make launching your website as simple and accessible as possible. Our website builder and platform is designed so that anybody can use it to get online, regardless of your design of coding skills.
So, theoretically, you could just jump right into building a website if you wanted. However, we highly recommend that some proper planning and research is done before you get too far ahead of yourself.
This blog will be your guide for all you need to know before launching your website. It doesn’t matter if this is your first time building a website, or your hundredth time. You’ll find some great strategies, both traditional and new, that we think will be helpful before getting your website online in 2021.
Finding and Researching Your Purpose
Sometimes it’s the most obvious tips that are also the most important. You need to be extremely precise and know exactly what you want your website to accomplish. Questions to ask yourself are:
- Does this website encourage people to get in touch?
- Is this website where I will sell products?
- Is this website a portfolio where I will showcase my creative work?
Once you’ve found the answer to that question, research other competitors in the same industry. See what succeeds and fails on their websites. Take notes of the things you like and respect about their site. Do you like the layout and design? What do you think about the tone of their copy?
Just as important as knowing what you want to communicate, is knowing who you want to communicate it to. Before you start designing your website make sure you’ve honed in on who you want your target market to be. This will affect decisions down the road including theme, design, content, usability, SEO. Pretty much everything.
It’s important that you resolve your strategy before moving forward so everything is aligned from the beginning. Otherwise, if your strategy changes down the road, you’ll have to go back and redo everything else.
Calculate Your Branding
Spend some time thinking about what you want your domain name to be when launching your website. It’s the first thing that customers see about your business in the digital world. You want to pick something that is short, easy to remember, and reflects your site’s purpose.
The most important aspect of your website is what you’re communicating. This needs to be done with a font that is readable and matches the style of your messaging.
Different fonts evoke different emotions from the reader. If you want your message to be fun and light-hearted, choose a font that reflects that tone. If your website needs to show more professionalism, a traditional or more formal font is likely the way to go.
Design and Colour
If you’ve researched your competitors in the industry, you probably have an idea of what good and bad design looks like. Try creating a mood board with screenshots of the designs that you liked during your research. Nothing is wrong with pulling out some pencil and paper to sketch a couple different layouts that feel right to you.
It’s also really important that the user experience (UX) design flows really well. When doing your research, click through the website to see if your competitor’s site flows well. If so, try to emulate something similar.
Last thing we’ll mention for design and colour is to make sure it is consistent with the rest of your brand. Establishing brand consistency is really important if you want customers to associate you with a certain message or feeling.
Building Your Content and Understanding SEO
Before you just start typing there’s a few things to consider about planning your content.
Less is more when it comes to the words. Be smart, direct, and concise with what you say. If a picture says a thousand words, then a video says a million. Using multimedia videos and images are a great way to communicate with your customers. Although if you’re using content you did not develop, make sure you have the rights to use that content on your page.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is really important in making your website relevant through the eyes of search engines. There are 40,000 Google searches every second, you need to tailor your content to your site’s purpose if people are going to find you.
You can use Google Adwords’ built in keyword research tool to make sure you’re checking off the right boxes. If you’ve got the budget for it, even consider hiring an SEO specialist. It can make a big difference in customers being able to find you.
Linking to other sites also helps with SEO, but only if those links are active. Check the site’s you link to every month or so to make sure they’re still running. If they’re not, replace them.
Implementing Your Content
Now onto the fun part! It’s time to start adding content to your website which will be solid and consistent if you’ve done everything above.
- You know what you want your website’s message to be and have made that clear on your landing page.
- You’ve researched competitors websites which has helped you hone in on a stylistic design that will help convey your message.
- You’ve got the perfect domain name that is short and easy to remember.
- Your font reflects your message.
- You’ve nailed your SEO and ran it through Google Adwords to make sure your customers will be able to find you.
Have fun and don’t rush this step. Implementing content will definitely require a good portion of your time, but nothing is as rewarding as seeing a website you love on the other end of it.
Test Before Launching
Before launching your website take a trip through it to make sure the UX is working the way you’d like it to. Some things to ask yourself are:
- Are website pages compatible across browsers?
- Are website pages compatible across devices?
- Do all images, videos, and audio files load quickly?
- Are internal links across web pages working properly?
- Are social media share icons working with associated accounts?
- Does your company logo link back to the homepage?
Make sure that your site is secured and anybody who needs to get into it for maintenance has the appropriate access and knows your company’s etiquette policies. Also double and triple check your writing for any potential typos or spelling mistakes.
You need your website to run quickly as well. So make sure that your hosting service is fast and reliable. Nothing bounces potential customers quicker than a website that won’t load within seconds.
Our Top Two Tips for 2021
Make it mobile friendly – In the third quarter of 2020, over 50% of web traffic was on mobile. We anticipate this number to only go up.
Link your social media – Most of your customers will be on social media, so your business should be as well. Make sure to link to your Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram page directly from your site.