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New Website Launch Experiences

Never had a site before? Here we discuss what you will see during a new website launch. Topics cover SEO, web design, and internet marketing.

If I build it will they come?

Only if you market it, Philosoraptor.

New Website Launch Experience: Web Design and Accessibility

The biggest “gotcha” that many people make with their new website is that they are thinking visually. Yes, you must make your pages look good. But they need text. People primarily find your site from a search engine. Think of a search engine as a person that is blind. The only thing they can understand is text.

You will make some graphics that are really just text in a fancy font. Maybe a logo with text on the image. Those images will probably contain important keywords that you want to see ranked on search engines. Make sure that you take advantage of the alt attribute on the <img> tag. The purpose of this attribute is to place alternative text for people who cannot see the image.

You may end up having charts that you created using some software such as Microsoft Excel. For pie graphs, bar graphs, and such you will need to include alt text that describes the image. Make sure that it explains what is going on in the image.  If you are going to display a table of data than you must create an HTML <table>, not a graphic. It is more work and will be tougher to make it look good, but search engines need it. You’ll probably have keywords in there that you would like to see ranked. Also, remember to use the table header (<th>) tag for your row and column headers so that you differentiate them from the data.

You may come across a PDF file that you would like to link to on your new website. Make sure these PDF files are text-based, rather saved as an image. The best way to test if a search engine can crawl it is to test to see if you can copy and paste the text. If you can than search engines will crawl the PDF and associate this content with your site.

New Website Launch Experience: SEO

After you have launched your new website your next goal will be to have it show up in search engines. With a brand new domain this may take some time. There is no hard and fast rule about how fast this will be. The faster you get people to link to you and use your new website, and the faster you update content the faster it will be before search engines pick up your new website.

At the beginning you are probably only going to show up for the exact name of your business. You won’t show up for your other keywords. Your competitors have been around longer and have the advantage that other people have linked to them before your existence.

One way to learn about you is to register for accounts with search engines such as the Google Webmaster Tools and the Bing Webmaster tools. From there you can submit an XML Sitemap. An XML Sitemap lists exactly the pages that you want ranked on your site. You can include the date and time that the pages were last modified so that search engines know if they need to re-crawl the page or not. You can also increase or decrease the page priority on your site. This helps search engines learn what is the most important pages it should focus on.

At the beginning search engines might not know the most important page for keywords that you are using throughout your site and not know what pages to display first. You may even see pages above your home page. Don’t worry! Over time this will work itself out naturally.

You will want to install Google Analytics to learn more about visitors to your new website. I would suggest you register your Google Analytics account with the same gmail account that you registered with the Google Webmaster Tools. I say this because you can than link the two together and Google Analytics will pull some information from the Google Webmaster Tools.

You can demote sitelinks/pages in the Google Webmaster Tools, but I would highly suggest waiting a while before doing this. First let the site normalize, and second you should check the number of incoming links to pages in GWT/GA first. It’s very possible that a lot more links to a certain page exist than to the home page. If that is the case that page will have higher ranking than the home page. Do not demote this page because  you will lose valid traffic.

Google is smart. It knows if you’re associated with a site and tends to rank it higher because of that. Make sure that click on the “Hide Personal Results” button to see what average users see, or use another browser when testing it.

New Website Launch Experience: Internet Marketing

Since your site is new consider running a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign with services such as Google Adwords. This will get your new website showing up in results while your site is gaining traction organically.

Go local and try to have a local newspaper’s website link to your site.  Search out for other local business directories and submit your new website to them. Location based services include Google+ Local (formerly Google Places), the Bing Business Portal, Yahoo! Local, Foursquare, Yelp, Localezse, Hotfrog, Yellow Pages, and YellowBook. With these you can describe your business, hours, and most importantly your new website so that you gain links to it. I would first focus on Google, then Yelp because it is one of the services that Siri pulls data from, then Bing, Yahoo, and Foursquare. After that the other services are just more links to your site.

Search out for web directories related to your industry and submit your site to them. Additionally submit to the Open Directory Project over on dmoz.org.

Create a press release that mentions your service and send it to press release distribution services. It isn’t internet marketing, but if you have any print, radio, or television ads make sure they mention the new website.

Lastly, don’t forget social media. We recommend adding social media buttons to automatically share that page on social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Also add buttons to your own accounts on such services so that you can grow your user base.

And at the end of the day just remember that no one can control what a search engines does. It takes time and a lot of work to build up a reputation. What was your experience when you first launched your website?

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About

Brian is the Director of Development and Social Media for Brand Builder Websites where he oversees the development, strategy, and goals for our software development. He is also a huge fan of Android.
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