It’s natural to make mistakes with SEO when you first launch a new website. Regardless of whether you are launching a site for the first time, or redesigning an existing website, technical mistakes can be costly.
The good news is that any teething problems you encounter can be fixed post-launch without too much trouble, but to get you off on the best footing, take extra care over these critical points.
Don’t overdo the design
The design of a website has to achieve three key principles; it must be eye-catching, easy to navigate and communicate your product in a way visitors understand and desire.
How you view your web design is personal preference, so we will not go into that here. What we will say however, is that your website should function in an easy-to-use manner.
Therefore, you do not need to include bells and whistles on your website that do not serve a purpose, or just because they look good. A clean, tidy design helps users find what they are looking for more readily.
Don’t make navigation complicated
You information architecture is one of the key principles to online success. If users cannot easily find information they are looking for, they will quickly become frustrated, leave your site and never return.
The sitemap of your website should be one of the first things you address, even before design work has started. Choose elements that enhance user-experience not because it looks cool.
Don’t load your site with unnecessary baggage
Another important factor of a website that effects the amount of user engagement is load up speed. If your page does not appear within seconds, the would-be visitor disappears.
Loading your website with flash files such as video and advertising banners will delay the load-up time of your website. That doesn’t mean you cannot use these features, just don’t use too many.
As a rule of thumb, only use video when it is the best option. Don’t forget you will be adding more content on to your server as time goes by, and with video growing in importance for mobile users, your website will become heavier over time, so choose your file types carefully.
Communicating your message
The copy on your website plays a major role in conversions – which at the end of the day is the name of the game, to borrow a couple of clichés. It is essential you communicate your message.
Explaining what your products and services are is a given. If you are not doing this right, don’t expect to sell anything in the first place. But online marketing requires your copy to say much more than this.
One of the most important things to establish is your credibility. You have to show prospects you have specialist knowledge in your field and that you can be trusted to deliver quality products and services.
You can do this in your page content by including testimonials and FAQ’s, and also by keeping a blog. Add around half a dozen blog posts prior to launch so that newcomers have an alternative source of reference in addition to your sales pages.
Launching too early
Another common mistake is launching your website before it is ready. Yes, we know it’s exciting, but that early exuberance will be deflated if you launch your website to find it doesn’t work as intended.
Make sure all your landing pages are in place, copy is intelligently written and navigational links are in place and directed to the right destination. If you are transferring pages from an old website, make a note of the redirects and keep track of where the new pages are.
Whilst working on your website or subdomain folders update the disallow field to prevent search engine crawlers indexing your website and finding a load of duplicate content or thin content. This will give you negative SEO before you even start.
Finally, never launch on Friday. When websites go live, they always have the odd glitch or look different to how they did in staging. This is quite normal and for the most part unavoidable.
Therefore you should give yourself some time to identify any glitches and react to feedback from users immediately. If you launch on a Friday and your customers find numerous problems over the weekend, you will be confronted with an inbox full of problems on Monday morning.