Website Launch Checklist: 7 Best Practices to Hit the Ground RunningJan 22, 2019
About to launch a new website? Having a website launch plan is key. In this post, we'll share our website launch checklist with 7 best practices to hit the ground running.
Unveiling a sparkling new website is one of the most exciting things we get to do as online entrepreneurs.
A new website is just so full of wonderful possibilities. It could even change your life!
After all, your website could one day enable you to quit your day job and live the life of your dreams.
But first, you'll need to get your website started on the right foot with a proper launch plan.
Do this right, and you'll be making money online in no time!
Are you ready to learn how to launch your website?
Good. Let's dive in to the checklist and the 7 website launch best practices...
Note: some of the following links may be affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you decide to make a purchase through our link.
1. Define Your Unique Brand Identity
A strong brand identity is critical to kickstart your new website. Your website should set you apart from the crowd, and a definite brand identity will do just that.
Here are some tips for honing in on your website's unique identity...
Define Your Vision
Writing down your vision, mission statement, and goals for your website aren’t old school. You don’t necessarily have to publish this, but it should serve as the backbone of your website.
Just as you write a business plan, a website vision is a valuable platform that can give you gains in the long run. Ask yourself why you are creating this website in the first place. Whether it is for personal blogging, for a cause, or for commercial purposes, define the how’s and why’s to keep it grounded.
Understand Your Audience
The most important component of making your identity clear is to understand your audience. WHO is your website going to be for?
For example, are you writing for medical professionals, or college students? Identify the audiences you would like to attract so you can satisfy their needs and interests, but be open to drawing different types of people too. You don't want to go SO narrow with your target audience that your website won't be popular.
Your website should be tailored towards a specific target audience, but still be broad enough to attract throngs of website visitors.
The best way to understand your audience is by creating a customer avatar. We have a template for you to use here: just fill in the blanks!
Create a Mood Board
Your audience will judge your brand based on their first impressions. So, the visual representation of your website should match your vision, mission, target audience, and offers.
Your visual identity should include a well-crafted logo, page colors, theme or style. Visualize your plan by saving ideas and inspiration to a "mood board".
We'll talk more in depth about creating these visual elements later on in this checklist, but for now you can start thinking about the overall feelings that you want people to associate with your brand and put pieces of inspiration into a central location that you can reference later.
2. Get a Branded Domain Name
A good domain name will not only amp up your website, but it will also create a sense of legitimacy. People are likely to go back to your site and trust it when it appears professional and up-to-date. There’s no going around it; a domain name will build your credibility and protect your trademarks.
Here are some tips for getting your own domain...
Choose Your Domain & Domain Extension
A domain is your unique URL. There can be no two websites with the same domain name.
You should come up with a domain name that is unique and easy to remember. Keep it short and simple. While it is not mandatory for your domain name to bear the same title or name as your product or website, your audience should be able to recall or associate it with your brand quickly.
A domain extension is the suffix at the end of your URL, such as .com, .edu, .org, etc. It used to be that .com was the only really "professional" looking domain extension, but nowadays there are all sorts of different extensions in use. Try to get the .com version of your domain if it is available, but don't panic if it is not.
Register Your Domain
Before you can use a domain, it has to be registered. We recommend getting yours from Bluehost because they offer FREE domain names and also have the best hosting solutions (which we'll cover in the next section!).
3. Host Your Website
A web host is the physical location of your website. A website cannot exist without a host.
If you are putting content online, you will need a storage center to hold that for you, allowing the internet to share your web content with other people or your target audiences. That is what a web hosting provider delivers– storage space and access.
The web hosting provider that we use here at Persuasion Nation is Bluehost. We chose them because they are super affordable and reliable, and also offer incredible support. Plus, if you plan to do blogging, they offer one-click WordPress installations. As a Persuasion Nation fan, you can get an exclusive discount on Bluehost here.
4. Build Your Website
Now that you have defined your brand identity and purchased your website domain and hosting provider, now it's time to actually put content up on your website!
All of your copy, graphics, videos, etc. should reflect your brand identity. You can do all your graphics yourself using a tool like Canva or Adobe Photoshop. Or if you aren't very artistic, you can get help from a professional designer from 99designs.
Here are some tips to get you started...
Colors have a significant impact on advertising, marketing, and design for the very reason that it psychologically evokes feelings. There are many different cultural perceptions and associations with colors, but nonetheless, it is no an exaggeration to say that colors stir the emotions.
In designing your website, you have to consider the meanings commonly associated with the colors you are going to use, and ensure that they support your brand message. For example, bright colors and warmer tones evoke a sense of energy and playfulness. Pastel colors and colder tones may appear more modern and minimal. There are many variants and hues to choose from and when creating your website, so you should know your own personal preferences, but also consider the tones that would best describe your brand.
Looking for some color inspiration? Check out our Pinterest board with lots of website color palette ideas here.
Choosing a font may seem like a tiny detail, but it's those tiny details of web design that separate the amateur-looking websites from the professional ones.
Gone are the days when we had a minimal selection of fonts and styles. Now you can pick a font that perfectly reflects your brand identity!
Make sure that your readers will feel comfortable when reading through your contents. You don't want to choose fonts that are difficult to read. At the same time, you'll want to choose fonts that convey the character of your website. If your brand is casual and fun, use sans serif fonts. If your brand is formal or elegant, use serif fonts.
You can also pair serif fonts with sans serif fonts for a unique look. If you need some ideas for fonts, check out our typography and fonts Pinterest board.
90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, so your website needs to be appealing and professional, while also being functional and easy to navigate. The best way to accomplish both of these things is with the use of white space.
Don’t be afraid to include lots of "white space" (or blank space) in your web design. People will appreciate the breathing room rather than clutter and information overload– this makes your website easier to scan and more appealing to look at. So keep paragraphs super short, and put ample space in between objects!
Infographics (information + graphics) are an excellent visual image to represent your data. Infographics enhance boring texts and simplify complex information for your audience. They can be a chart or a diagram with pictures and design elements.
There are many ways to generate excellent infographics using free tools like Canva which have presets and templates.
Good photos can turn a ho-hum website into a stunning one, and more importantly, they help to maintain the attention of your visitors.
Photos are also an excellent way to break up the copy on your page so it is has more white space!
Need inspiration for your photo shoot? We've got a Pinterest board for that too!
Quite possibly the best way to build your brand is to add videos to your website. Videos of demonstrations, testimonials, or tutorials help to make your site more engaging, and you can post these videos to YouTube for even more exposure.
5. Get Creative... on a Regular Basis
Now that you have a website, you are in the business of creating novelty! You'll need to start adding new, creative content to your website on a regular basis if you really want it to grow and become popular.
Make your readers anticipate your new content by sticking to a regular publishing schedule.
Don't be afraid to add entertaining, funny, or trendy content too, if it's appropriate for your audience. When posting on social media, use trending hashtags so potential visitors can easily find you.
Your website also needs regular maintenance and upgrades to keep attracting visitors. Check your pages regularly for outdated information and update them. If you don’t see a need to update any information you posted, then try to keep it alive by engaging and replying to the comments and suggestions of your readers!
6. Make Your Website Search Engine Friendly
SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization, is the approach of making your website searchable on search engines like Google. Building a site that’s search engine friendly means that when people type words or phrases relevant to your website content, then your website will appear at the top of their searches.
Search engines rank searches depending on the quality and relevance of your content. You will have to create high-quality content that people will find useful in their searches. Then, you'll need to optimize your content so that search engines can understand what your content is about.
For help with this, check out our guide on How to Optimize Blog Posts for SEO.
7. Get Feedback
Share your content on social media and listen to the feedback that you get. What content did they love? What do they still have questions about? Take those ideas into account, and be able to answer queries and suggestions thoughtfully and honestly.
You'll also want to make sure you have comments enabled on your website. Use a tool like Disqus to encourage interaction and discussions.
Another valuable form of feedback is when your visitors share your content. Add social media buttons to your website to make it easy for visitors to share your content with their followers. If you are using WordPress, you can install an easy plugin like Social Warfare to do this.
Word of mouth is invaluable when launching your website. Follow these tips, be inventive, and your website will surely hit the ground running in no time!
Kyle Paulie Bacsal (born 1996) is a freelance researcher and a content writer. Her interests revolve around contemporary sociology, cutting-edge technology, and journals on the algorithmic rise of computing. She is a current contributor to YourLastHost blogs and contents.