Congratulations! You’ve just launched your first website or a newly refurbished / redesigned one. Most of the hard ‘slog’ is over.
However, there are a few things you need to do now and ongoing to make sure your website is maintained, growing and monitored correctly. It is easy to put off, but you may be kicking yourself later for not having invested more in these steps to turn your website into a strong asset for your business. Weeks, months and even years can fly by.
What you need to do right now
1. Start small with telling everyone
Make sure people actually know you have a website. Write the domain into your stationery, business cards and social profiles. That trickle of traffic is the seed of future business, and can also pay off in terms of having a place where your existing clients can learn more about your services.
2. Setup Google MyBusiness
It’s no secret that Google has taken the rug out from under the Yellow Pages, so be sure to capitalise on making the most of your Google presence. I would not say this is optional, make sure you do it!
Setup a Google MyBusiness (GMB) profile. This will help you rank in local search terms and also give you a place to store reviews.
To get started, go here and follow the instructions: https://business.google.com/
3. Setup your supporting profiles
After Google, there are probably a few other directories or profiles that you can setup specifically for your firm. For example, most businesses should also have a Facebook profile (which can also store reviews) or Bing.
Consider other platforms like Yelp or Yellow Pages, which are often free to list. Even if the traffic from these platforms is low in the short-to-medium term, you never know which platform which provide a lower cost per lead due to the local competition, and be a potential marketing investment opportunity later.
Note: For Facebook, make sure you setup your business as a page, not a personal profile. Also considering a Facebook Business account. Learn more here: https://business.facebook.com/
4. Get foundational SEO work done
Foundational SEO work will set your website up for ranking for your search terms in your target catchment areas. Simply having a website live will do little to get you traffic from Google.
In fact, if you have just launched a new website, you may not even rank for your own brand name on Google at all for a few months. It depends on the level of competition for your business name and service.
Foundational SEO work will include tuning up your website so that it is optimised for the key search words people use to find businesses like yours, and making sure Google knows where you are. Other bits will include submitting your sitemap and getting yourself setup with Google’s SEO monitoring tool: Google Search Console (also known as GSC).
5. Setup website analytics
When people visit your website, do you know what they are doing? Is something not working, or is one page putting them off? How many people, exactly, are contacting you or requesting quotes?
Helpfully, free tools like Google Analytics (also known as GA) help you with all of the above. Make sure you have Google Analytics setup, with bot filters so that your traffic stats are not unduly inflated, and with detailed conversion tracking so you know how much business your website is converting.
This is an easy step to skip, but please make sure to invest in this. Having long-term data on how your website is performing is essential for the future when you make changes to improve performance and start more marketing initiatives. Without data, you will find it hard to know what is working and what is not.
Learn more on Google Analytics here: https://analytics.google.com/analytics/web/
6. Setup brand name alerts
If someone mentions your name or business, will you know? Make the most of mentions with thank yous, link requests or even responses (to negative comments) by having a Google Alert in place.
To setup your Google Alert, go here and follow the instructions: https://www.google.com/alerts
What you need to start and keep doing
7. Get reviews
Reviews power so much of online marketing, for generating more results from SEO and also promoting people to ‘convert’ and actually contact you once they are on your website.
Start collecting reviews as soon as you can. Leverage your platforms like Google (first) and Facebook, as reviews on these platforms are considered more trustworthy by Google and can impact your results more.
8. Publish blog posts
Blog posts are an easy way to provide ammunition for your other marketing channels. Need something to send to prospects? Want an excuse to reconnect to someone who worked with you a year ago? Send them a useful blog post you have written.
For a simple way to start, consider frequently asked questions and answer style posts.
Once published to your blog, share these to your social channels including GMB.
9. Collect emails (and permission)
Email is considered the most cost effective digital marketing channels. But you won’t be able to generate many results without a decent database.
Start requesting permission from clients and relevant stakeholders to add them to your monthly newsletter. You can even implement a function on your site to automatically request permission to send helpful content (like this?) to your prospects.
10. Monitor your website’s performance
Remember GMB, GSC and GA? These tools tell you how you are doing on a local level, SEO level, and site performance-wise.
Monitor these tools weekly or at least monthly so that you can detect issues that pop up with your website or marketing, as well as spot opportunities for new marketing efforts and improvements.
11. Maintain your website
Perhaps there is a better analogy, but I like to think of your website as a car. You can have a performance vehicle, but you need a great driver and fuel to get somewhere.
Not only that, but you need to maintain it with proper servicing. Skip the oil change too many times and suddenly the $150 saving on a service becomes a very serious cost to fix.
Invest in routine oil changes, also known as website care packages or maintain the website yourself. These should include:
- WordPress / CMS updates
- Plugin updates
- Malware scanning and protection
- Uptime monitoring (so you know if your website goes down)
- Backups of your website and data
12. Make sure people link to you, if they talk about you
Links are a major factor for boosting your website’s rankings in Google. While it is important that links are quality links (not spammy ones from low quality websites and sources), it is fairly safe to suggest that if friends, business colleagues or allies talk about your business, request they actually link to you.
These links will add up over time and help your long term SEO (unpaid Google and Bing visitors) traffic increase.
13. Consider investing in marketing
With your website setup, analytics in place, you are now ready to add fuel to your vehicle. With less than 1,500 visitors a month, it is time to consider investing more into your marketing to drive visitors to your website.
For professional services, the tactics traditionally found effective for lead generation include: SEO (to rank better in Google and get more unpaid visitors), Google Ads (formerly known as Google adwords), content marketing, email newsletters and conversion rate optimisation.
With digital marketing, keep an eye on your website’s conversion and the tactic’s overall cost per lead. It makes sense to ensure you are turning a profit on each lead generated and investing in tactics that produce lower cost of leads.
Longer term, you may consider branding initiatives. A topic for another post which will be linked to here.
Getting a new website launched can be exciting. Take a moment to enjoy passing the milestone, but don’t let that distract you from the job at hand which is now to now make the most of your new asset by maintaining it, monitoring it and using it to maximise lead generation through marketing.