Launching a website is a huge task for any organization. Whether you’re launching a site for the first time, or you’re doing a full rework of your current site, if you want to know how to launch a website successfully this quick guide is for you.
How To Launch Your Own Website in 5 Steps
Step 1: Plan Out Your Website’s Needs
Every website has a purpose. Some websites exist to provide articles and videos, others exist as
- What is the primary goal of this website? Is it to sell products, to generate leads, to provide information, or to take online orders? Is there another purpose for the website?
- Who is the website for? This will determine how you structure the look, feel, and user flow.
- How do you plan on getting traffic to your site? Are you planning to run ads, get traffic from search engines, use social media, or some other method? This will determine how users should navigate the site and what functionality you’ll need.
- What search terms do you want to appear for when people search for you? We recommend doing SEO keyword research before launching your website.
One of the most important steps in this process is choosing a domain name. Your domain name is an important part of search engine optimization (SEO), but it’s also part of your brand. The choice you make could affect how customers see you and your brand.
Step 2: Choose Your Tech Suite (Hosting, CMS, Plugins)
The reason we recommend deciding on tech before design or SEO is because the technology you use will determine what functionalities you can use, how your design will look, and ultimately how you’ll maintain the website going forward.
Your choice in tech will also depend on what you want your website to do.
Answer the following questions before you move forward:
- Which web host will you use? Will you host your own web server? Many people are turning to web hosts that come with their own design and content management software, such as Squarespace, Shopify, and Wix.
- What content management system (CMS) will you use? WordPress is the most popular, but others might suit your needs better.
- What functionality must your website have in order to serve your goals? It’s best to keep this to a minimum, as too much functionality can bog down the development process.
Step 3: Design The Site
Although most website hosts and CMS’s come with pre built website templates that you can use, nobody wants to use a template off the shelf. You’re going to make changes to it, and you need to decide what those changes will be.
- What colors best represent your brand?
- How do you want people to move through the website?
- What call-to-action (CTA) buttons will exist on the home page?
You can hire a web designer on Upwork, or use an in-house designer. They’re generally pretty easy to find, but we recommend choosing a designer that understands your choice of CMS.
Want to make your new website better optimized for SEO? Check out this article: SEO Friendly Web Design Tips for Business Owners
Step 4: Develop a Minimum Viable Product
Once you have a design down, now it’s time to build something worth launching!
Your minimum viable product (MVP) is the iteration of your website that does only what’s absolutely necessary, and no more. This requires you and your team to prioritize between what’s necessary and what is “nice to have”.
Answer these questions:
- What are the most necessary functionalities that you cannot launch without?
- Can the website, as it is now, provide your visitors with what they want?
Step 5: Optimize And Refine
Now that you have a MVP, you can start doing the little tweaks. Bug fixes, tweaking little design flaws, and optimizing site speed are all important parts of this process.
We generally recommend launching with an imperfect website, then tweaking it over time. Measure how people use the website, how many people take the actions you want them to take, and how much traffic you’re getting.
On-page SEO is an important step in the optimization process. We have several guides detailing how to do on-page SEO.
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