7 things to have in place before you start promoting your website
It has never been easier to create a website – be it a simple blog or a more elaborate business website. You can literally be up and running in a day’s time.
However, setting things up is not all you have to do. Before you start a business, you need to develop a clear plan of action. The same goes for the website itself – you can’t just add a couple of pages to it and expect the world to take notice.
Here are the 7 things you should implement on the website before you ever tell anyone it’s out there:
1 – Clear Site Navigation
If your website visitors have no clue how to find the information they need, you can’t expect them to stick around.
Having an easy to navigate menu (or menus) is your first priority when it comes to user experience. Make sure they are clearly visible and don’t disappear as you move around the page, that they are not covered by pop-ups or images as you scroll, that they can also be seen clearly on mobile, and most importantly: that they clearly indicate what can be found where.
Even a simple menu containing not much more than your services, a blog and a contact page will do. Make it as straightforward as you can, and your visitors will appreciate it.
2 – Contact Information
Have you ever come across a website that does not list any contact information, or it is buried somewhere deep at the end of a long about page?
If you are hoping for the phone to start ringing and emails to start coming in, you will need to create a dedicated contact page. List your email, your phone number and your physical address if you have one, as well as opening hours. You should also put the contact info in the footer of every page on the website. That way, people won’t have to look far when they want to get in touch.
3 – Optimized Pages
This might sounds a bit intimidating, but you do need to mind the use of SEO on all of your pages.
While the term itself might sound confusing, and the practice be quite a bit intimidating, implementing a few basic on-page SEO elements will help your site rank better, i.e. people will be able to find you more easily.
Even if you have zero experience with optimization, you can use a few free tools to help you gauge the keywords you should implement, and that will be a great start. As you set off promoting the website, you will come across more and more SEO features you can choose to test out, and further improve the website.
4 – Quality Content
The web is all about content. Everything you see online is content: blog posts, video, images, etc.
And while the web may be full of poor content no one in their right mind would want to read, you don’t want to run the risk of alienating a user just because you’ve misspelt “your” either.
The first thing to ensure is that everything you have published is spell checked and error free. That alone will be a huge plus to begin with.
After that, you need to make sure your landing pages are clear and informative, and that they provide value to the user: why should he turn to you and not someone else?
Learning to write great copy takes time, so don’t expect yourself to turn into a stellar writer if you already aren’t one. You will perfect your craft over time. However, do make sure you are honest, and that your blog posts come from experience and from your own voice.
Of course, you can also choose to outsource you writing to someone else, in which case all you have to do is provide clear instructions, and ensure you are satisfied with the result.
5 – Customer Testimonials
If you already have a few satisfied customers in your books, make sure to ask them for a testimonial. It needn’t be long, a couple of honest sentences about the experience of working with you will suffice.
Make sure the testimonials are not overly glowing – as they can come off as a bit fake. Don’t write them yourself either and post them in the name of a customer. Always make sure your reviews are genuine, as false testimonials can quickly cause you significant harm.
6 – A Clear Call to Action
Every page on your website (including your blog posts) should have a clear call to action at the bottom.
It does not need to be pushy, nor does it need to be written out in bold capital letters. However, if you don’t point visitors in the right direction, they can often simply forget to take a look at your service pages, which is where you want them in the first place.
Make sure the CTA is prominent – you can even turn it into an image – and that it clearly links to (not just mentions) the page you want your visitors to move on to.
Google Analytics will later be able to tell you the paths your customers take on the website, so you will be able to gauge where to direct them, and which CTAs are working best.
7 – Social Proof
Finally – you should provide links to your social media accounts from the website. You can use the footer for this as well, and you can also add them to your about page.
This will not only make it easier for your visitors to find and follow you on social media, you will also establish another avenue of contact between you.
Make sure you also add social sharing buttons to your blog posts, making it easier for visitors to share what they have liked with their own followers and contacts.
This will again benefit you in more ways than one: your posts will be shared without any effort on your part and you will also acquire social proof, and people will be able to see who else follow and likes you.
After implementing these 7 items, you can start to promote your blog: on social networks, through email marketing, through outreach, and any other way you think of. As you do so, you will learn how to further improve the website, and reach an even wider audience.