Launching a new website for the first time can be an exciting, yet stressful period.
Is everything ready? Are all your pages and links working, and error-free? Is it mobile-friendly? Dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s can seem like a fairly straight forward task. But as humans, we forget and we overlook things, particularly when we can’t immediately see them in front of our face – like search engine optimization.
Having a brand new website means you have no identity, history, or web rank associated with your domain when it comes to search engines. You’re a newbie to the web, and you need to get noticed ASAP. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take in preparation for launching your website to help speed up the process of getting your site indexed and recognized.
Here are 5 must-do steps that are often overlooked before officially launching a new website:
1. Prepare Content
Getting indexed and ranked on Google relies heavily on great content. You want to prepare at least 10 pieces of high quality content with about 1500 words in each. This is the best way to quickly get indexed by the search engines. Ideally, you also want to be adding content 3-4 times a week. Adding a blog page to your website is ideal for content building. Keeping it interesting and unique will bring you repeat visitors, and Googlebot shall follow.
2. Create Your Social Media Accounts
Ensure you have already created your social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. These social media sites should be used prior to your launch date. Although your website is not up, that doesn’t mean you can’t start marketing it. Why not do some marketing ahead of time by advertising the launch date of your new website. Once your website has officially launched and is live, be sure to link all your social media accounts to the site.
3. Create a Sitemap for Your Website
A sitemap tells search engines when new pages have been added to your site. Needless to say, this is very important to have. If your website was built on WordPress, you can install the Google XML Sitemaps plugin. This will automatically create and update your sitemap for you and submit it to search engines.
4. Install Google Analytics
Create a Google Analytics account and place the tracking code into your websites before you go live. This will provide you with valuable information on your website stats from day one.
5. Last-minute Checks
Do your final checks. Page speed is a heavy Google ranking factor, so make sure it’s up to par (it shouldn’t take more than 3 seconds to load). Check that your images are properly optimized. They should be good quality, small file sizes (compressed if needed), and contain descriptive filenames (this will also improve your ranking on Google Images). Proofread your content and make sure that you’ve included all the keywords you are targeting. And, last but not least, make sure to create an external backup of your site!
For more helpful tips on marketing your newly launched website, click here.