The 10 Most Important Things You Need to Know When Starting a New Website
So you’re thinking about starting a new website? That’s awesome.
Now it’s time to make sure that the site you build achieves your goals, builds your brand, and reels in visitors.
To that end, here are the 10 most important things you need to know when starting a website.
- Get the Right Domain Name
For starters, pick a domain name that’s marketable.
As a rule of thumb, there are two principles you want to apply when selecting a domain name: 1) keep it short and 2) make it easy to remember.
Keep in mind: you don’t necessarily need a domain name related to your niche if it’s easy to recall.
Think about it. The name “Amazon” has nothing to do with e-commerce and “Monster” has nothing to do with job recruiting. Yet, both of those sites have well-established brands online.
Also, pick a .com if possible. Sure, .net, .co, and .us will do in a pinch if you’re really desperate for that name or phrase before the extension. Typically, though, it’s best to go with .com.
- Make Sure to Launch on HTTPS
You can make your site available via HTTP or HTTPS. It’s best to go with HTTPS.
Why? Because HTTPS is the secure version of the HTTP protocol.
In this day and age of digital crime, you’ll do your visitors a service by securing communications. That’s especially true if you’re asking them for identity info.
Beyond that, the HTTPS protocol will give your site a slight bump in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
- Install Tracking Software
You don’t know what you don’t know. When it comes to digital marketing, you’ll never know it without analytics.
That’s why it’s important that you install tracking software on your website. You’ll use that software to determine which marketing efforts are most successful and which ones aren’t bearing any fruit.
At a minimum, make sure you’ve integrated your website with the following technologies:
- Google Analytics – free software from Google that will tell you almost everything you want to know about how people are finding your site and what they’re doing once they get there
- Google Search Console – gives you insight about how well your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts are working
- Bing Webmaster Tools – similar to Google Search Console except that it provides insights from Bing instead of Google
- SumoMe plugin – if you’re using WordPress, the SumoMe plugin offers a variety of tools to help you get the most out of your website and build your email list
- Goal Tracking – if you’re running an ecommerce site, it’s useful to set up goal tracking to see how well your site is performing in various parts of the sales funnel
- Create a Keyword Strategy and Optimize Your Top Pages
Add some content marketing to your site by creating a keyword strategy, writing articles around those keywords, and optimizing your top pages.
If you’re not familiar with keyword research, it’s best to take a crash course on the subject before you begin content marketing.
Once you’ve selected your keywords, write one longform article for each of the keywords that you’ve selected. Be sure to use the keyword in the title and throughout the article, but don’t overdo it or you’ll get in trouble with Google. Make the keyword usage look natural.
Finally, generate some link juice by guest blogging and posting links back to your awesome content.
- Pick 3 Social Media Networks and Build out Profiles
There are far too many social media sites in existence today. Fortunately, you don’t have to be on all of them.
Pick three that are best suited to your niche. Then, start building profiles on each of them.
Which three should you pick? Well, that depends.
If you’re running a site that’s image-intensive (for example, a fashion site), then you’ll want to be on an image-focused social media channel like Instagram or Pinterest.
On the other hand, if you’re running a B2B site, you’ll definitely want to be on LinkedIn.
Bottom line: pick the sites that make it easy to promote your brand.
- Connect Your Social Media to Your Website
Once you have your social media accounts set up, it’s time to connect them to your website. Fortunately, that’s usually easy to do.
If you’re running WordPress, there’s probably a spot in the administrative back end where you can add links to your social media profiles so that they appear on the header. For more information, consult your theme documentation.
If you’re not using WordPress, you’ll probably need to place social media icons manually in your header and make them hyperlinks that point to your social media profile pages.
- Set up a Blog
You might think that just because you’ve posted a few articles relevant to your niche in Step #4 that you don’t need to do any more content marketing. Think again.
Content marketing is a never-ending process. You should constantly add content to your site.
Make sure it’s likely to attract people in your target market. There is a lot to know about blogging, so make sure to study up first.
- Set up Email Captures
Once you’ve got your site established, it’s time to start building relationships with potential customers and clients. One of the ways you do that is with email.
That’s why your site should offer pop-ups that ask people to join your email distribution list.
Remember, though, that you need to give people a great reason to volunteer their email address. Consider offering a freebie like an e-book or holding a contest that requires an email address for entry.
- Create an Ad Strategy
Once you’ve got your site up and running, it’s time to create an ad strategy. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to run ads on social media as well as pay-per-click (PPC) ads.
Social media channels offer great advertising opportunities because they usually let you create highly targeted audiences so that your ads only appear in front of the right people.
PPC ads are great way to gain more brand exposure on the search engines. That’s because your ad will appear as part of the search results, and often at the top.
Brainstorm with your team about the right mix of social media and PPC ads. Then, create ads that are relevant to both the platforms that they run on and to people in your target market.
- Create an Email Marketing Strategy
It’s not good enough to collect email addresses from people if you don’t use those addresses for marketing purposes. That’s why you need an email marketing strategy.
Of course, make sure you don’t overdo it with your email marketing. The last thing you want to do is spam people with countless sales messages. That’s how you’ll lose business.
Instead, send out periodic emails with clickbait headlines offering something that appeals to people in your target market. Then, use those messages to bring people to your website and, ultimately, get more sales.
Get Started Now
These are some of the most important things you need to know about marketing a new website. When starting a new site, make sure to really think it through and do your research. Also, make sure you have a purpose for the site, a business model and the drive to carry it all through. Good luck!
John Lincoln is digital marketing teacher at UC San Diego and author. He and his team built a 40 employee company serving more than 100 clients. John has done writing for companies such as Entrepreneur Magazine , Inc. Magazine Huffington Post and Search Engine Land. His companies pallet of services include CRO, SEO, Marketing via Social Media , Managing your company reputation online, Analytics , Online Media Buys, and more. John is continually referenced as a top influencer in the digital marketing industry. Reach out to John if you are looking for excellent ROI and growth in your business.
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