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HomeWebsitesWebsite Development4 Best practices when launching a website for your new business

4 Best practices when launching a website for your new business

Launching a website for your new business
Image by freepik

Launching a website for your business is a big step, and it’s important to get it right. This is true whether your business has been around for many years and is just making the transition to having a web presence, or whether you’re launching a site for your brand-new business.

In this blog post, we’ll look at 5 best practices for getting your business website off to a good start. From technical SEO best practices to testing, this guide will let you hit the ground running.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Choose the right CMS
  • Lay technical SEO foundations
  • Make sure it’s responsive
  • Test everything!

Let’s get started.

Choose the right CMS

CMS stands for content management system, and refers to the software used to build websites. Some are very common and have a relatively low barrier of entry – WordPress. For example – while others require big investments and high levels of skill. The right CMS therefore depends on a few things. This includes your budget, the level of complexity you want for your site, and your expertise (or the expertise of your developer/s, if you’re outsourcing the build).

Before building your site, take time to research common CMS and build an understanding of their relative benefits, drawbacks, features, and costs. It’s worth spending a bit of time doing this because choosing the right one at the outset it can save some real headaches later on!

Some CMS to consider looking at are:

  • Wix: beginner
  • Squarespace: beginner
  • Shopify: beginner to intermediate
  • WordPress: beginner to intermediate
  • Ghost: intermediate
  • Joomla: intermediate to advanced
  • Drupal: advanced

Lay technical SEO foundations

Technical SEO is the discipline that involves optimising the infrastructure, code base, and technical aspects of a website to bring it in line with best practice. The analogy “under the bonnet” works: technical SEO deals with the stuff the end-user doesn’t see, but is vital in making things work correctly.

With organic search traffic generating enormous amounts of revenue for most businesses, ensuring visibility in search engines is a crucial part of their operations. Technical SEO best practice are ever-evolving and aligns with the preferences of Google and other search engines. Keeping your site’s infrastructure and performance in line with this best practice maximises the chance of search engines viewing your site favourably. And boosting its visibility in the search engines.

Here are some relevant considerations for technical SEO best practice:

  • Crawlability: search engines should be able to easily locate content on your site, and navigate around your site. This helps them to gain a clear understanding of your site’s structure, and to connect users with content that addresses their needs.
  • Site speed: search engines understand that users navigate away from content that takes too long to load, meaning modern websites need to load quickly in order to perform well in the search results.
  • Site structure: a logical and easy-to-navigate site structure is crucial for helping search engines and human users to find content that aligns with their needs. Search engines will penalise sites that make it difficult or confusing for users to navigate.
  • HTTPS: HTTPS is a secure browsing protocol on which search engines place precedence, meaning that your site will suffer if it uses the now-outdated HTTP.
  • Metadata: while less prominence is placed on metadata than it used to be, these snippets of copy can help to refine a search engine’s understanding of your site. They should be concise, descriptive, and not spammy.

A full technical SEO audit will help you to build a much greater understanding of your site’s current performance and, for new sites especially, opportunities to strengthen your technical SEO.

Make sure it’s responsive

A vast majority of web traffic now comes from mobile devices, meaning that more than ever websites must be fully responsive. Responsive design is a philosophy that looks to ensure web content renders properly on any device or screen size to provide seamless browsing between phones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers and other devices.

Not only is responsive design expected, its absence is actively penalised by search engines. This means that if you want people to be able to find your site, you MUST have a responsive theme. Thankfully, many CMS now offer fully-responsive themes by default, and there are myriad coding frameworks that developers can use to ensure bespoke website builds are responsive.

Test everything

A new client of mine once asked me to see if I could figure out why they’d not heard anything back from the 1000x fliers they’d paid someone to deliver door-to-door. “Surely with so many flyers,” they said, “at least one person should have got in touch with us?”

I did a few tests and it didn’t take long to figure out what the issue was. The web developer hadn’t hooked the contact form plugin up to anything capable of sending emails. This meant that if anyone filled in the inquiry form and hit send, the website would generate a confirmation message but not send the email.

Even worse, the developer hadn’t thought to set up any tracking on the website. Meaning there was no way of telling how many people had tried to send an email through the broken form. The whole flyering campaign was a waste of money.

Thankfully you can learn from their mistake: test EVERYTHING to make sure it works BEFORE launch!

In conclusion

There are hundreds of things to consider when building a website for your business. But just like everything in life, focussing on the fundamentals will lay a solid groundwork on which you can build later. By following the points in this guide you will lay the foundation for a website that is easy to navigate. Which performs well in Google, and which attracts and converts real customers.

Unfortunately the maxim “build it and they will come” doesn’t apply to websites, but a slightly amended one – “lay the right foundations and they will come” – does. The steps in this guide – CMS, SEO, responsiveness, and testing – will stand you in good stead for success.

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