A Startup’s Guide on the First 5 Steps You Should Take after Launching a Website
First impressions last, especially for online startups that are exposed to the prejudiced online community. One bad experience from your website may lead to a negative review, which could result in a negative brand image that’s difficult to salvage. That’s why, as a startup, you shouldn’t let a single minute pass before you optimize your business website in terms of design, user experience, and value.
According to the annual BrightLocal Consumer Review Survey of 2016, it only takes less than ten reviews before the consumers form an opinion regarding a particular brand. If you hope to grow your startup and establish a solid brand for your company, you should execute the following steps right after you launch your website:
1. Check Your Website’s Speed
Nothing annoys the online audience more than a slow website. In fact, 40% of your audience will probably leave if your page doesn’t load in three seconds or less. That said, make sure your website doesn’t depend on resource-heavy elements, particularly high-definition videos. When it comes to images, use a tool like Optimizilla to reduce the file size of your PNG and JPEG assets. You can also use Google PageSpeed Insights for insights and recommendations that will help improve your website’s speed.
2. Install Social Sharing Plugins
In case you do manage to please your audience with your content, make it easy for them to spread the word by installing social sharing buttons. If you use a major content management system (CMS) like Wix, Squarespace, or WordPress, you simply use a template that has built-in social sharing buttons. You can also use an external tool like the Share app by SumoMe to add a customizable, floating social media bar. When establishing your social media presence, prioritize the networks preferred by your target audience.
3. Apply On-Page SEO
You don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune on an agency to make your website more SEO-friendly. The basic on-page tactics can be done by yourself, you just need to know the best practices such as creating hierarchal URLs, adding metadata, uploading an XML sitemap, and optimizing for the right keywords. It’s also important to avoid bad practices such as keyword stuffing and utilizing low-quality, spun content. For a complete checklist of specific SEO objectives for your site, you can use a tool SEO Web Page Analyzer. If you’re running WordPress, you can also integrate a plugin like Yoast SEO.
4. Create Lead Capture Forms
Building traffic to your site isn’t enough if you want to make it profitable. Whether you’re running a niche blog or an e-commerce site, you also need an effective lead generation strategy to convert visitors into subscribers, social followers, and customers. Doing so not only helps build residual traffic to your site, but also helps you promote future content and boost your audience’s confidence in your brand. To start converting visitors, use opt-in form builders such as OptinMonster alongside an email marketing platform like MailChimp or GetResponse.
5. Invest in Proactive Security
Security breaches are extremely costly, even for startups that have little data and limited online visibility. According to statistics, 60% of small businesses fail within six months following a cyber-attack. Apart from DDoS attacks that can lead to lost revenue, customer data leaks may also stain the reputation of your brand – making it difficult to gain the trust of new customers. To protect your website during its early stages, invest in security services like a web application firewall, SSL encryption, and remote backup tools.
6. Monitor Your Hosting
Although hosting is a major factor that affects site loading speed, security, and uptime, a new website with very little traffic can still perform well with a shared host. Just remember to upgrade your hosting plan once your website starts generating heavy traffic. It’s also important to monitor if your hosting company can live up to their promises. For this, you can use a free site uptime monitoring tool to check whether or not you need to upgrade your hosting solution.
Even if you work with a veteran development team, a successful website isn’t built overnight. To establish a solid online presence, you need to constantly identify flaws and seek improvements. Good luck.