A post-launch strategy – the essential components
Over the last 18 years we have worked with hundreds of companies helping them develop and launch websites to promote and market themselves. One of the key lessons I have learned over the years is the value in creating a post-launch strategy to ensure that the greatest value is returned to the business.
The companies that continually invest in the their site get the best return and most value.
I like to think of a new website as a bit like a new beautiful garden. A new garden looks neat and tidy however, it hasn’t reached its full potential and it hasn’t been trampled all over yet. It hasn’t been lived with by the new owners and it hasn’t progressed through all the seasons and the challenges they present.
Your new website is the same! The real work starts now that it has launched, but the good news is that unlike the design and build phase, during this phase the value starts to be returned to the you and the business. Changes are quick and results can be measured.
What pillars should a good post-launch strategy be based around?
The following categories of activity are essential in realising the full potential of your site post-launch and should be the pillars you build any post-launch strategy around.
This category is all about integrating tools into the site to give you the insight you need to make informed decisions. It is the foundation of the entire strategy. If these tools are not in-place, configured correctly and aligned with your business goals then your site is going to suffer a long and drawn out death.
- Setup your Google Analytic Goals, review them weekly analysing bounce rates, acquisition sources, top performing content and user journeys.
- Add HotJar to record user interactions and behaviour. Are people ‘going below the fold’, what are people clicking on? Or ‘nearly clicking on’?
- Use SEM Rush’s ranking tools to measure your position and track it over time.
- User Google Optimise to create A/B tests on key landing pages and link it to Google Analytics Goals.
Small changes can make a big difference to user behaviour and engagement. By regularly (weekly) reviewing the data provided by Google Analytics, HotJar and Google Optimise you can make a hypothesis, test it and see the results.
- Listen to users feedback by analysing their behaviour and make A/B tests.
- Learn from the successes and apply them to other areas of the site.
- Bake in the positive results of A/B tests so you can increase the successes.
- Journal everything so you have a record of your hypothesis and what is working and what is not. No point going round in circles!
There are many ways to market your site, ranging from inbound strategies to search advertising to display advertising. The list goes on. The most important thing is that your approach is measured, targeted and returns value. If it does then it is easy to justify the spend.
- Search advertising (like Google AdWords) is a great way to get on page 1 of Google while you invest in your inbound and organic search strategy. It is quick and you only pay for clicks.
- Display advertising is an excellent way to market your in-bound content. Adverts can be optimised for all screens and disseminated out to where your users are operating.
- Inbound is essential to building a community and improving organic search.
By continuously developing and enhancing the site you ensure your users are not waiting long for new features and potential value is returned to you business quickly. You don’t want to be in the position of throwing the site away in 2 years and going through a 9 month exercise of re building it. It is much better to continuously develop and release regularly.
- Create an editorial calendar to produce and release new content.
- Create a roadmap for new features.
- Continuously improve and enhance the site with new functionality and integrations.
The least glamorous and exciting part of a post launch strategy is maintenance. Variables are constantly changing and you need to be sure you are taking care of the basics.
- Ensure the site is updated regularly, keeping a log of the dates it is updated and any issues that come up (automate this if possible).
- Ensure that backups are being taken and that the restore process is valid and working.
- Create a calendar for various health check tasks (it is too easy to put them off).
- Regularly test for broken links, web standards, accessibility, page speed and SEO optimisation.
Lots of effort have gone into rebuilding your site and launching it. The goal is that it pays for itself quickly by returning value to your business within the desired timeframe. Keep investing and make sure you get the most out of your site so you don’t find yourself bulldozing it over and starting again. Remember the pillars M.E.M.E.M.