Every startup needs to make sure that their website is ready for prime time.
The problem is, a lot of startups don't know what that means. Besides some vague idea about "SEO" and making sure it's bug-free, too many startup sites launch without the most necessary components for success.
Before you flip the switch on your startup's site, here's what you need to do:
1. Build offsite brand promotion.
One of today's most forceful forms of SEO is the power of the brand. Through co-citation and occurrence, a startup that builds brand identity will also build website authority before they even launch. The more interviews, press releases, news pieces, and mentions you get, the better.
The branding buzz happens by default. As momentum builds and anticipation rises, your brand will become searched for. This begins to sketch signals in the algorithm that will enhance your site once it launches.
2. Open all social media channels.
Today's startups gain their traction and influence on social media. Your audience will expect you to be present on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. Make sure you create and optimize all your social channels well in advance of website launch.
There's nothing worse than announcing a website, but lacking a way to interact socially with your new fan base. A new website is like a first impression. But if you can't carry on the conversation in the place where your audience gathers, you've lost the ability to sustain that impression.
3. Pre-write blog posts.
Content marketing will be the means by which you dominate organic traffic in your niche. Right out the gate, you should start publishing content at a steady velocity.
One article per day is a great starting rate. Content output will garner the attention of the search engines and maintain an engaged readership.
Once your website is live, things start hopping. As if you weren't busy enough, the launch of the site makes things even more intense. It's important to have a library of content written beforehand. Hire a writer if you need to, but make sure that your have the content written, edited, and ready to publish. Better yet, schedule the articles to publish automatically so you don't have to do a thing.
4. Set up analytics tracking.
Make sure you've got your codes and tracking URLs in place.
The most important data for your startup is going to be data from your website. This data will be tracking your flurry of visitors, conversions, user demographics, dwell time, bounce rate, traffic source, and all the other essentials that make a startup tick.
If you lack this information on starting day, you're going to be way behind. You need all the information you can get as early on as possible. Every startup needs a yardstick for success, and the website data is as close as it gets.
Every metric is critical, and the early metrics are the most important. They inform what you should do next, and how to do it best.
Select your analytics, set them up, then launch.
5. Capture email addresses.
If you've successfully built buzz about your product or service, you'll have a lot of curiosity-seekers on day one. This user set is made up of early adopters. Chances are, you'll have some loyalists in here--people who love your brand, love your service, and are devoted to your success.
How do you capitalize on these eager fans? You get their email addresses. One of the biggest mistakes that new websites make is not capturing information from their fans and potential customers. Maybe it's the fear of being too salesy. Maybe it's just lack of preparation. Whatever the case, this hesitancy is hurting the startup.
There's nothing wrong with asking your visitors for their information. They expect it, and they will provide it.
I want startups to be successful. The only way that a startup can wield success is by launching with a bang. It's all in the website.