Your website launch isn't the end of the journey, it's just the start. Here are the 14 things you can't forget to do after launching a new WordPress site.
Your Post-Launch Strategy
Most of us get super excited when it looks like we're close to launching a new WordPress site. After all, weeks or months of work has gone into it and when you see the finish line, it's an exciting moment.
But for non-developers, the launch is really when the work really starts. There's so much to do that it's easy to get overwhelmed. So what I wanted to do today is get you my list of the most important things I think you need to take care of, after launching that site.
It's my 14-point plan, and I hope it helps you.
1. Let your whole team know
Years ago we were working on an online SaaS for corporations where they could let their employees purchase mobile phones. It was an awesome product and we were really pleased with the work we'd done. So pleased that we worked all night and into the next day before one of our launches and then when it was live, we went to bed.
The one thing I forgot to do was let my partners on our exec team know that it was live. So they were a bit surprised as the orders started coming in because they thought we'd be launching later the next morning.
It sounds silly but pushing code up to the server isn't a launch. It's the technical work needed for a launch. But a whole team needs to coordinate their efforts and so step number one is all about communication. Let people know.
You likely have key staff who have established a presence on various social networks. Get them involved. Use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and all the others I don't know about because I'm over 40.
Find the people who have followings and get them to share the news so that you can drive traffic from those networks back to your site.
3. Email your customers and friends
It can sound silly to a technologist that you'd email friends and customers to tell them you have a new site. But to a small or medium business, this is newsworthy of a press release. After all, there was a healthy budget to build the site. That's an investment. And when you make an investment, it makes sense to share the news (especially when it's good news).
I've even seen clients issue actual press releases just to let the world know that their new site is launched. This often comes in tandem with other business announcements like new services or special promotions.
So plan your external communication early and time it to go out after launching the new site.
4. Analyze your traffic
Another major mistake I made years ago (though not as far back as I wish), was that I launched the new site at a new hosting provider, using new technology. So in that big move, I forgot one little thing. That little bit of code that Google gives you for analytics.
And once you have chosen and configured one, then it's time to start looking at the data.
- Where is the traffic coming from?
- How long is the traffic staying?
- Where are they going when they leave?
- Are particular pages causing people to leave?
- Are people searching for particular phrases?
5. Create new content
You knew I was going to tell you that you need to blog more. And more regularly. Right? Well, it shouldn't surprise you that I'd put it on my 14-point plan.
It's so important I created a four-week free email course on it, which you can sign up for. For free.
6. Create a content editorial calendar
It's not enough to just write more. Like I mentioned in my course, creating a pattern and system for writing (and sharing) more posts is critical. That's why I recommend you check out CoSchedule—because it helps you (and a team) manage when you will publish and when you will leverage social, for all those new posts.
You'll love the calendaring. And the free plugin for WordPress, which connects to their paid SaaS, is such a great integration that it makes everything really easy.
7. Tag key actions and events
The reality about a new site is that there's often new pages and new events you have to track. You know people are going to eventually ask you about the site and how it's doing. They're going to ask about metrics and conversions. And that means you need to make sure that all your new content, and all the new paths that exist on your new site are all being tracked by your analytics program.
So make sure that you go back into Google Analytics (or Heap) and create the key events that you want to track. Because unlike Heap, Google won't collect the important data until after you've told it what events to pay attention to.
In that way, Heap is better because it collects all the data. And then when you create events, it maps the historically collected data and shows you immediate results. It's just one of the things that makes me love Heap more.
8. Create Google alerts
Post-launch, make sure you grab any new keyword phrases that you haven't been tracking and add them back to Google Alerts. This helps me find new mentions of my posts, or new competitors publishing about the stuff I normally write about.
The same will be true for you and your new site.
So make sure you're telling Google what to look out for and it will not only track it, but it will notify you when there's something you should see.
9. Update your plugins
Now that your site is launched, you may think you have nothing to do technology-wise. But you're wrong. As time moves on, some of your key plugins will have updates available to them. You need to test those updates, preferably on a staging environment, and push the updates live to your production server after testing.
Of course, if you host with Liquid Web, we take care of all your plugin updates – by literally doing what you do. We create a duplicate of the site, update a plugin, and compare before and after photos to make sure everything looks the same.
It's part of our incredible Managed WordPress hosting offer.
10. Add more than one email signup
It's likely your new site offers you a ton of new places to add email subscription forms. But you may not have been thinking about that pre-launch. After all, it means creating not only the forms and stuff (the technical work), but it also means creating the resources that you offer in return for signing up.
This is why it's a great post-launch item on your to-do list. Create the valuable assets that you need, and place key intake forms in all the right spots, so that you can collect new emails (as you offer something of value to these prospective customers).
11. Add testimonials
Just the other day I wrote about the effective use of testimonials to help mitigate fear, uncertainty and doubt. So again, it's not a surprise that it's part of the way I manage my own customers and how I recommend they manage theirs.
People can easily get overwhelmed or stressed. On the other hand, testimonials can make people feel more comfortable, relax and even laugh.
12. Plan your long-term SEO strategy
Your new site shouldn't impact your site's SEO keywords (for the worse). But it may be possible to leverage it for the better.
We've seen tons of customers change their site structure in a way that ends up with Google understanding the new site more effectively.
When it comes to long-term strategy for your new site and it's SEO, I always recommend people talk with my friend Rebecca. She runs Web Savvy Marketing.
13. Remove outdated content
I can't tell you how much content I have removed from client sites over the years. Mostly because it isn't in line with their own objectives. They just forgot it was there. But it messes with people. Because it confuses them. It creates cognitive friction.
So what do you have to do to make it easy for people to visit, remember and engage in a deeper way on your site? It's simple, remove any outdated content that isn't “on topic.”
14. Promote your site
Did you think I would get all the way to the end of this post and not mention, even in a little way, something about Facebook ads or promoted tweets?
There are tons of courses out there, but I find that customers who want help with Facebook ads don't really want to learn the systems themselves. They just want someone to take care of it for them.
My friend Justin runs Think Digital. They do that kind of thing. Sure they can teach you too—and they have an upcoming event. But like I said, sometimes you just want someone to take over and get you the help you need. Justin is that guy.
When you see any list like this, it's easy to get overwhelmed. But the good news is that it's no longer in someone's head. It's a list. You can return to it. And you can check things off as you move down it.
So good luck with that new site launch. And good luck with the stuff you do after launching that new site.