Launching a website was the best step I have taken in my professional life. Now, I have a range of niche websites besides this very blog and all I can say is blogs are the best way to express yourself, earn money online and build authority around your brand.
Now, when I look back, I wonder how profitable I would have been if I knew the right process to launch a website back in those days.
If you’ve been thinking to start a blog, this post is for you because I will lay down the exact process I use (now) to launch my websites successfully.
These steps have ensured that my websites give my business the right exposure, perfect search engine rankings and bring the right passive income by converting visitors into sales!
How To Launch a Website!
This is the only guide you need to read for website launch and it is a long one. So grab your coffee and get started. While the actual verbiage of website launch can have as many steps, I will showcase you all those in 5 easy-to-follow steps to building a successful blog in less than 10 minutes or so.
What you will learn in this article?
- Choosing a name (domain) for your website and where to host it
- Giving your website a design that converts
- Writing website content for your readers (most essential part)
- Setting up SEO & analytics for tracking visitors
- Promotion plans to reach more people
1) Step 1: Choosing your Domain Name and Hosting:
A) Choosing a Domain Name
Your domain name is essentially a name that your website will be known as. This is an essential step just like we name new babies. If you’re blogging for the sake of your hobby, domain names do not matter but if you want to start your website for earning money or to give an online presence to your small business, you have to choose your domain names wisely.
What Should be the criteria to choose a domain name?
A catchy domain name can easily be remembered by your audience, help in branding that can be used to convert visitors into subscribers or even sales (of products or services). Here are some tips to choose your domain name:
1) Make it professional and short:
The first thing online readers see is how professional your domain name is. They can sniff out if you are a real business behind a blog or a scam based on your blog name. A short domain name, on the other hand can easily stay in your readers mind.
Also, try choosing the .com version instead of any other extension.
2) Be creative for branding:
Gone are the days when people loved exact match domain names like www.purses.org or www.teeethwhitening.com. Even Google doesn’t like domain names that are exact matches to a problem/keyword and has thin content around it. Check this tweet from Matt Cutts clarifying the update.
So it’s better to choose something that is brandable and represents your niche/audience or community.
- BloggersPassion.com: It is brandable and shows that the blog is for bloggers.
- SmartPassiveIncome.com : Unique and brandable yet hinting what the readers can expect from the blog.
Domain names that are unique and have nothing to do with the blog niche can also become brand names.
Unique domain names like personal names, fancy words are good for branding but it only happens when you grow your blog. In the initial stage, you will have a hard time getting into the mind of readers. Here are few example of unique domain names that have now become synonymous with branding.
- MarieForleo.com: Personal name turned into a buzzing brand
- ShoutMeloud.com: A random name now identifying India’s most popular blog.
3) Don’t include numbers or hyphens:
Another tip for choosing the perfect domain name is, do not go for numbers or hyphens. Most newbies make the mistakes for replacing words for numbers either to add the “cool effect” or to make up for their desired domain name in case it is not available.
My suggestion to those would be to stay away from these tactics because they are not SEO friendly and are hard to remember. Imagine saying your blog name loud to someone and it actually has a number in it. How on earth is the receiver going to guess that out?
For example: Blogging4mhome in place of bloggingfromhome.com
Similarly, having hyphens can make your URL clumsy and not very attractive.
PRO TIP: Make your domain name as memorable as you can make for your readers. There are tons of websites on the universe that have content similar to you and once they forget it, no one is going to take time to remember it.
Here are some domain name generator tools to help you come up with domain name ideas.
Once you’ve selected your domain name the next step is to choose your website hosting. Yes, you don’t have to buy your domain name now.
B) Choosing Your Hosting:
Your hosting is the place or server where your website content will be stored. The images you upload, the text you write and every other thing is hosted on servers.
When you choose a hosting company, you pay them for the amount of space you require and they host your website on their servers. While the whole process might appear intimidating, it is as easy as click and install.
Here are some basic points to remember when choosing the perfect web hosting for your new website launch:
1) Check for Uptime:
Uptime is the time when your website is live and ready for visitors to access it. Most web hosting companies claim a uptime of 100% but it is never the case. Many cheap hosting sites have a record downtime that can affect your visitor count and even sales.
Imagine a visitor comes to your site via a search engine and finds it unavailable. I am sure he will bounce back to the search page to choose a second site. What a loss of money and impression!
So, it is wiser to choose a hosting that does what it says.
2) Check for reliability:
Your web hosting account is perhaps the most important segment of your online presence. You have to be very sure about choosing something that is reliable not only in terms of uptime, but also in terms of customer service.
Customer service that is quick and accessible round the clock is very essential. You never know when your website might develop an issue or when you need a help from the guys. So having a responsive customer care is really important.
3) Avoid free hosting:
The word free is not always sweet. It is definitely not sweet when it comes to trusting your online business or blog. Most free sites have dirty motives behind their generous free service.
The catch of hosting your website with free hosting is, you never know when they will redirect your site to a site they own or work for. Free sites are notoriously popular for having the worst downtimes and might even insert ads on your website without your permission.
Another important disadvantage of free website you never know who you are sharing your web space with. It can be a gambling site or a porn site or anything that can cause Google to penalize your site on grounds of bad neighborhood.
If you’re a starter and want to host your website on a hosting that is fast, secure and is trusted by millions for good customer service, I’d recommend you to go for BlueHost.
Bluehost costs only $3.45 per month (less than a mug of coffee) and powers almost all of my sites. Another thing worth noting it, Bluehost offers you a 100% free domain name, so you can order the domain name that you selected in the previous phase through Bluehost without additional cost.
After you buy Bluehost, you can use this step by step process to install WordPress for your site.
For those of you wondering what WordPress is, it is a platform that manages your content or content management system (CMS). Don’t confuse WordPress with hosting, Hosting hosts or gives a place of living to your data, WordPress gives a platform to showcase that data (your articles/images) to your visitors.
2) Step 2: Giving your website a design that converts:
Now that you have set up a website, you would want to give your site a definite look and feel. Notice how each site looks and feels different even if they are hosted on the same WordPress? This website design is due to WordPress Themes.
Your website design is what represents your site’s persona, your brand feel and decides how your visitors convert. This is why you must choose a premium WordPress theme.
PRO TIP: If you’re wondering why I am suggesting paid tools to launch your site, I would say these three are the most essential and perhaps the only compulsory investments you need to start your website. WordPress comes with free themes and they are so generic that you would better not use them, leave alone the featureless properties.
My blog is powered by a custom designed theme which can cost you anywhere between $1000 or so. But, you don’t need to shell out so much money. For setting up a new website, you need a simple yet professional themes. You should go for Elegant Themes which costs $69 for 87 uniquely designed themes.
Other Tips to a winning website design:
- Don’t clutter your website with ads, at least not before you have a meaningful number of visitors.
- Leave a lot of white space.
- Elegant Themes above gives you 87 different themes, choose the one that best fits your need.
- Invest in a logo. You can get yourself a decent logo for $5 using Fiverr or hire someone (if you have the budget).
- Use some social sharing buttons to help your readers spread the word about your posts. The best thing about WordPress is, it has a ton of plugins (like tools) that you can install and get the work done. You can choose a premium social sharing plugin like social warfare or get the work done with free plugins like add this.
3) Step 3: Writing website content for your readers:
Now that you have setup your website, it will be blank and will have nothing for your readers. Hence, you need content to showcase your readers. This content can give an idea about what your visitors can expect from your website and initial posts on the topic you are going to write.
Your first blog entries would be divided into two types:
- The basic yet important pages
- The content that sells (posts)
1) The basic yet Important pages:
These are the pages that almost every website must have. You need to write a compelling about us page (see mine here) which will house your purpose of blog, team members, what the visitors can expect etc.
Other pages that you must add are:
2) The content that sells (articles):
This part of the writing process is what is going to continue as far as your blogging continues. These are called blog articles or entries. Writing your first blog entry can be difficult if you have never managed a blog before but it doesn’t need to be complicated.
Here is a step by step process for publishing your first blog entry easily.
Few things to keep in mind while creating a content strategy side by side of your new website launch announcement.:
1) Make sure you have enough articles to satisfy your visitors:
When you get the word about your website out there, you need to have enough articles that your visitors will stick around for a while. Having not less than 5 articles is considered ideal but you can have anything more than that. The more, the better!
Having enough content on the blog before launching will:
- Reduce your bounce rates
- Increase your business impression by showcasing your expertise on the subject
- Give you enough time to focus on next step, that is, promotion.
2) Create a pillar post:
Pillar posts are something that are resourceful guides on the topic. These posts are often the one larger than other posts and should be catered towards problem solving in your niche. Here is a guide to create pillar posts that rank. You should definitely write at least one pillar post prior to your launch so that you can show your authority in your niche.
For example: If you are starting a food blog, you can create a resource on complete guide to food photography or the complete guide to kitchen maintenance.
Now the question arises,
3) How do you create posts that bring traffic to your website?
In the blogging world, website traffic is the other name of money. The more and targeted your traffic is, the more you earn. So, it is very essential to write content that brings traffic and converts.
You cannot do it manually, and there are a lot of tools in the market that can help you do it faster and better. If you want to come up with content ideas for your newly launching website there is no better place than competitor research. And the tool to help you find golden keywords that are easier to rank and bank is SEMrush.
I have been using this tool since quite a long time and it has helped me go from writing random posts to writing posts that get traffic and convert into sales.
How to use SEMrush to find content ideas for your new blog?
The next step would be plug in any of your competitor sites on the search bar of the SEMrush dashboard. Taking our example of food blog above, I typed Pinchofyum.com on the place.
See the screenshot below to see top 5 keywords and if you click view full report, it gives you complete report and even more keywords.
And if you want even more sites, the competitors of Pinchofyum would be your competitors. So, SEMrush even gives you the competitor list of your entered website so that you can target those sites and see for some low hanging fruits (keywords) to target in your newly launching blog. Check out the same pinchofyum.com example.
This is the exact formula I use to create a content plan for all my new sites and guess what, they rank faster and generate sales sooner than those sites which do not have a solid content or keyword strategy. Read the detailed guide to finding keywords for your blog.
Here is your 30 day free trial link again!
4) Setting up SEO and Analytics for your blog:
Now the next and most important step is to optimize your blog for search engines. This is crucial because search engines are what will drive organic traffic to your site. Here are the steps you need to perform to make your site search engine optimized.
1) Install WordPress SEO plugin:
WordPress SEO by Yoast is the most used plugin that will make sure your posts are SEO-optimized, help you in setting up search snippets and also create a sitemap for your website. All this for free.
PRO TIP: Use this guide to setup Yoast SEO on your blog.
2) Add Google analytics code:
Google analytics code is like the soul of your blog. It helps you track your page views, unique visitors at any point of time. Much more than that, it tells you which pages get the most traffic, what keywords bring you traffic and a heck load of data about your visitors like demographics, device used to access your site and interests etc.
Installing Google Analytics on your site is a must-do if you want to blog professionally. Here is the video guide to install Analytics on your site.
3) Submit your site to Google search console:
Google search console is a platform where you can manage your site, the sitelinks that you want to appear, disavow bad backlinks etc. You can submit your sitemap to Google here. Click here to learn more.
Similarly, submit your site to Bing and Yahoo webmaster tools. These aren’t necessary but why leave even a small piece on the table?
4) Create official pages on social media platforms:
This is essential for creating your brand presence and will also give your domain some trust signals. Pinterest asks you to verify your domain ownership which can be done with Yoast easily.
5) Step 5: Website promotion plan to reach more people.
After you have set up your blog, written content on it and set your social profiles, the last step would be to get the website launch announcement wording out there. Initially search engines won’t send you any traffic.
This is the time you have to focus on marketing and networking to make your launch successful.
Here are some ways to get some initial traffic to your new website:
1) Write Guest Posts:
Guest posts are a very good way to get some initial traffic from targeted audience of other blogs. This can be done by building a relationship with other authority blogs in your niche and pitching them your guest posts.
Most blogs don’t allow backlinks to your new blog but you can suffice it by adding a link to your coming soon page or even homepage on your author bio. Guest blogging can bring you tons of initial visitors and subscribers even before you officially launch your website.
Jon Morrow used this same principle to get over 13,000 subscribers even before launching his now authority blog SmartBlogger.com. Similarly, Leo Widrich of Buffer managed to get 100,000 visitors to his 9 month old blog just by guest posting.
If you are a business organization dealing with launch of your company website, the best thing you can do is ask your teammates, colleagues and employees to share your blog to your network. You can even do a press release if you wish.
Otherwise, you can use social media platforms and ask your friends, fellow bloggers to get you the initial exposure. If you have the money, using facebook ads is the best option to reach your target audience on autopilot.
3) Broadcast to your email subscribers:
You can use your email list, if any, to broadcast about your new website launch.
4) Leverage blogging communities:
Blogging communities like Blogengage and social media sharing communities like viralcontentbuzz or justretweet are sure to give you the initial traffic flow and social media shares that will boost your website visibility.
Summing up: How to launch a website in 10 minutes or less!
With this, you come to the bottom of the website launch process. If you were wondering how to launch your dream website, I hope this guide gave you the exact idea. It doesn’t take less than 10 minutes for sure but the time is actually worth it. There is no alternative to have a perfect website launch without following these steps.
You can do it.
This process is nothing difficult. You just have to follow the steps one by one and I am sure you will get a hang of it.
If you have any doubts in your website launch process, kindly comment below and I will assist you in launching your dream website the right way.
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