Seven steps to launching a successful website

Launching a website that stands out from the crowd is really quite simple. It needs a sensible understanding of your own business – and then following these seven steps below to make the right decisions.

Website Planning.

You need to plan a website that will meet the needs of your business, as well as the needs of your customers.

You should:

  • utilise your business and marketing plans, particularly when budgeting
  • set a firm budget and allow for contingencies. Allow a minimum of $5,000 for a well built, custom designed, basic website. More functionality will take longer and cost more to build.
  • prepare to hire a web designer: we ask you to provide a briefing document to help us to understand your needs.
  • choose a great top-level domain name and try to get the .com and .com.au.

Research website hosting and platforms.

Do a little research, ask around, check online forums such as Whirlpool and ask your webs developer to demonstrate examples of good hosting providers and web platforms. Find a high quality website hosting provider.

Make sure you:

  • choose a good hosting plan – fast servers will make a big difference in website usability and conversions.
  • avoid hosting with your website designer in case the relationship sours – we have a no lock-in policy at Jimmyweb!

Read More:
Our secret tip for choosing a good website host.

The next step is to find and choose a high quality website platform or Content Management System (CMS). Make sure you test the platform’s features. We recommend WordPress for it’s well rounded functionality, and it’s easy of use. For online shops we recommend Shopify – again very easy to use with a long list of great functions.

Consider the website’s design and usability.

Your website’s design is important for a couple of reasons. A good design builds trust in your business. A usable design ensures people can find the content or information they’re looking for.

Consider how your website can be used to streamline your sales process. Think about how your  website can capture new leads from potential customers.

You should:

  • have navigation that’s usable and consistently placed on every page, consider having a sticky navigation (that always stays on the page).
  • avoid Flash and gimmicks that take your customer’s attention away from important content.
  • create a sitemap (a representation of your website’s architecture).

Content planning.

Writing for the web is very different. You need to map out what content will be needed and what your audience will be looking for in the future. Read our tips for writing copy for your new website. Also plan for images – big beautiful images can really impress your visitors.

Optimise your website (SEO).

Make sure your website is standards-compliant and:

  • works in most modern browsers e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome.
  • is responsive – it’s easy-to-read on mobile phones and tablets.
  • is fast to load.
  • the content, pages titles, headings and image ‘alt’ tags are optimised – read our post on the basics of search engine optimisation for more information.

Use online marketing to engage customers.

A newsletter or email list is often the best way to get people engaged with your web content regularly. Your website should be part of your marketing plan which means considering promoting via:

  • the use of online channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
  • the use of offline channels such as groups you belong to or press releases.

Make sure you set up website analytics (Google Analytics is free) so you can test and measure your website marketing efforts.

Use advertising (Facebook and Google Adwords) to drive traffic to your website and build your email subscriber list.

Stay Secure.

Regularly update and protect your website and it’s underlying framework (eg. update WordPress), otherwise you are leaving yourself open to hackers. Some preventative steps include:

  • using high-level usernames and passwords (not ‘admin’ and ‘password123’).
  • keep your platform software and any plugins/modules up to date.
  • consider an external security monitoring software above and beyond your website hosting providers.