Before your website launch, you’ll want to have professional content that will do well in search engine results.
Here we’ve covered some essential steps in Content and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to consider for your website launch. These steps will help your launch go as smoothly and successfully as possible!
Some of these website launch steps do crossover — SEO will inevitably inform your content choices, and vice versa. It’s all about fine-tuning your content and SEO practices at this early stage in your website’s journey, to make the most of your online presence from the word go.
These SEO tips relate to organic search results, rather than paid advertising. For more about Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing check out our introductory article.
You want your content to resonate with readers, defining you as an authoritative, engaging source with both substance and style. Getting this right across your website can be difficult, but we’ve got a few pointers to share on getting organised with content creation.
Step 1: Be Consistent To Your Brand
Make sure your whole website is beneficial to building your brand. You want your website to have a fluid, consistent feel that is clearly linked to you — no matter whether a user is on your homepage or deep within an article.
Find Your Writing Style
Your style of writing goes hand-in-hand with your brand image, so it’s important to consider.
There can be room for more than one kind of style; for example, you wouldn’t expect your Terms & Conditions page to read the same as your blog posts or FAQs — or your social media accounts, for that matter. On the whole, however, consistency is key to effectively putting across your brand identity.
Tip: it may be helpful to write up style tips on writing style as part of a company style guide.
Find Your Visual Style
How you visually frame your written content will also have an impact on brand identity. From a design perspective, here are a few things you need to get right before your website launch:
- Logo: Your logo should appear prominently, in the same place, on all pages. In terms of navigation, users generally expect a logo to link to the site homepage.
- Colour Scheme: The easiest way to keep colour scheme on-brand is to match it to your logo. It also needs to be visually appealing and allow all users to see and interact with content easily. Consider colours for your page backgrounds, navigation bars, types of text (e.g. paragraph text, headers), hyperlinks, and images.
- Fonts: You want your fonts to be clean and readable, but font choice can also say something about your brand. Using contrasting fonts increases readability, but limit it to 2 or 3 maximum! For more on choosing the right font, check out this great guide from DesignSchool.
Step 2: Make A Content Schedule
If you plan to post and update content regularly on your site, it’s good to knock up a schedule. This will add foresight to your content plan, and is a great way to start generating new ideas too.
For dynamic content scheduling, we love to use Trello boards. Here are a few quick tips based on how we use Trello for Supersede blogs.
- Put planned content in the farthest left-hand column.
- Move an individual ‘Card’ across to the right depending on its stage of completion.
- Colour code each week of the month if this helps, to make it easy to visualise the publishing process.
- For a blog content plan, when the month is complete, relabel the Planned Content column for a new month and add a new Published column next to Drafts.
Trello boards can also be shared amongst teams of people, making it easy to work on producing content collaboratively. For more helpful pointers, head on over to the Trello Tips & Tricks Board.
On the other hand, it’s also good to have a more ‘static’ content plan — a statement of intent, if you will. You can create a spreadsheet content plan on Google Sheets (another tool which makes it easy to work collaboratively). This can be used to plan what types of content you want to post and when; for instance, when to post News, Features or Guides.
Step 3: Proofread Your Copy
Boring but so important! Having content that is clear to read and mistake-free is essential for any professional website. Grammar and spelling mistakes detract from your authority, and overly difficult text can cause readers to switch off — and click off.
Luckily, there’s a host of great websites and apps out there to make proofreading much easier…
- To get an idea of how many spelling mistakes you may have to deal with before your website launch, see this free spellchecker from Internet Marketing Ninjas. Some of the ‘mistakes’ it picks up on are specialist terms or non-American spellings, but it can be useful for picking up the occasional misspellings we all make.
- For better grammar and structure on WordPress blogs and sites, the excellent Yoast SEO plugin can help you achieve better readability.
- Grammarly is another great (and free) proofreading app, which will flag up spelling/grammar mistakes and even suggest better phrasing, no matter where you’re writing.
In this grand digital age, it’s not enough to write great content for your website launch. You’ve got to learn how to make it thoroughly clickable and authoritative, against all the other links out there competing for space and attention.
One key way to do this before your website launch is through Search Engine Optimisation. SEO describes the actions and processes website owners can undertake to make their pages and content easier to find online. Ranking highly in search engine result pages (SERPs) means users are more likely to see and click through to your site. SEO helps you achieve good rankings.
Good SEO practices will help you thrive from the moment of your website launch. Here are a few essential tips on how to manipulate various parts of your website for better SEO.
Step 4: Write Page Titles
A page title (also referred to as ‘meta title’ and ‘title tag’) introduces search engines and users alike to your web pages. Appearing in the first line of each search result, the page title is your ultimate opportunity to concisely describe your content.
- Keep them to between 50-60 characters. According to Moz, titles under 55 characters will show on 95% of search results. Titles longer than 60 characters may get clipped.
- Include your most important keyword, which will be highlighted if it matches/partly matches a user query.
- To give a sense of site structure, you can list a page’s parent category after the specific page description. For example: ‘Lenovo Yoga 500 Laptop Deals | Lenovo Laptops’.
- Add your website/company name at the end of the title to build up brand recognition. For example, ‘Fanaments Review | Site Reviews | DailyFantasyUK’.
Step 5: Write Meta Descriptions
The meta description, which appears below the page title and URL on search results, gives you more space to advertise a page. Think of it as your chance to tell users why to click through to your page!
- Keep them within 150-160 characters. Search engines may clip longer descriptions.
- Include relevant keywords, to give users a clear heads-up on what content to expect.
- Each description should be original and unique because duplicate content can poorly affect your rankings.
- Search engines will automatically generate descriptions from a page’s content. However, it’s generally better to create tailor-made descriptions to have more control over what users see on SERPs.
Step 6: Utilise Images
Images can contribute to your site’s searchability too! This is because there are opportunities to utilise the text associated with an image. There are two main ways to do this:
- Image File Name: make sure your file name describes the actual image, in lower case with dashes separating each word. For example, the above image is named ‘herd-of-elephants’.
- Image Alt Text: this is particularly important for when images are not showing because alt text works as a replacement. Again, make alt text descriptive of the image itself — bonus points if it contains relevant keywords.
In addition to this, make sure your image choices work well for your site. You may want to introduce a standardised image size to keep all images looking consistent across your website. Compressing images can also be a great way to keep your page loading speeds fast.
Step 7: Create Structured Data
Structured Data is an HTML tool which allows you to label various elements of a web page. Using structured data labels allows search engines to easily categorise lots of content, in what are called ‘structured data schemas’. These schemas can identify everything from articles and reviews to videos and author pages.
Search engine crawlers can use structured data to improve how your information is presented on SERPs. This means the information displayed can be more accurate and informative, making for a better user experience.
- Want to find out more about what structured data entails? Read this excellent Google Developer introduction.
- There are also various tools designed to help you create structured data. One of the easiest to use is the Google Structured Data Markup Helper tool. This tool enables you to add a variety of labels to your content.
- Another great resource for structured data schemas can be found on Schema.org, a collaborative website dedicated to creating and maintaining schemas.
- For WordPress, the structured data plugin we recommend is called All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets.
For more information on why structured data matters for your website launch, in terms of content and SEO, here is a great article from Adhere Creative.
Step 8: Check for 404 Page Errors
404s are broken web pages that you don’t really want users or search engine crawlers to encounter on your site. However, they don’t have to signify the end of a user’s journey. Here are a couple of things you can do to address pesky 404s before your website launch:
- You can create custom 404 pages which helpfully redirect users back to your website.
- Use Screaming Frog’s free SEO Spider Tool to crawl up to 500 pages for broken links and other issues.
Step 9: Add Links
Another essential website launch step is making sure you’re nicely linked to other sites! The Internet is interactive, so make sure you’re striking up interesting conversations with the websites around you. Plus links make it more likely for users to explore your website when they’ve found you through search results.
- Use internal links on each page to make your website easier to navigate. This includes relevant text links on your pages, as well as related/category links provided in drop-down menus and sidebars.
- Don’t shy away from also providing external links to useful and relevant pages (linking to authoritative sources can help your rankings).
- The generally accepted netiquette is that internal links open in the same tab, and external links open a new one.
There you have it — 9 essential steps for Content Creation and SEO before your website launch. Fantastic content and finely tuned SEO practices are bound to help your new site upon launch and beyond.
If you have any follow-up questions about your website launch, you can always get in touch with us.