A Marketer’s Survival Guide to Launching a New Website

website rebuild

Teddy Roosevelt famously said, “Nothing in the world is worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty…” Doubt Old Teddy was referring to redesigning a website when he made that statement, but it certainly applies. We recently launched our new Dialsmith website and while there were no fatalities directly tied to the launch, there were some close calls. For marketers, like myself, redesigning and launching a new website is one of the more complex and potentially hazardous endeavors to take on. Pitfalls lie around every corner—from feature creep to herding a myriad of opinions and priorities—it can be a murky and meandering path. Besides the end result, another outcome from an undertaking like this is the knowledge you gain from it. To help ease your effort, pain and difficulty the next time you venture into the proverbial website unknown, we thought we’d share a few of the top things we learned through this process.

Stay Focused

Creating a website can be a Pandora’s box. As soon as you check a task off your list, you suddenly have five new ones added to the list. For us, our main objective for the site rebuild was to generate new leads. To do so, we knew we needed to up our game with search engine optimization (SEO) and with our ability to feature new content like reports, webinars and blog posts. Any items added to our list that didn’t help us with SEO or feature new content got moved over to a post-launch (or if-time-permits-before-launch) list. This helped us stay focused on meeting the main objectives of the launch without getting bogged down with feature creep.

Dialsmith website recommended reading

While not flashy, callouts like these allow us to put our best and most relevant content out in front of our visitors.


Put Your Best Content Front and Center

We didn’t want our visitors (especially prospective leads) to have to hunt to find our best content. So, we decided to implement callout sections like “Recommended Reading” and “Related Posts” to highlight relevant content and make it easily accessible on all our pages. We also didn’t hesitate to highlight our best stuff on multiple pages as visitors don’t necessarily navigate in a linear fashion; they might miss your best content if they only visit Page B and not Page A.

Don’t Give Away the Good Stuff

If, like us, your goal is to generate new leads, then you need to put your best resources and content to good use to get contact information and permission to send marketing emails. If a visitor is interested enough in what you have to offer to give you some basic info about them, then they are already qualifying themselves as a potential lead. We also needed to make sure we were set up to respond to form submission in a timely way and continue to offer them value in our follow-up communications. With our premier content we used a very basic form asking only for enough contact details (email, name) to get the conversation started.

Dialsmith website social share buttons

Social share buttons at the top and bottom of every blog post encourage readers to share our content with their social communities.

Take the Time to Connect the Dots with SEO and Social

Our research pointed to the fact that many of our new leads came to us via organic web searches, so SEO was definitely a priority. There are a lot of great tools and plug-ins out there to help support your SEO efforts, but even with the right tools, it just takes time. It takes time to research and identify your target list of search terms. It takes time to integrate those terms into your page content. And it takes time to populate all your page and image tags. You get the picture. We were also committed to making our content easily shareable over social networks. We did this by adding “Share” buttons to our blog posts and other site content, and we launched the site with an accompanying social publishing strategy for pushing out both new and old (“evergreen”) content on a regular basis.

Stay True to Your Brand

We know that in most cases our website is making our company’s first impression (no pressure though, right?). So, while site structure, SEO, navigation and usability were all important, so too was brand consistency—both in style and in tone. We completed an updated brand guideline document in the early stages of our new site development, so when it came time to work on the look and feel of the pages, we had a playbook to work from. We also wanted to make sure our site reflected the personality of our company and our team, so we added some subtle elements (like Melvin—our new Robot-in-Chief) to let visitors know we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

Well, now that the new site is live and out in the world, the real work starts. I like to say, “The launch of the new site wasn’t the end but just the end of the beginning.” Enough talking about what we did. Time to move on to that post-launch item list!