When I launched my first travel blog back in 2004, I did so to the tune of precisely zero readers. After three months of blogging hard, I’d amassed an impressive number of around… 10 readers (and pretty much all of them were friends and family).
Nowadays, things are vastly improved — our most recent site launch attracted several hundred subscribers within the first week, and we no longer have an audience made up of just our loyal friends and family.
If you’ve built or are building a new website right now, you already know just how much blood, sweat and tears go into it. But this is just the beginning. Once the site is out there, the hard work really begins. There are a few things you can do before you launch your website — before you even start building it — that can help ensure a smooth and successful launch when it’s ready.
Here are my top 5 tips to ensure your website launches to more than the sound of deafening silence:
- Skill up. Even if you’ve got a team developing your website for you, upskilling yourself with the basic technical skills needed to manage your site will enable you to quickly troubleshoot or tweak it, if called for at the last minute (and there will always be something). Being at the mercy of a web developer who’s asleep halfway around the world when you launch and realize there’s a typo on the home page is definitely something you want to avoid.
- Actively participate in an existing community. Long before your website is but a twinkle in your eye, become an active part of a community within your field of interest and expertise. Fellow members can become some of your most passionate, supportive, ready-made cheerleaders who will help spread the word when you launch your new site.
- Build out your technical support team. Even if you’re bootstrapping and doing a lot yourself, having access to outside support — mentors, tech coaches, tutorial libraries and more — can be a priceless asset before you launch. And once you do launch, having somewhere or someone to turn to if everything crashes down around your ears will save your sanity.
- Create your own business ecosystem. Just as good, if not better, than joining one existing community is to create your own ecosystem. In effect, this is the sum of all the communities you and your business are part of — online and off — and the more well-rounded and relevant they are, the more impact they’ll have on the success of your launch.
- Do something worth talking about. To stand out from the thousands of other sites being launched at the same time as yours, do something bold, daring and worth talking about. That was the premise behind our recent event, ONE K in 1 DAY, to help 1,000 women launch a WordPress website on the same day — it’s a simple idea that captured peoples’ interest. It doesn’t have to be complex, but do make it impactful, beneficial and, as Seth Godin would say, remarkable.
Lea Woodward is an online business adviser and strategist. She founded Location Independent and Startup Training School and works with entrepreneurs and business owners who are comfortable doing business offline but don’t know how to translate this to success online.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.