If you build it, will they come?
A brand-new website takes a lot of work. It would be a shame if nobody ever saw it.
Hundreds of hours of design, copywriting, and web development goes into a new website, so the moment you press “launch” might already feel like an achievement in itself. Congratulations! Your website just joined the estimated 200 million other active websites on the web.
But this is the internet—not the field of dreams. Just because you built it, doesn’t necessarily mean your audience will come. No matter what you want to accomplish with a new website, chances are you need site visitors first, which makes building a new website mostly pointless unless you have a plan to promote it.
So how are you going to make sure that all of the work that you put into your website doesn’t go unnoticed? Here are some tactics that will spread the word about your new site and help increase site traffic.
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of shaping the content and design of your site to improve its rank in organic search engine results. Higher rank with search engines means that more users will arrive to your website when searching for relevant terms, making SEO one of the most important tactics for increasing traffic to a new site.
While improving your SEO doesn’t cost any money, getting the most out of SEO takes a lot of time, effort, and knowledge about the ins and outs of search engines. Happy Medium even keeps an SEO specialist on staff whose job is dedicated to making sure any website we produce is fully optimized for search engines.
There are a bunch of different factors that go into good SEO, like including certain keywords and phrases throughout your site and optimizing your page headings to make them easily found by search engines. Google has also started taking website accessibility into account when ranking search results.
Building a new website means that you are also revising the content and layout of your old site, which means most of your SEO heavy lifting will occur before you launch. However, improving your website’s search rank can be an ongoing process. If you need some help getting your website to appear higher on Google, we can help.
While basking in the glow of your new website launch, one of your first impulses might be to take to social media and fire off a “Check out our new website!” post.
All set, right?
Simply telling someone that you have a new website might cause site traffic to rise, but the growth in traffic will likely be superficial and short-lived. Users might click the link in the post, visit your homepage, nod politely in approval, and log off right away. This is not the kind of site traffic you want to attract.
The problem with this approach is that it’s not user-centric. When you decided to build a new website, it was probably because something was functionally wrong with the old one. Maybe it was difficult to navigate, disorganized, or inaccessible to users with disabilities. Regardless of what you set out to fix, social media promotion of your site should focus on the improvements that the user will experience.
Imagine a bakery that replaced an outdated website with a new one that allows users to scroll through tantalizing pictures of sweets and submit orders for custom cakes. A user-centric post would look something like this: “You asked, we listened! Cathy’s Cakes now accepts online orders. Take a look at all of our cake designs and much more on our brand-new website!”
Your social media audience already has a baseline relationship with your brand, which means you shouldn’t have to try too hard to invite them to your website. The important part is getting your audience to stay by letting them know how your new website benefits them.
When you bring up email marketing these days people might react like you just suggested sending a message via carrier pigeon. Spam emails account for over half of all emails sent, so it’s easy to understand why a forward-thinking marketer might think email is not the right place to promote a shiny new website.
But email provides one major advantage that you can’t achieve with social media. With an email campaign, you can segment your audience and into well-defined groups and alter your message to each specific audience segment. l
The success of your email marketing is dependent on the size of your contact list and how accurately you can segment your contacts into different types of customers. The same bakery from before might choose to send an email about children’s birthday cakes to women 30–50 years old while sending content about wedding cakes to a younger audience.
Remember to always keep user’s benefits in mind when promoting your site via email and always link to your website in your email call to action. It’s also helpful to encourage any new site users to sign up for your mailing list so you can reach out to them again.
Digital Media and Search Engine Marketing
SEO, social media, and email marketing are all free or inexpensive ways to drive traffic to a new website. But if you don’t have the patience to wait for new users to trickle onto your home page, then paid digital media and search engine marketing (SEM) is the way to go.
With paid ads, you can cut right to the chase and reach your target audience wherever you want, without relying on your website’s search engine ranking for visibility. When a user searches “best cakes near me,” you can pay to have your website be featured as the top result on Google, which will certainly help you attract new site visitors.
There are several other ways you can pay to put your website in front of different audiences, including display ads and video ads, both of which we’re experts in. The most effective digital ads are ones that meet your target audience in a place where your brand and website are a natural fit. Our baker wouldn’t have much success placing an ad on a motocross website, but would probably see good results from an ad on a mom blog.
Digital Ads and SEM also allow you to A-B test different messages to see which resonate the best with a given audience. This gives you more information you can use to optimize your marketing strategy on other platforms.
The good news is that launching a new website is a gigantic step towards a cohesive and effective online presence for a brand. The bad news is that launching a new website is only half the battle. At Happy Medium, we’re not only experts at promoting new websites, we’re also experts at building them! So if you have an old website that needs a face-lift or a new website that needs some traffic, we’re happy to help.