“My Website is Almost Complete, Now What?” by Shawn

So, here you are. You can see the finish line; your website is almost complete. You might find yourself wondering “what’s next?”

Well, that’s a great question most people don’t ask. Many assume that once a website is complete, they can set it and forget it. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. We have a saying around here that “your website is never finished.” Now, I know what you’re thinking, “I’ve just spent all this time and energy writing content, approving comps and meeting about the website so what could possibly be left?” In short, many things, including SEO, user experience improvements, maintenance and more.

SEO is something every website needs if you plan on being found in search engines. How intensive you need to work on it with your new website depends on a few things: Was there an existing site or is this your organization’s first website? What’s your budget? If you had an existing website, it’s detrimental that you ensure that the existing SEO is brought over to the new site. This includes retaining all existing content, link structure, implementing 301 redirects where needed, etc.

If this is a brand new website, make sure you’re following all of Google’s best practices. In both cases, don’t stop working on your SEO ever! Constantly add new content, whether it be by blogging or adding to existing pages, and re-evaluate your titles, tags, and descriptions.

User experience is something that needs to be refined, with any new (or old) website. You can have the most beautiful design, but that doesn’t mean your visitors are finding what they need to. Set up A/B tests, run heat and scroll maps, monitor Google analytics and Search Console; do anything and everything you can think of to make sure your visitors are getting to where they need to be to take action – whether that be filling out a contact form, making a purchase, or picking up the phone to call you.

Maintenance is probably the most overlooked part of any website, and is one of the most important parts! With most websites being built in content management systems and using plugins to achieve desired functionality these days, it’s so easy for a hacker to slip right in. Let’s say your website is built in WordPress with a few plugins, maybe a contact form and a photo gallery. Just because an update for WordPress is released, that doesn’t mean the plugins will have updates as well. In some cases, it can take weeks following the release of a WordPress update for a developer to release an update for their plugin.

That means, if you update your WordPress while your plugins may not be compatible, your site could crash. And, if you don’t make sure your version of WordPress is up to date, you could be exposing yourself to hackers. Maintenance is just one of things every website these days needs, and having a competent webmaster is a must after launching your new site.

We consider these the 3 most important things to shift your focus towards once your website is launched. Just remember: no matter what, your website is never finished.

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