11 Things To Do Before Launching Your New Website

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So, you’re launching a brand new website. Congratulations! …are you ready for all the work it takes?

I don’t mean to scare you, but launching a brand new website is a lot more complicated than simply inputting the copy into your design and clicking ‘publish.’ There are a lot of other things to consider, like where your website will live, and who’s going to be reading it, and what it should say, and who’s going to help you write it, and how you want it to look, and who’s going to help you design it, and the best time for your new website to go live, and which offerings you want to be present when it does, and… you get the picture. There’s more to it than meets the eye—and you’ll need to budget a significant amount of time to getting it all done.

In an effort to make your new website launch a little bit easier, I’ve created a website launch checklist for you, so you can skip the ‘omg what do I even need to do now?’ part and get straight to the work to make it happen.

1) Decision about a platform and a secured domain name

Where are you going to be hosting your site? This can be a tough one. So many great options! You’ll need to decide what’s most important to you, and then select the hosting platform that best fits your goals.

Think about…

  • How custom you want your site to be

  • How user-friendly you want the back-end to be

  • Whether or not you want everything (shop capabilities, email marketing, scheduling, SEO input, etc) in one place, or if you’re fine with plug-ins

(I recommend either Squarespace or Showit, depending on your needs.)

Next, is your desired domain name available? Check Google domains to make sure before you get started with the rest of your new site to-do list!

Investment: $10-$25 for the domain / roughly $200 per year for the hosting platform

2) Clarity about your goals, positioning, target audience, and messaging

 You can’t move on to any of the next steps on this checklist if you don’t first have the clarity you need to effectively market your business and drive traffic to your new website. Simply put: if you don’t know what your people want, you can’t tell ‘em about it.

 Or, maybe you DO know what your people want, but you don’t know where you fit in as the solution. That won’t work, either. ORRRR maybe you DO know what they want, and HOW you’re going to help them, but you don’t know what to SAY to get through to them.

 All of the above, my friend, is why you need clarity about who you’re marketing to, why they need you, how you can help, and what they’ll resonate with. (I repeat: goals, positioning, target audience, messaging.) And chances are, you may need (or want!) a bit of assistance in figuring all of that out. Preferably from someone like, I don’t know, say, a… website copywriter?

3) Website copywriting

 Assistance from a website copywriter is every successful, high-converting website’s secret. Writing about yourself is not an easy task—then add the pressure of the words you draft needing to explain that you’re an expert in your field, make you stand out from your competition, hook your ideal clients to read about your services, convince them to contact you, and do all that without sounding salesy or sleazy or cheesy…yeah, enlisting some professional help is a must.

Now, I’m clearly a bit biased considering I am a website copywriter, however I cross-my-heart promise you that’s not the reason I’m recommending that you outsource your website copy. Professional copywriters know exactly how to write websites that resonate with your target audience, clearly identify their pain points, then promptly solve them, painting you as the helpful, smart, omg-must-hire-rn expert that you are.

When business owners result to writing their own website copy, they often miss a lot of things that copywriters wouldn’t, because they’re more focused on telling the client about their business, as opposed to helping the client see themselves in the copy.

(And they often skip the whole ideal client development, market + competitive research, drafting, editing, and proofreading part… and they don’t have an educational and professional background in Marketing or copywriting like we do.)

Investment: $2,000-$8,000+ (depending on copywriter experience and project size)

Time: 3-7 weeks, based on project size and communication

4) Website design

Wouldn’t it be a shame to invest all that time and money into your website copy, only for it to be presented poorly, making your users X out of your website before they even had a chance to read all that beautiful copy? Luckily for you, that’s why website designers exist: to help you design a website that works for your goals and resonates with your ideal clients and customers (and makes your website copy stand out + look bomb).

When it comes to the success of your brand’s digital home, website designers are like top-of-the-line interior decorators. They know how to bring your visions to life, and how to please the guests that come over, while still ensuring everything is effortlessly functional. When launching your new website, you’ll definitely want to factor design into your budget—because when you see the final product, you’ll be so glad you did.

Some of my favorite Showit web designers are: Kleist Creative (my designer!), Oh Sierra, Lindsay Mariko Design, Cold Tea Creative

Some of my favorite Squarespace designers are: WILDA, The SM Collective, Kelsey Erin, Selah Creative Co, Grey and Gold Creative

My favorite Shopify designer is: Honey Gold Creative

And if hiring a website designer isn’t in your budget, a website template is a great option! For Showit templates, I (along with the rest of the world) highly recommend Tonic Site Shop. And for Squarespace templates, I love Station Seven.

Investment: $400-$2,000+ for a template / $4,000-$20,000+ (the more robust, the more expensive, but worth every penny!)

Time: 4-8 weeks, depending on project size

5) Blog posts, lead magnets, and new offerings to launch with

 The day you launch your website to the world will likely be the day you receive the most traffic you ever will. People are inherently curious—as soon as you announce something new, they’ll be on it like bees on roses. (Is that a saying? My two-year-old and I have been obsessed with the Bee Movie lately.)

Capitalizing on all of the eyes on your site is key, but oftentimes creators rush to get their website up and completely forego their plans of launching with great, info-packed blog posts, and brand new digital products, and new offerings that they want to promote, because they feel pressured to launch and the idea of “revisiting it later” is too appealing.

Consider this your PSA: don’t do it later. Do it before your launch, so that when people stalk your new website and scroll through all your beautiful new content, they’ll be motivated to read your blog posts, or make a purchase, or contact you about that new offer. About a year ago, when I started bullying my clients about telling all of my clients how beneficial launching with quality blog posts, lead magnets,

TIP: Celebrate your launch with a limited-time-only discount on your digital products to inspire people to buy while they’re checking out the new site! Or, if you’re not selling digital products, make sure you have a strong opt-in pop up or section on your site to entice readers to sign up for your email list.

Related: Why You Need An Email List and How To Grow It With A Lead Magnet

6) Testimonials and reviews

Social proof is a key ingredient to your website’s success. Whether they realize it or not, people are very influenced by the opinions of others, with more than 83% of consumers admitting to reading reviews—and allowing it to impact their decision—prior to investing in something. Your testimonials and reviews from past clients and customers are your way of subtly saying “hey, look how great I am!” without actually saying it.

TIP: Download my FREE guide to glowing testimonials here for the exact feedback request form that I send to my own clients, so you can ensure a 5-star, website-worthy review every time!

7) SEO Optimization. Period.

 You had to have known this one was coming to the list, right? Search engine optimization is a completely necessary part of the website launch process. No one is going to find you on Google if you don’t do all that you can to optimize your website prior to publishing it. And because there’s so much that goes into SEO, I won’t go into detail about the all the how-to’s in this post, so click on over to my SEO category for more information!

Or, if you’d like to skip all that scrolling, and reading, and trial-and-error, you can purchase my Beginner’s Guide to SEO, which outlines everything that you need to know for you, in a non-techy, actually-easy-to-understand way.

(Or if you don’t feel like mastering SEO on your own, you can hire my client-besties at Duo Collective to do the entire thing for you.)

Investment: $0 to spend tons of time sifting through blogs/videos to teach yourself, $75 for my SEO guide, $397-$800+ for a course, or $1,800+ to have it done for you

Time: depends on the option you choose—anywhere from hours, to weeks!

8) Get the legal stuff in order.

Ah, the legal stuff. Boring, but necessary, am I right? (Answer: yes. I am. You can’t have a website without these legal documents.) Including a terms and conditions page and privacy policy page is a website must, and I highly recommend the templates from my friend and badass attorney, Chandler J. Esq. To learn more about why you need them, click here, and to purchase them, click here.

Investment: $300-$500+

9) Proofread! Proofread! Proofread!

Excuse the excessive exclamation points, please. But this is an emergency. I am literally begging you not to publish your brand new site without proofreading it first. There’s nothing more embarrassing than a beautiful baby website showing itself to the world for the first time, then having its reputation promptly ruined by typos, broken links, or—the worst of all—the dreaded “lorem ipsum” or an unfinished paragraph.

Read every single page, then read it again. And read it out loud (this helps ensure that it sounds conversational, and it reads the way you intend to. During this phase you often find that things need to be italicized, or bolded, or sentences need to be shortened.) You’ll also want to go through and make sure that every single link works, by clicking on them and testing them yourself. Also, don’t forget to check your site’s appearance on mobile and tablet views!

10) Add a custom 404 Error page.

The tell-tale sign of a DIY website is whether or not the 404 Error page is customized. While this isn’t a complete necessity, it adds a little bit of extra value, and shows your readers that you truly thought of everything—making you come across as professional, even in an awkward situation like the event of a broken link. This page can be as short-and-sweet (a simple, clever “oops” sentence like mine) or as robust as you’d like (complete with an apology, a mini-about you section, and links to all the best places on your site)—but make sure there’s a button bringing the reader back to Home.

11) Ask a friend to view your website as a sample client.

Oftentimes when business owners launch a new website, they’re way too close to it to notice any errors or missteps. Asking a friend to read your website for you—preferably a friend who knows who your ideal client is, or falls into your target market themselves—lets you get a fresh set of eyes on the content so you can see it from a different perspective before you show it off to the rest of the world. (You could even have a past client look at it, if you feel comfortable!)

I hope you found this post helpful, and I believe congratulations are in order for getting one step closer to the launch of your website! If you’d like to learn more about my website copywriting services, click here, and if you’d like to chat with me about my recommendations for a website designer or website platform, send me a DM on Instagram to start the conversation!

If we haven’t had the chance to *virtually* meet yet, hi! I’m Sara Noel—website copywriter and marketing mentor for creatives, copywriters, and all-around cool people. If you like my content and you want even more BTL in your life, here are a few ways you can connect with me:

Subscribe to my newsletter! I send one marketing tip, once a week – and, according to my subscribers, it’s “the best marketing newsletter on the Internet” and “the only reason to wake up on Tuesday mornings.” So… yeah. You’ll love ‘er. 😏 Click here to subscribe!

Check out my services. I write website copy, sales pages, email sequences, blog posts, and brand messaging guides for entrepreneurs of all kinds! Maybe you’re my next favorite client.

Read the rest of my blog. It’s home to everything from copywriting tips, to marketing education, to freelance advice, to portfolio-worthy projects… if you like this post, you’ll love the blog. Here’s a quick roundup of my most popular posts.

Sign up for my web copy course. Actually, it’s not *only* about website copywriting—I also teach modules on copywriting basics, developing your target audience, search engine optimization, blogging, and email marketing.

Enlist me as your mentor. I have an entire in-depth blog post about my one-on-one consulting process for new and aspiring copywriters, if you’re interested in having a big-sis-style mentor to help you grow your freelance copywriting business & get results.

To get in touch with me directly, send me a DM or email sara@betweenthelinescopy.com. Have a great day!

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Hi, I'm Sara—Website Copywriter & Marketing Mentor.

If you're an entrepreneur, business owner, or course creator with big dreams of success and growth—and a big, scary blank document standing in your way every time you sit down to write your own copy—nice to meet you, I'm your new solution. 

Through what I like to call sales-focused storytelling, I'll help you find your brand's voice, perfectly position your offerings, develop your target market, and write copy that resonates with your ideal audience. And I'll do it all while keeping your personality at the forefront of every draft, to ensure that each word aligns with your true self. 

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