If you’re reading this, hopefully you’ve made it through #theprep, and you’re ready to launch your idea. In this last episode, we’re going to talk about taking your idea public and what to do next.
Make a List for Your MVP
Before you begin marketing your business or website, you should have a working list of things you need. We’re talking about MVP or minimum viable product here. What does your site need to accomplish the goals you’re comfortable with?
Get a full list of features together. Do you need appointment scheduling, an email opt-in, or a social media sharing plugin? What’s going to make your business or blog unique and completely functional?
Here are some things you might consider right off the bat.
- An email opt in like OptinMonster to build a list of subscribers
- Social media sharing plugin to prompt sharing your articles
- Related content/suggested posts slider or widgets
- Push notification plugin
- Text highlighter/tweet plugin
- Click to tweet plugin
- Google Analytics tracking to measure traffic
- SEO tools to optimize organic reach with search engines
- Affiliate marketing tools
- A live chat support plugin
These are good things to have, but there’s a lot more to think about in terms of being ready for the public eye.
Polish Your Website and Test
Before you go live, you want to work out as many kinks as possible to make the best first impression. This comes down to two big initiatives: reviewing and testing.
There’s no better way to find bugs, errors, and typos than getting eyes on your website. Send your project out to as many people as you can and get their feedback. Depending on how big your site is, how much content is on there, you may need a lot of time to review and correct things.
If need be, hire someone who’s a pro to proofread your site. It’s worth it for creating the best first impression you can.
Now, testing. If there’s a feature on your site, test it thoroughly. Make sure that item really gets added to the shopping cart, and the thank you email sends. Look for inconsistencies across browsers or under different conditions.
Basically, do your best to make sure your website visually and functionally makes sense and works at a basic level–going back to the MVP. Can it do the minimum that you want it to do. This is a starting point, but you don’t want to start too low.
Optimize Your Website Now
Before you launch, make sure your site runs like a top. This is another check, similar to polishing the surface level, that won’t go unnoticed by your audience or users.
Test your site’s performance with a speed testing tool like Pingdom. Look for ways to optimize your loading time.
There are plenty of awesome WordPress plugins for optimizing site performance. Look for areas to improve, such as compressing image sizes, caching, and how your site loads. You don’t have very long to convince users to stay on your website, so it better load before their attention span gives out.
Aside from performance, your site will need to be responsive. When you promote your idea on social media, it’s likely that people will be looking at it on their phones. So, chances are, the first time they see your website will be on a mobile device.
Check your entire site at different sizes to make sure there are no glitches or inconsistencies. At the minimum, all the functions available on your desktop site should work on mobile.
One last optimization you must account for is security. Especially if your site is handling customer data, such as names and addresses, you should do all you can to safeguard your site against cyber attacks.
In fact, Google’s search ranking takes security into account, so it’s important to have an SSL security certificate. You can purchase one from your hosting provider, such as bluehost. In addition, there are security plugins you can install to further safeguard your website.
Plan Your Campaign to Launch
Before you go telling everyone about your site, and spreading the word, you should have a strategy to maximize publicity and ensure the message comes across correctly.
For example, when we launched MOJO Marketplace, it was March Madness and the iPad had just come out. We centered our launch on this idea and called it March Padness to build up hype and piggy back on trending topics.
We set up a contest to get as many themes uploaded to MOJO Marketplace as possible. Whoever uploaded the most would win an iPad. This helped us boost our inventory so we could launch.
This is a good example of setting up a relevant campaign, with a specific goal, around your launch. Think about the core idea you want people to walk away with from your launch communications and advertisements. In our case, we needed items to sell, so we focused on that.
In addition to creating effective campaigns, make a content strategy and start producing free content that adds value to your product right out of the gate. If someone lands on your site and there’s more for them than just a sales pitch, you’ll start building an audience and a following right away.
Whether you can do videos, blog articles, photos, graphics, provide something that’s relevant to back up your launch. What do people need to learn or know to make the best use of your product or website?
Take the strategy you developed in the early stages and apply it to now.
The Next Step
Okay, so we’re done with #theprep. We appreciate you taking the time to walk through this with us. And we hope it provided some insight and actionable items for you to use.
But there’s a lot more where this came from. Please reach out in the comments below and let us know what was valuable to you. We want to make this a great experience for our readers, and we want to see you succeed!
Once you’ve launched, you’ve barely started your journey, even though it seems like you did so much. That’s why we called this series #theprep. It’s just the first step!
As your idea continues to grow, there is a lot more work to be done, which is why we’re kicking off #theclimb. This will be an ongoing series designed to help you in the moment with your business. We look forward to forging ahead with you and hearing about your ideas!
Please leave comments below and let us know how we can help, or tell us about your idea!
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