Launching a new website is one of the hardest things you do. It’s also one of the best ways to get a nice influx of links pointing your way.
I know this because for the past 2 1/2 months, I’ve been living it. On Tuesday, July 16 at 3:52 p.m., 352 Media Group officially became 352. Our new name came with a new brand and a new website. It also came with more than 3x the traffic that we typically see.
There are thousands of things to think about when you’re launching a new site (a million if you’re changing your URL structure or domain name), but one thing that is sometimes overlooked is what you’re going to do to promote it.
You already have a group of people who will definitely share and talk about your new site: anyone at your company. But remember, they may not be as link-savvy as you, so don’t forget to coach them on the best way to spread the news. For example:
On the same vein as pumping up your internal team about the new launch, tell your clients, partners, friends and random people you meet in Starbucks about your new site — ask them to share it, too.
We sent out personalized emails to our clients letting them know of the change and what they can expect, ending it by asking them for their feedback and to share it with their friends. People are much more inclined to share something if you ask for their opinion first.
About a month before we launched, we started teasing our new brand and parts of our new site. We had a series of blog posts leading up to it, put screenshots of the site being built on Instagram and Facebook, and tweeted about our “big news” coming.
It got people excited; it got people talking; and, it got people to stay tuned for the official launch.
Reach out to influencers both in your industry and the Web design industry and offer them a test run of your site before it goes live. FollowerWonk is your best bet to find these people.
Asking them to review it on their blog brings you buzz, links and your first feedback from users with no association to your brand. That user feedback could be more valuable than any link you get from it.
Last month, I went on a little rant about 11 things that we need to stop doing in link building. The “no-news press releases” was one of them. Your new site and brand are probably some of the biggest news; so, this is a perfect time for some old-fashioned press.
We sent out a release via PR Newswire; but, we also pitched our contacts in our local markets (Atlanta, Tampa and Gainesville, FL) to garner the hometown hero press.
Launching your new site will easily be one of your most shared pieces on social media.
You need to be ready for that. We weren’t.
The post announcing our launch and our new brand had more than 2x the reach and engagement that our posts typically see. Twenty-seven people shared it on their pages, further expanding our reach. Unfortunately, this is what it looked like when they were sharing:
Amidst all of the chaos on the day of launch in getting ready for 3:52 p.m., I forgot to make sure our site was Open Graph friendly. That sucks.
Posts with photos, especially links with thumbnails, get upwards of 120% more engagement than posts without. I’m still extremely happy with the feedback we got, but one little fix pre launch would have made a huge difference. Make sure that your site is optimized with Open Graph so your shares get the most reach possible.
Post of clarification: this is not a directory submission tactic. There are a handful of legitimate Web design galleries and award sites that go to recognizing some of the best designed sites out there. If you think yours makes the cut, submit it for inclusion. AWWWARDS, CSS Design Awards, Unmatched Style and W3 Awards are some good ones.
Note that for every legit site like this, there are a handful of automated ones. Steer clear of the services that say they’ll submit your site to a dozen top Web design galleries and opt for the manual ones.
What are some other ways you can promote a new website launch to get links?