Taking the time to design and build a website that reflects your company’s values is vital if you’re looking to bring to market a new product or service; but if people don’t know about your site then that investment is effectively wasted. Here are the steps you need to take to ensure you clock up hits from day one.

Pre-launch planning

This covers pretty much everything from selecting the right domain name, to design and content; it’s one of the most vital parts of the process.

With so many domains already registered, you’re likely to have to compromise when it comes to buying one. Ideally, you want something short, easy to remember and on the .com extension.

If you haven’t settled on a name for your business you have more room to maneuver and you can evaluate a selection of domain names, pick one and then use that as the basis for your brand.

In terms of design, it’s always best to involve a professional. Whether you bring one on board or look for a freelancer is up to you, but unless you’re qualified to tackle web design on your own it’s a big mistake.

That said, you’ll still have plenty of input – it’s your business and you know it best and understand the targets on which it will have to deliver. At this stage you’ll also need to plan out the sort of content you want on the site, from product descriptions to blogs and social media integration.

Although you’ll want your website to look as attractive as possible, you need to ensure it’s easy to update otherwise you’ll have to head back to the designer every time you want to tweak a picture or price point.

It’s also a good idea to have a placeholder website up before you launch. Not only will this give somewhere to seek out basic information about your site, they’ll also be able to link to it, which will benefit the full site when it goes live.


While all this is going on, you should already be making contact with people who might be interested in your product. They could be potential buyers or journalists who cover your company’s niche – the most important thing is that they have influence.

Tracking down people who are not only interested in what you do but also have a significant audience, has never been easier. Tools such as Buzzstream can be used to find bloggers you can contact, while Followerwonk (below) can identify people with social media influence.

Once you’ve identified the key influencers operating in your niche, you need to get them interested. The best way to do this is by treating it as any other sales pitch and focus on the benefits you can offer them.

If you’re bringing an innovative product to market which solves a certain problem, find influencers it can help and give them one for free. If you’re developing an online service, invite them to a private beta.

Not only will you get great feedback about what works and what could be improved, you’ll also have some advocates ready to evangelize your site when it launches.

SEO your PR

Outreach is a great way of generating buzz for your company, but old-fashioned press releases are still a crucial part of the mix. However, you need to make sure they’re tweaked for a digital age.

The very least you should be doing is including links back to your site as this means websites who reproduce the release verbatim will end up linking to you.

Google alerts screenshotHowever, you can take things further and include complimentary information on your site which is referenced in your release. For example, if you’ve conducted a study include the headline stats in your release and then have a visualization on your website. Websites will quote the stats and link to the graphic, boosting your search engine optimization efforts.

It’s also a good idea to set up Google alerts (above) for your brand as that way you can monitor the coverage you generate and contact authors for a link if they haven’t already done so.

Don’t forget – the tactics used to generate buzz around a website pre-launch can be used even after it has launched to attract even more attention and grow your customer base further.

AvatarWill Stevens

Will Stevens is a journalist specializing in social media, search engine optimization and business for the UK's largest domain name registrar, 123-reg.co.uk. Taxis in London, England are currently promoting the company's "Start Your Online Journey campaign".