11 Tips for Launching the Perfect Site
Not too fast! Before you jump into the online world, there are some things that you need to make sure you do to stand out amongst other hair companies. I know you’re anxious to unveil the finished product, but I have a little checklist of tasks that you may want to complete before going live.
Why Can’t I Launch Yet?
Launching a website takes more than just buying a domain, creating a few web pages, and then posting the site on your social media pages.
We live in a world where new companies are popping up left and right, so I know you’re ready to get in on the action. However, you don’t want to be like any other hair brand. You want to come out as THE hair brand to check out.
Having a plan of execution is critical to the process, so let’s jump into this checklist!
Task #1: Create a launch plan.
I’m sure you’ve noticed a common theme here – plan, plan, PLAN.
You do not necessarily have to complete this entire list in order, but you should always start with a launch plan. Take some time to develop an extensive list of your essential to-dos (this checklist will help you with that) as well as a timeline of important dates including your go-live date.
Within this plan, include a budget because website building is not free!
Task #2: Develop a marketing strategy.
Did you think you were going to make a social post about your hair brand’s website when you launch? Oh no.
You should always map out your marketing plan by identifying your target audience, researching your competitors to find untapped opportunities, and setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, time-bound).
This task will help you flesh out what you hope to achieve from this website.
Task #3: Make sure you have chosen the website hosting platform that is best for your hair brand.
One thing you want to avoid is switching the platform that you built your website on after launching.
It’s a headache that you can prevent by thoroughly researching all platforms before committing to one. It may not seem like this is an essential step, but all platforms do not offer the same design capabilities and features.
Task #4: Determine the best layout for your website.
One of the most important things to remember about company websites is to make sure the customer can reach what they’re looking for when they enter. You want your hair brand’s website to flow with the end-user in mind by creating pages and subpages that are beneficial to the customer. Navigating through the site should not be a pain!
Your pages should include a clear call-to-action. Do you want customers to buy your products, sign up for your newsletter, book a service, etc.? Make that known!
Now is also a great time to decide if you want to include a blog for your hair brand. I recommend having a blog to attract a larger audience and hook your customers. You’ve come to the right place for a great example of this!
Task #5: Brand your company with a style guide.
This task is entirely optional, but I can assure you that it will save you from straying away from your brand.
If you haven’t done so already, determine what colors you want for your hair brand. Use your logo’s colors and 1-2 more that will enhance the site (these should be very subtle colors to avoid taking away from the logo). Also, list out the fonts that you would like to have on your site. Simple, easy-to-read fonts are the way to go.
Style guides keep your brand consistent – let’s not confuse the customers!
Task #6: Nail down a website design.
You may have this super dope design in your head, but that does not mean that it will work for the type of hair brand website you’re looking to create.
No matter if you’ve hired a website designer or if you’re designing it yourself, you should keep in mind that your site should be appealing to your target audience. Your site should not be cluttered and full of every color in the rainbow. Keep your design simple and chic to show your potential customers that they’re entering a quality site for a quality company.
Stick to your style guide – that’s it's purpose.
Task #7: Create a bank of high-quality photos.
Let’s talk about the number one pet peeve of many consumers – horrible website photography.
There is nothing worse than entering a site and seeing blurry, pixelated visuals. Rest assured that you will lose more than you win with bad photos. Whether you hire a photographer or invest in a quality camera (or even a phone that takes bomb photos), you should always have a photo bank of original images that you can use throughout the site.
Make sure the lighting is on point!
Tip: While stock photos are great for blog posts, it’s best not to use them when selling your products. You do not want to deceive your customers. Also, NEVER use a photo from a search engine or any gallery that you do not have permission to use. Google can’t save you from a lawsuit!
Task #8: Setup a newsletter opt-in on your website.
As a hair brand owner, you should always aim to keep your customers in the know when it comes to promotions, new products, back-in-stock updates, etc. Having a newsletter gives you the opportunity to connect with your audience beyond the website. So, be sure to capture their email addresses with an easy-to-use email opt-in feature.
Tip: Make the signup process as easy as possible by asking for their name and address. It’s best to avoid asking for any other information because no one likes long forms!
Task #9: Set up an analytics tool for reporting.
Every business owner should keep track of how their website is performing and how this performance is contributing to the growth of the company. Having a tool, such as Google Analytics, will make it easy for you to view reports on website traffic, traffic sources, conversion rates, and more. You may also notice that your platform has a built-in analytics tool which makes things easier.
Task #10: Proofread all content.
Do NOT launch a website for your hair brand without making the necessary edits to all content. Ask more than one person to read through every page to check for typos and incorrect information. I doubt anyone is interested in your “hair” because what is that?
Task #11: Test everything!
Your website is all set and ready to go – how exciting! Time to launch, right? Well, not so fast.
Check every hyperlink, video, form, email opt-in, social media button, EVERYTHING before going live. Be sure to also test the site on various mobile devices from Apple and Android phones to iPads and tablets. Everything on your website should be working correctly and optimized for mobile so your visitors can enjoy a hassle-free experience.
You may want to form a focus group of family and friends to test your site. Allow them to not only make sure everything works, but also check the ease of navigation for the site. Having their feedback will help you make improvements.
Now You Can Launch!
Whew! I know that was a lot, but guess what? You’re ready to go-live!
It’s now time to show the world how awesome your hair brand is by giving them a first look online. Although it’s important to check off all the tasks listed above, always remember that we’re all human. You may find a mistake here and there, but it’s never too late to correct it.
By putting in the extra work in the beginning, you’re going to avoid a lot of mishaps along the way. Now share your site and collect those coins!