We celebrate a lot of website launches around here—and it never gets old. After months of hard work (or even longer if you had to convince your boss to build a new site), sending it out into the world is a major milestone. But now is not the time to take your foot off the gas! A new website launch can fuel your marketing for years to come.
Instead of a “set it and forget it” mentality, leverage all of your new-found digital power by continuing to promote and improve your site after it goes live. In this post, we’ll cover concrete ways to get more out of your new website so that it continues to grow along with your organization.
Getting Ready for a New Website Launch
Haven’t launched your new website just yet? There are some things you can do now to make sure that it goes smoothly and sets you up for future success.
The first step is to make sure everything is ready, from your page content and online forms, to more technical items like ensuring it will be visible to search engines. Don’t worry, we have a website checklist you can use to keep everything on track.
With all of your ducks in a row, you can then start to plan your pre-launch and post-launch communications about the new website. There are several internal and external audiences that you might want to prepare and then ask to celebrate along with you. Of course, we have a handy communications checklist for that, too!
Keep Up Your Marketing Momentum
Once your website has launched, keep on the path to growth with our tips for maintaining marketing momentum.
1. Update internal processes
Does a new website mean that you need to change existing workflows for your donation process, email signups, event registrations or volunteer recruitment? Get everyone trained on the new way of doing things. Not only will you build buy-in and trust from others at your organization, you’ll reduce the chance that balls get dropped (like forgetting to include new email subscribers when sending the newsletter).
2. Create a content distribution plan
For some of your colleagues, the new website will mean there’s an exciting and endless dumping ground for all sorts of information, flyers, news articles and more. To protect the beautiful and strategic structure of your website—as well as the visitor experience—create a content distribution plan that outlines where, how and when new pieces of content are added and removed.
For example, you can dictate that upcoming events are promoted on the homepage, events page and the blog, while recent media coverage is linked in your press room and shared on social media.
3. Focus on link building
Speaking of links, they are a crucial part of driving traffic to your new website for the rest of time. Link to relevant pages in social media posts, link to the blog in an email newsletter, and even add links to the site in your staff email signatures. Don’t forget about using internal links to help visitors (and search engines) get around in your content, and start actively building links from other websites to increase your credibility and referral traffic.
4. Use your blog
Be honest: have you neglected your blog since the “Yay! We launched a new website!” post? Get a refresher on how blogging works best for nonprofits and try to get on a regular posting schedule. Blog posts are a great way to publish content you can share through other channels as well as attract new traffic from search.
5. Leverage a Google Ads Grant
Does your new site offer valuable content, resources or landing pages that have the potential to attract new supporters or participants? Consider using a Google Ad Grant as part of your marketing strategy to drive relevant website traffic, spread awareness for your cause and build your community.
6. Improve conversion potential
In the rush of a new website launch, you might have overlooked design and content issues that can negatively impact website conversions and overall usability. There could also be new opportunities to increase conversions by adding online forms or using pop-ups to draw attention to key calls to action. If you’re not ready to tinker with the website just yet, keep track of ideas in a website improvement plan (more on that below).
7. Use A/B testing to learn what works
Depending on how well you know your target audience, you probably made some educated guesses about content, page names, calls to action, colors and photos when building out the new website. Now that you’ve launched, let the learning begin! Free A/B testing tools like Google Optimize can help you run simple experiments to see if there are different messages or design elements that lead to better results, like more donations or a lower bounce rate.
8. Consider SEO improvements
If you’re hoping to see steadily increasing website traffic from new visitors, you’ll need to keep an eye on search engine optimization (SEO) starting at launch. (Ideally, you also kept it in mind in your pre-launch content development and writing.) The good news is that you don’t need to be an SEO whiz to improve how visible your website is in search results. In addition to building links on and to your site (see #3 above), here are a few places to start:
- Creating great meta descriptions for the pages on your site
- Voice search optimization for nonprofits
- Search marketing for local or regional organizations
- How to Optimize a Web Page for Search Engines in 2020
9. Ask a marketing ally
Unlike some website builders out there, our team is around to help for the lifetime of the nonprofit sites we help launch. This is where our Marketing Ally Program comes in. If you’re one of our clients (or would like to be!), you can reach out to our nonprofit marketing experts anytime to get advice or strategy recommendations to make sure that your website and online presence has the power you need to reach your goals.
What’s Your Nonprofit Website Improvement Plan?
No matter how great your site is at the beginning, keeping your website in tip-top shape is an ongoing practice. And there’s no better time to make a plan for maintenance than right after a new website launch—when everything is fresh in your mind. The plan can also serve as your roadmap when you start to think about how to improve website performance over its lifetime. Here are five areas to focus on:
- Your website maintenance schedule, including which tasks should be done weekly, monthly, every six months and yearly.
- The core metrics you’ll use to measure success using a tool like Google Analytics. (Make it easy on yourself and try out our free, pre-made Google Analytics dashboards.)
- Adding new or improved web page content as your organization changes and you have more information to share about programs, impact and other areas of your work.
- Identifying features and functionality that you’d like to add as your capacity or budget allows (plus the reasons why so that you don’t forget).
- Describing any integrations that would be nice to set up in the future, like connecting your online forms to a new donor management system once you have it set up.
When you’re in the middle of a website project, it’s easy to get tunnel vision and forget that the website will be an active part of your marketing long after it goes live. Like any marketing tool, your website is a machine that needs a little oil to grease the wheels. Then it’s ready to roll with you in any direction you choose.
Has a new website launch helped give your nonprofit marketing a boost? What questions do you have about getting more out of a new website? I’ll meet you in the comments!