10 Tips for a Successful Website Re-launch

An old/outdated website sends a message that you aren’t up on the latest trends. There comes a time when every radio station needs to revamp and re-launch for better impact.  For example, older websites might not be optimized for speed. You can’t afford to keep a bulky, outdated website that doesn’t look great or load fast on mobile devices.

How Often Should You Redesign Your Website?

There’s no easy answer to this because there are a lot of factors involved. The general recommendation is that you redesign any website every 2–3 years.  Much like fashion, web design has trends, and things can just start to look … old or retro.  See how your website compares to others in your market and bigger markets.

Relaunching your site might seem overwhelming. Fortunately, there are some simple rules of thumb you can follow that will make your re-launch not only easy but successful.

1. Benchmarks

Before you launch your website redesign, be sure to know your site’s traffic, bounce rate, average time on site, and other stats so you have an accurate picture of how successful — or unsuccessful — your re-launch will be.

2. Goals

Once you know those benchmarks and where your traffic is coming from, it’s time to set some next-level goals. Take a look at your competitors. Do some research through sites like SEORush.com to know what keywords other stations near you are ranking for (like local sports, weather, news, online listening, etc) as well as their most visited pages.

3. Research/Revamp Your Content

You can’t just set it and forget it on any website. You’ll need to update, modify and add new content regularly to stay relevant.

Besides fixing things that might have been broken, a relaunch is a great time to look at the content you were previously doing and look for new content features that seem to be doing well for other stations outside of your market.

– What do we want visitors to do when they visit?  Lose the slider in favor of call-to-action?
– Fresh look at what on-air content can be re-purposed for online?
– Importing new external content?
– Add audio/video components?  Podcasting?

In the initial planning phases, decide who will update content on a consistent basis.

Be sure that content that you had previously can still be found easily.  Drastic re-designs can have a negative effect if the content visitors are accustomed to becomes harder to find.

4. Make a plan for SEO

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) helps people find your website using keywords through Google, Bing, and Yahoo! searches.  If you provide local news of any kind, you want that to be visible when searching for things in your area (events, news, etc). You don’t need a special SEO engineer for special training for this.  Just ensure that everyone creating content for your website knows how to tag images and articles for maximum efficiency.  Get plugins to assist you with SEO.

5. Give Your Current Visitors and Advertisers a Heads-Up

If you have lots of traffic, let your visitors know that you are revamping your website. Send a short note to your mailing list and social media followers. Let them know you are in the process of redesigning and when they can expect to see the new look.  Also, inform your website advertisers in case banner ads need to be resized or updated.  This is a great time to sell new upcoming features that might be added or offer special incentives to be included on the site during the major re-launch promotion.

6. Create a Digital Inventory List

We discussed this last week. Make a plan for selling the new website and where banner ads and special sponsorships will be located and how much those placements will be so that sellers have everything need on day one.  For example, the previous weather page might have been simple text and not visited very often.  If you have a more modern weather page, hit up potential sponsors for that.

7. Test Different Browsers

Ideally, just before you launch your new site, you should test how the site performs across different browsers and screen sizes. There are many services online that allow you to do this for free or for a small fee, such as BrowserStack.com and Browserling. Choose the one you like best and see how your site might look on a mobile device or on a larger screen.  The text should adapt and be clear to read, and images should still have a sharp resolution. Also, test out the way the site functions on a mobile device versus a traditional PC.

8. Plan for launch promotion

If you build it, they won’t necessarily come. So, plan how you and your talent will promote the re-launch on-air, on social, e-mail blasts, etc. This will be a great time to renew your imaging and sweepers as well.

9. Check/Update Your Branding

How does the look of your new website stack up to your branding on other platforms? The colors and designs should repeat no matter where they are. Update your social media headers and profile images. Link any interesting new content to your social media pages. Update any contact info or “about us” info and even e-mail footers.

10. Listen to Your Site Visitors

Once you re-launch your site, take the time to gather feedback from your visitors and advertisers. Devote as much time as you can to answering questions, listening to concerns, and fixing problems as they crop up. Unless you invest in some website review studies, this is your best test of how users are interacting with your content.  Interested in website review services?  SethResler.com has some great insight into that.

Conclusion

Have your plan in place before you pick a website provider or designer.  Decide your content and banner ad placements, know your goals and how you plan to implement them, and who at the radio station will assist in that.  All of these will drastically cut down on the redesign and build time.

Relaunching your station website is an important marketing tactic when you’re looking to keep your content fresh, exciting, and new. It keeps your visitors on their toes and keeps your station on their radar of new advertisers.

I hope these tips help you.  If they do, we’d love to hear about it.

Jim Sherwood serves as chief creative, brand strategist, lead developer, meticulous project manager, and station collaborator for all Skyrocket Radio sites and projects.