Launching a new website is a big event for most companies, and while most of the effort is typically focused on building a great website that delivers compelling content and a superb user experience, what you do before you launch can impact your post-launch success.
Here are five ways you can promote a successful launch before you introduce the world to a new website.
1. Make it look pretty.
When you're working hard to complete your website, designing a good-looking placeholder -- be it a Coming Soon page or otherwise -- probably isn't your top priority. But first impressions count, and if you're going to put a Coming Soon page up, being lazy isn't a good approach because you never know who might be dropping by.
2. Say something.
Unless you're in super stealth mode, it's worth considering the advantages of providing more information, and not less. This can be especially useful in convincing visitors to sign up for notification of your launch (see below).
3. Don't forget analytics.
Even if your pre-launch website consists of little more than a Coming Soon page, you don't need to wait to begin collecting analytics data. While there's a decent chance it won't provide any earth-shattering insights pre-launch, there's always room for surprises and in some cases, you may find a nugget or two that can help inform your launch strategy.
4. Collect email addresses.
If you build it, they will not come. New websites need to be marketed, and a mailing list can be a very valuable asset in driving early traffic. From your Coming Soon page to offline networking, there are numerous ways to ensure that you have a list to market to when you launch.
5. Don't park.
Be careful about parking your domain pre-launch. According to Google's Matt Cutts, using common parking services, particularly in the weeks running up to your launch, can have a negative impact on your potential to start working your SEO magic post-launch.