Designing a website can be a huge undertaking, and any experienced designer can tell you every project has its own set of challenges to deal with.

So, understandably, there's a sense of accomplishment that comes with finally publishing the masterpiece you've been working on and watching those first few hits trickle in. But don't fall into the trap of thinking you've hit the finish line!

On the contrary, publishing your newly designed website is only the starting line of a long, exciting journey toward an elusive goal: optimization.

We've written a lot on this blog about website design best practices and tips to make sure you're getting the most value out of your site. But, though the pre-launch design work is vital, it's the work that happens after the launch that really brings your site to the next level.

Here are a few tasks you'll want to place on your To Do list once your new site is up and running:

  • Test the placement and appearance of your calls to action: Bottom of the page? Right sidebar? Above the fold or below? Sometimes very subtle changes to the positioning, color, font, or wording of your calls to action can have a huge effect on lead conversion rates.
  • Create new landing pages and test them: Over time, create various landing pages that approach your offers from different points of view, or target different segments of your audience. Sometimes something as small as a word or two in the headline can make a huge difference.
  • Publish and curate fresh content for your prospects: Content creation and curation have become a must for anyone hoping to offer relevant, valuable help to prospects. Use this opportunity to answer specific questions and soothe pain points your prospects face on a daily basis. This makes you a valuable partner rather than a salesperson.
  • Optimize the visual effectiveness of your site: Using tools such as CrazyEgg or UserTesting, along with Google Analytics or HubSpot, keep your finger on the pulse of how visitors are interacting with your site. If you note areas where people get confused or seem to lose interest, adjust accordingly, then keep testing.
  • Monitor your keywords and SEO: Via analytics, you can easily tell what phrases people are using on Google or Bing to organically find your site, and you can tell how satisfied they are once they arrive. Never assume you're doing the best you possibly can with a given phrase. Review the numbers regularly and brainstorm how you can tweak your existing content or create new content to further enhance your SEO.

The common themes in all these tips are testing and measurement. Since the early days of direct mail copywriting, testing has been the mainstay of marketers everywhere. Online optimization is no different, and is actually far easier, faster and more cost effective than old-school direct mail split testing ever was.

So, are you just hitting the starting line with your brand new site? Then what are you waiting for?

Could your website be more effective? Request an evaluation.