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Advice for launching new websites in 2013

     
12:56 pm on Feb 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Whether you are new to internet marketing or a veteran that was focused only on established sites, here are some tips about what to do and not to do when launching a new site. Of course not everything may apply to your personal situation. I also encourage you to debate the cost/benefit of these items.

-Start with a good CMS (content management system) that can grow without compatibility issues
-Minimize the use of frameworks, plugins & add-ons, they are cool today but will cause headaches tomorrow
-Focus on urls looking good to users & less for search engines
-Avoid getting crappy links, its too dangerous in the long term and it sucks spending time removing them later
-Ask yourself what your new site offers that isn't already on 100 other sites
-Expect Google rankings to be weird for your first year
-Good Google rankings don't mean your site is good, it is more likely that you are looking at personalized serps
-Don't launch the site until its good enough to attract webmasters to link to it
-If you use five years old seo tricks, expect Google to have five years of filters to counteract it
-Google doesn't really care that your domain is old, they care more about long term inbound links
-Incorporate canonical tags & verified author profiles
-Unique ip hosting isn't that important, reliable ip hosting is much more important
-Use a domain that is brandable and relates to your business, hyphens & keyword stuffed domains aren't ideal
-Domains with good backlinks tend to outpace keyword domains with weaker backlinks
-Once you find the perfect domain, check to see if it was previously registered and used for spamming
-Use a good analytics program, it will help you make better business decisions
-Archive all keyword data, its going away fast
-Don't put 100 generic navigation links on every page, better to "theme" the page with a handful of links to relevant content
-Ask yourself again what your new site offers that isn't already on 100 other sites and this time don't lie to yourself
-Think about where you want your site in 5 years, then plan your site to minimize the change & redirects you will need
-Better to have 100 great content pages than 10,000 auto generated pages
-Your content pages are too short and users don't find enough value in them
-Did you forget to embed relevant links within your content?
-Smart webmasters can identify your network of sites by looking at backlinks, adsense/analytics code & other tells
-Social signals like twitter mentions by real people are great for getting new sites crawled
-Fake social signals that you can buy are mostly worthless
-It isn't easy to launch a new site, it costs alot of time, money & resources. It is going to cost much more than you estimated.
-The Google ranking algorithm isn't one simple piece, it has many different pieces and these pieces are run at different times
-Launching a new site today is a much more weird process with many more anomalies than in the past

Those are my general observations from my latest round of launching new sites. I am sure I overlooked some stuff so feel free to add your own or to debate what I've posted.
3:31 pm on Feb 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

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A lot of good stuff in there, very nice quick and concise guide. I was waiting for cost point to come up, i cannot agree more with this

-It isn't easy to launch a new site, it costs alot of time, money & resources. It is going to cost much more than you estimated.

I want to start a site, i know i can pull it through in 7 months time, but the only restraint i have is the amount of funds it requires to survive in that specific niche.

Companies are spending tens of thousands of pounds on acquiring links, it is not impossible but hard to compete in there.

I would also like to add one point, avoid niches where Google is expanding, also avoid niches where market is pretty much dominated by top brands and ppc ads, unless you have deep pockets.
3:54 pm on Feb 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

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avoid niches where Google is expanding


This should be the absolute first thought when it comes to starting a new site/business.

And since it is getting harder every day to avoid a niche Google is in, if you do find yourself in competition with Google here's a couple of things to focus on:

1. Build your site/business as if Google did not exist.
2. Get your customers/traffic before Google does.
3. Become such a pain in Google's side that they have to acquire you.
5:34 pm on Feb 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

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If your business plan is based on commissions from affiliate sales, plan on actually taking time to create real content for your site. If you don't do that then don't create the site, as you will be hit by Panda.
1:14 am on Feb 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@goodroi

Super helpful post. Proving once again why I frequent no other forums, anymore.

The new SEO is being all about your users and less reliance (exploitation of) on technology.
4:51 am on Feb 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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The new SEO is being all about your users and less reliance (exploitation of) on technology.


A small correction. it is about users with more help from tech. You just can't do things for users without the help of technology :)
5:05 am on Feb 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Good post.

But IMHO the following point is missing:

- if your strategy is built on Google being the main source of traffic, then either change you business model or do not bother at all
5:21 am on Feb 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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How about this: start with a full business plan - ideally one that would be strong enough to attract an investor, even if you're not looking for one.
5:42 am on Feb 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Awesome Post goodroi!
And great addition tedster.

I think there are a Ton of things people miss and forget about in gooroi's post and tedster's addition should hopefully pack a punch for quite a few people, cause it seems like so many hear about "the net and how easy it is to make a mil" but don't realize that was 5 years ago and they seem to think it's still the wild west but "things are a' changin round these parts" and it's only going to get a little bit tougher to rank by the day.

Knowing what I do and knowing how much things have changed I would generally advise people to not even "hop in" with the idea of making money like so many did a few years ago, but if they really want to, I'd tell them to get in as a hobby and see if they can actually handle it and compete cause it's gettin really difficult to rank for anything meaningful and that can be well monetized these days.
12:16 pm on Feb 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for collecting all in once place, but actually nothing new
12:31 pm on Feb 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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How about this: start with a full business plan - ideally one that would be strong enough to attract an investor, even if you're not looking for one.

Exactly. Sustainable business. Then enable it online. Ducks in a row. [idioms.thefreedictionary.com...]

Now back to the enablement and launch ...>
3:52 pm on Feb 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Ask yourself again what your new site offers that isn't already on 100 other sites and this time don't lie to yourself


I'd add this one a third time, cause nobody ever does it. All the SEO on the planet won't prop up a bad business model for very long.

Oh yea - DON'T FORGET MOBILE.
6:14 pm on Feb 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Start with this -

-Use a domain that is brandable and relates to your business, hyphens & keyword stuffed domains aren't ideal


If you ignore this, its going to be a continuous uphill battle.
9:46 am on Mar 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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-Use a domain that is brandable and relates to your business, hyphens & keyword stuffed domains aren't ideal


Selection of domain is a major challenge, specially after the EMD updates.

There are relatively 3 decent approaches towards selecting a domain name.

1. Absolute keyword. Even if you have an absolute keyword, build it as a brand.
2. Absolute Generic. Should be pronounceable, easy to spell and catchy, Bing!
3. Since most of the keywords are occupied and promoting absolute generic can get expensive, i think this approach goes well if you get a domain which is consisted of two words, one being your primary keyword second being some branded term for example KeywordBing.com! This option can also give you an option to have a domain which does not have TM issues, also allows you to register other cctlds and gtlds.
10:27 am on Mar 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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-Google doesn't really care that your domain is old, they care more about long term inbound links


We heard that domain age can be a trust factor for rankings
10:44 am on Mar 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Watermark all exclusive images
Have as strong as possible hotlink protection
2:27 pm on Mar 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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-Google doesn't really care that your domain is old, they care more about long term inbound links

We heard that domain age can be a trust factor for rankings

-Don't believe everything you hear
--Test test retest test again instead
2:55 pm on Mar 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Right - that's extremely important advice. Domain age as a trust factor was mentioned has one of those "may be used" things in the historical factors patent. A lot of the patents use "may" language - and you can't go running with any of that unless you test and verify.

A trust factor that "may" be in place is long time ownership by the same person or business - but that's not so easy to test, and it is even harder to fake it when launching a new site.
7:07 am on Mar 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

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-Better to have 100 great content pages than 10,000 auto generated pages

That's the point.
Since I realized long time ago that poor pages are making more harm than any good, I find many creative ways to isolate, improve, merge and remove them.
Better not having them at the first place.

Another important thing is to make the site profitable enough and versatile enough for potential buyers.
12:53 pm on Mar 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

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-Launching a new site today is a much more weird process with many more anomalies than in the past

Not sure I agree with that one, to me it's become more simple. e.g. the more simple my site the better.

I'd add choice of host into the mix, since 2011 Google downgrades sites just because of the host they are on if that host offers free/cheap hosting that has become a haven for spam. Don't start out in that crowd.
1:30 pm on Mar 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Watermark all exclusive images
Have as strong as possible hotlink protection

Amen to that!

In fact, it would be even better if the site launched with scraper protection installed. There is a TON of info here: [webmasterworld.com...] .

All that content that one writes is up for grabs before the new site`s reputation is established.
2:48 pm on Mar 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Great post!
It's all in the planning, create a business plan, spend time on it, ensure you cover all bases stick to it. When things need to change, do it in the plan, and emend it. All to often designers.developers work blind.

Mack.
8:23 pm on Mar 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Another items to add to a checklist:

A lot of web designers load the site on their own server for the owner to view before it goes online. They protect the site from search engines seeing it by adding the meta NoIndex. I've also seen websites where they forgot to take it back off once it goes online and this prevents indexing of the new site.
8:54 pm on Mar 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I have a question, If I find a fourm or blog that is relevant to my niche and it is a good pagerank; is there a way to check to see if the site is listed as a spam site?
9:50 pm on Mar 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I have a question, If I find a fourm or blog that is relevant to my niche and it is a good pagerank; is there a way to check to see if the site is listed as a spam site?

No..

But whilst we are on the same subject.. Block Blekko*..

From a webmaster point of view..

Blekko is all "take" and no "give"..why make it easy for the competition ? ..

If you are the "competition"..sites that don't block Blekko..make Blekko useful..

*applies to all sites of it's ilk..
10:13 am on Mar 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

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But whilst we are on the same subject.. Block Blekko*..

From a webmaster point of view..

Blekko is all "take" and no "give"..why make it easy for the competition ? ..

If you are the "competition"..sites that don't block Blekko..make Blekko useful..

*applies to all sites of it's ilk..

Amen to that! I had to block their IP ranges, UAs, headers, etc and then send Cease and Desist notices to finally get all my property off their servers.
10:10 pm on Mar 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I'll put my $0.02 on two points.
Start with a good CMS (content management system) that can grow without compatibility issues

To which I would add, make extensive use of include files to be able to instantly make site wide changes if your particular CMS doesn't make use of it.

Use a domain that is brandable and relates to your business, hyphens & keyword stuffed domains aren't ideal

I disagree and have never seen any evidence to support that theory. I absolutely see nothing wrong with:

Blue-Widgets.com
10:53 pm on Mar 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I was going to say what @sbook said. If this is supposed to be new advice for 2013 as the title says, I must be from the future cause all of those things my company has been doing for years.
1:08 am on Mar 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I disagree and have never seen any evidence to support that theory. I absolutely see nothing wrong with:

Blue-Widgets.com

I agree - there never was anything wrong with it. However, you might want to avoid Cheap-Blue-Widgets-Cityname.com
2:13 pm on Mar 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

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If this is supposed to be new advice for 2013 as the title says,

That isn't what the title says. As of 03/04/13 the title still says:
Advice for launching new websites in 2013

It says new websites not new advice.

.
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