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Launching a New Website? Don’t Forget to Check These 10 Key Elements Off Your List

Website Launch Checklist

It’s hard to overstate the importance of having a website for your brand. Today, your next customers are connecting with businesses and doing their product research online, via search engines, review platforms, and social media networks - which can all help funnel users directly to your personalized landing page. 

Having a unique, handcrafted website that is functional, responsive, and optimized for search engines can go a long way in helping your business stand out from the crowd. Your brand website is also a powerful marketing tool. It’s your calling card, your elevator pitch, and your sales funnel, all rolled into one. Your website can help your brand reach new audiences on search engines like Google, and help convert curious visitors into lifelong customers. 

If you’re nearing the end of your website design and development process, you’ve probably been over all this - and then some! You’ve talked about design. You’ve discussed creating compelling calls to action and functional conversion tools. You’ve thought long and hard about the importance of UX. 

Now, it’s time to move into the last phase, and start fine-tuning your site so it’s ready to launch. It’s time to look over the little details, to make sure your website is going to appeal to audiences, and rank highly with search engines. Before your site goes live, it’s also important to start planning for the future, and develop a strategy for all of the maintenance, performance, and security tasks to come. 

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The 3 Elements of Web Development (Hint: Don't Start with the Template)

If you're as addicted to caffeine as we are here at Geek Chicago, you already know that a cappuccino is one-third espresso, one-third milk, and one-third foam. It’s that rule of threes that makes this iconic drink 100% delicious. 

Now, we’re not saying that building a website for your brand is just like making a cappuccino. But it is a process that takes skill, experience, and, of course, the rule of threes.

In this case, we know that there are three central elements that go into creating a great website, one that will help you attract and convert customers for years and years. Those three essential elements are:

  • Content
  • Design
  • Template

… and the order that you should prioritize them in may be different than you’d think!

For a Great Website, Don’t Start From a Template

In our experience, many people are quick to jump to that third bullet point, without taking the time to consider the other two.

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5 Things to Consider When Designing Your Website

Looking to refresh your website? Starting a new business and ready to set up your online “forever home?”

Well, by even considering these questions, you’re off to a great start… and likely miles ahead of some of your competitors.

Having a functional, accessible website is one of the most important things you can do to secure future business. More importantly, having a sound strategy in place when implementing a new design can:

  • increase your chances of securing leads
  • help solidify your existing customer base

Need some inspiration to get started? Consider these five essential areas when preparing to launch a new website…

1. Efficient Backend Engine

A foundational part of website design, coding dictates how your site will function. In essence, this is the infrastructure of your site. It’s your building material, your foundation – and so, it’s critical that you make great coding a top priority as you prepare to build your site.

With that said, it’s important to consider what goes into constructing a functional, efficient site today. The web development process may have changed a bit since the last time you worked on a website.

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The Value of SEO: How Search Can Benefit Your Business

Graph highlighting the benefits of SEO

What is the value of SEO? 

To answer that question, it helps to understand what SEO is all about. For businesses of all sizes, SEO - shorthand for “search engine optimization” - means executing a strategy to help position your website highly on search engine results pages, or SERPs. It’s about making sure that your brand is visible to searchers who turn to Google or Bing looking for general information, specific answers, or a local service provider. 

SEO is a complex and ever-evolving process, which involves many moving pieces - like audience research, keyword analysis, industry research, content creation, backlink building, page optimization, and technical website improvements (to name just a few parts of our typical day). 

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How to Use Social Media and Content Marketing to Build Your Brand Authenticity

In an age of fake news and clickbait content, authenticity for your brand on social media is is more important than ever. It may sound like a no-brainer, but there are missteps you can take that can turn consumers off, and stop your next customers from choosing to engage with you online.

But what does brand authenticity even mean when it comes to business?

Defined by the Journal of Consumer Psychology, brand authenticity refers to:

“the extent to which consumers perceive a brand to be faithful toward itself, true to its consumers, motivated by caring and responsibility, and able to support consumers in being true to themselves.”

The meaning is right there in the name: if your content marketing and social media efforts remain authentic, people will recognize you. The more they recognize you, the more likely they’ll be to engage with you. The more they engage, the more likely they’ll be to recommend you to friends and followers. We could keep going!

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How Do 5-Star Reviews Affect Your SEO?

Businesses of all sizes, from across many different industries, can benefit from turning their attention to generating and curating positive reviews, as part of a process that we call online reputation management.

Time and again, studies have highlighted the remarkable power of positive reviews. For instance, did you know that 92% of customers read online reviews, and 68% trust a local business more if it has positive reviews? Or that brands typically see a 5-9% increase in revenue by improving their Yelp rating by just one star?

And one of the most important benefits of cultivating and sharing glowing reviews is (almost) as old as the internet itself. We’re talking about our geeky bread and butter: search engine optimization, or SEO.

What do positive reviews have to do with search engine success? Where do stars and SERPs overlap? How does getting more five-star reviews equate to greater rates of organic traffic – and more conversions – for your business?

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Google Reaffirms the Importance of High Quality Content for SEO

SEO is an art, a science, a skill, and a mindset. And, at times, it can also feel like a bit of a mystery - even to experts in the industry. 

SEO 101

Let’s back up a second. First thing’s first, it’s important to note that SEO is shorthand for “search engine optimization,” the process involved in getting website content to rank highly with search engines like Google or Bing. With an SEO strategy in place, a brand can make sure that its content is high on the list of a search engine results page, or SERP - a powerful way to secure inbound traffic and warm leads, without having to spend and strategize on paid advertising. 

SEO is one of the most effective and dependable forms of inbound marketing there is. Every day, millions of eager searchers turn to Google and other search engines to find everything from “new car” to “how to unclog toilet.” This is a massive audience that can be directed from a SERP straight into your conversion funnel, whether they’re at the very beginning of their buyer’s journey, or almost ready to make a purchase. 

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Client Success Story: Cage + Aquarium

Based in Chicago, with services available in San Diego and the San Francisco Bay Area, Cage + Aquarium Productions is a premier event DJ, emcee, and photography service. Cage + Aquarium connects event hosts with industry-leading DJs and photographers. Their expansive roster of DJs offer in-depth music knowledge and hundreds of hours of training on turntables with Scratch DJ Academy, while their photographers bring a natural eye for visual storytelling and the skills to realize their clients’ vision. 

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Optimizing Your Site for Lead Generation: Here's What It Takes



Is your website primed for lead generation and conversions? Let’s dive in and talk about what this important question really means - and how you can take concrete steps towards generating more leads right now.

Conversions: A Major Part of the Digital Marketing Puzzle

When all parts of your digital marketing strategy are working in harmony, something amazing happens. Your website is well-designed and responsive. It hosts stunning, informative content, which you amplify over email and on social media to extend your brand reach. Your on-page and off-page SEO are on-point, generating consistent, quality traffic to your site. Everything operating like clockwork - that’s a beautiful thing. 

But even in cases like this, it’s still possible that you’re not seeing the conversion rate that you might be hoping for. And at this point, worry sets in. 

After all, you may be thinking, what use is all of this traffic and brand engagement if people aren’t actually signing up or buying anything? 

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Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).