So you’re worried about your website. Is it perfect? Is it ready to launch? After launching websites for years we have some insights on: when is it time to launch your new website?
Hey everyone, welcome back. This week’s topic we’re going to talk about is, when is it time to launch your new website. This is an age-old question here, I think. It’s something that people get hung up on in the course of a project. You go through a number of design iterations, iterations of content while you’re building out your website. And in that whole process you can kind of lose clarity on when is it time to launch your site. I think this that there are two different answers to this question, only because there’s two different sets of circumstances.
The first one is if this is a brand new site and the second one is if this a redesign of an existing site. So to touch on brand new sites briefly; if you’re familiar with the concept of Minimum Viable Product you know that having an MVP. The idea is that you want to get something out to the public as quickly as possible so you can start getting feedback on it, and iterating towards something that people actually want. I think the same thing is basically true of a new website, especially if you have nothing up.
As soon as you have something that is presentable as a finished product I would say don’t worry about getting it perfect. Web design is not print. It’s not like once you put this out on the web it’s locked in stone and you can’t change it. I mean if you’ve got a marketing piece and it goes to press, I mean once it’s printed it’s printed. You can’t change it. You miss a typo, you know, you decide you want to swap out a paragraph of text or change the messaging, well it’s printed. But that’s not the way the Internet works.
On the Internet, especially with modern content management systems, pretty much you can change your site anytime you want. So when you’ve got something that’s presentable, put it out there. I think sometimes the put the bar too high on what Minimum Viable Product is. So what I would encourage you to think about is, if you’ve got something and you’re like, “we’re almost there, but this is and this aren’t done yet and we can’t, you know, or we can’t launch it with incomplete things.” Well often the simplest solution to that is to just hide those things if you’ve got incomplete sections. Maybe you’re working on a case study section, where you’ll have all your case studies created, yet just hide that section. People, and I’m not saying it’s not a benefit to have, but people in most cases don’t even notice the absence of things that aren’t there.
So if what’s holding you from just getting something out there and starting to get traction online, starting to get feedback, and starting to get traffic, if what’s holding you back is incomplete things – just don’t let that hold you back. Hide those things. Usually it’s as simple as removing them from the navigation r putting some pages in draft. Just get that thing out there.
The other scenario, of course is a website redesign. And with a website redesign you’re often replace an existing site. I often see people who are hesitant to launch a new site again until it has everything that the old site had, no matter how bad the old site is. I’ve seen existing client sites that are, I mean, abrasively painful to the eyes. They actively tell me I’m embarrassed about the site. I actually don’t even want my customers to go there, but they won’t launch the new site until it’s like all done. Again, I would encourage you, is to get a Minimum Viable Product. As soon as what you’re developing, as soon as your new site is better than the old site, launch it. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t completed every new feature you were going to develop. You can even be leaving some content behind if it’s content you don’t really need anymore, or if it looks so bad compared to the rest of what you’ve developed.
In general, the point of, when it is time to be launching your website, is basically as soon as possible. Don’t get hung up on, so much, on where that bar possibly is. Recognize you trump things down, you can simplify, and you can get something live sooner. So that if you’ve got a really bad site, then you can stop how you feel, stop being embarrassed about sending people there.
If you don’t have anything yet, it’s the sooner you’re getting traffic and gaining traction on Google. These site launches are not these magical rollout moments where the world is sitting there waiting for the launch of the new thing, I mean, unless you’re a large, established site already. In most cases people are just familiar with your site from the first time they hit it. And that means for them, you just get that one chance. They may come back later. But for most people and most businesses especially, if you’re focused on informing an audience and lead-gen stuff, it’s that first visit that’s the most important.
For them, whatever they see first, that’s your site. They won’t necessarily know that it’s incomplete. They may never know if you updated it again later. They won’t know what it was yesterday if they show up today. So bare that in mind when you’re making these decisions and don’t hold your progress up unnecessarily. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
So that’s really it for this week, a simple tidbit. I hope you found it helpful. See you next time.
For more information on what to expect in a website launch, check out our blog on core deliverables!