There’s a whole lot that goes into keeping a website project on track and on schedule. It requires a regimented process, planning and setting deadlines to stay on track towards launch.
It’s pretty typical towards the end of a website build for there to be items that might have strayed from the schedule or unexpected issues that are taking longer than intended. When you get to this stage of a website build project, it’s tempting to put a pause on the launch, this is understandable. Clients, rightly so, want their website to be as perfect as possible before sending it out into the wild! However, that’s not always realistic or even the best launch strategy and often, launching an imperfect website is actually more beneficial than waiting until all the loose ends are tied up.
In this blog post/article, we’ll look at the best reasons you should launch your website even if it’s not absolutely perfect, how to determine when it’s good enough to launch, and tips on where to go from there.
Reasons to ‘Go-Live’ with a website before it’s 100% ready
When it comes to launching a website, the idea of ‘complete’ is variable. You’re in the driver’s seat and you have the power to dictate and change what ‘complete’ actually means. If there are some missing pieces of content that are not ready, that’s okay, your visitors won’t notice. Good websites should be updated with new content continuously anyway, and that kind of thing can be added later with ease. An effective website is a dynamic one; your website should always be evolving, growing and improving over time based on factors like marketing efforts, audience needs and monitored analytics.
Even with some lingering items, your new website is better than your old one, or the one you don’t have yet. If you’re updating/upgrading your website, it’s likely because your current website is no longer hitting the mark. If there are lingering items to deal with on the new version, take a step back for a moment and evaluate it against the old version. I’m pretty confident that your new website is still miles better and still leaps ahead of your old one.
You shouldn’t hold up the benefits of the hard work already put in. Putting a pause on the launch of a new website means delaying the benefits to your business. You could be missing out on sales or leads the longer you delay it. Are the few tasks you are waiting to complete worth the possible loss? The answer is almost always, no!
Your audience doesn’t care and they won’t know the difference. Leaving out certain bits of content, functionality or launching a ‘phase one’ version of a feature, doesn’t have to badly affect the user experience. As long as everything is working and the most important content is in place, your audience can still effectively use your website.
Launch in stages. Separating out any lingering items into launch stages will help you to get your website up and running while still making sure that all tasks ultimately get completed.
Putting a pause on the launch of a new website means delaying the benefits to your business. You could be missing out on sales or leads the longer you delay it.
Determining what really matters for launch
All being well, you’re ready to get your new website launched, but now the question is, ‘what tasks are a pre-launch priority and what tasks can wait?’
Anything that affects the functionality negatively or the user experience should obviously be a priority before launch. This includes things like:
- Missing content or elements that are crucial to your primary goals.
- Content issues, such as grammar or spelling errors and broken hyperlinks.
- Broken functionality… obviously!
Some examples of things that shouldn’t stop a website from going live are:
- Missing pages or content sections that are supplementary.
- Missing (or not quite the right) photos that don’t impact content.
- Additional features/functionality outside of the original scope.
- Marketing automation and any other integrated marketing features. It’s always best to launch first and monitor traffic/users before planning or integrating any marketing automation features or campaign planning.
As a general rule, ask yourself: is this part of the website necessary for my website to succeed? If the answer is ‘yes’, it should be a pre-launch item. If the answer is ‘no’, then consider moving it to a later phase.
Anything that affects the functionality negatively or the user experience should obviously be a priority before launch.
Planning out the next steps
Once you know what things need to be completed for launch and which items can wait until a later stage after launch, it’s time to put together a plan for completing those tasks. Consider the following tips during this process.
Develop phases. Decide how many phases are needed to complete all tasks and what those phases will look like. For example, you might set up groups of tasks for each week until they are completed.
Make a schedule and stick to it. Assign deadlines for each task in order to ensure that things don’t drag out.
Determine how to deal with out-of-scope items. If there were additional features that were decided upon later in the website build, determine how these items fit into the new site and how they will be carried out.
The moral of the story, it doesn’t need to (and probably never will be) perfect! It’s almost always better to launch sooner rather than later, start generating leads and sales, then add the finishing touches, additional features and functionality. A good website is never really ‘complete’.