The end is the just the beginning.
When working with an agency to develop a new website, launching your project often seems like the ultimate end-goal. In many ways, it is, in the sense that typically the site is launched and “handed off” to you, the client. Although instead of viewing this as the end of a project, you should consider the beginning of utilizing an important tool: your new website.
You just bought a drill from the hardware store. What are you going to do with it?
Websites are no longer a “set it and forget it” solution. They should always be work in progress (behind the scenes), as you constantly try to find ways to refine, improve, and implement new ideas into it. Websites are a destination that can be used to educate your clients, connect with potential future clients, and provide valuable resources to your target audience. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you tend to your website on a frequent basis. Check up on your SEO, try to improve user behaviour based on feedback tools, check in on your website’s speed, consider incorporating inbound marketing techniques, write blog articles to help educate your audience as well as help your SEO, and so on.
For all of these reasons, we always recommend that “launched” is better than “perfect”.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t take care in ensuring you have a beautiful and functional website before you launch, however, don’t let the small details hold you back! Much like buying a home, there will likely always be a list of “to do’s” on your list. I would argue that having a home, of any kind, is much better than postponing your move-in because you’d like to plant some tulips in the yard first.
Here are a few important things to consider when asking the question “should we launch our website yet?”:
1. Does the development website, even if “incomplete” in some capacity, functionally work and provide your visitors with the essentials that they require?
2. Does the current site being developed look better than your old site?
3. Does the site look nice, and function well, but there is just one more thing you think you should add?
If you’ve answered yes to any of the above questions, you should probably launch your new website, and make any tweaks accordingly moving forward. You’ll put your freshest face out there in the world, and only good can come of that.
You need to have essential information and content on your site, but keep in mind, sometimes the content that feels important to you might not be as important to your users. Are visitors still reading those annual reports from 2003? Do they make use of the embedded photo galleries from 2008? It can be helpful to check the analytics of your old site to see what users are looking for. We just want to help ease ‘analysis paralysis’ and add some trajectory to your business.