When designing and developing a new website it is tempting to try to do everything before launching it. My recommendation is to launch your new or updated site early and then make regular, incremental updates.
A good website is never finished; you are always making updates/changes/revisions to it. If you build your site on a flexible framework, one with an easy-to-use content management system, then it makes it that much easier to go back on a regular basis and continue to make updates and changes.
For example, take the Nuts & Bolts Interactive site. Just a few days ago, we went live with a newly designed site running the latest-and-greatest version of formVista. While the new site represents an enormous change in both look-and-feel and content there is a huge list of things that we still want to do:
- Updated Client List: We want to include a thumbnail and brief description of each project listed on the page.
- Search Engine Optimization: It’s time to make another pass through the site to update page name, titles, and descriptions.
- Add Better Business Bureau logo/accreditation page to the site.
- Upgrade the Buy Now PayPal payment/button for the Live Demo purchase to the complete PayPal Shopping Cart Bolt-On.
- Write a full capabilities statement and have it as a PDF download on the Services page.
- Add client testimonials to various pages of the site as pullquotes.
- Update the NBEmail interface to match the new website.
- Technology Section: An entire section detailing the technology used to power the websites that we build and the infrastructure on which it runs.
- Update the NBI Twitter page background
- Update the Logo on our FaceBook page
- NBI Labs Section where we post new technology and open-sourced projects that we are developing
- Add a new Marketing Services section to the site.
And thats just a partial list!
The point is, that there is always something that you will want to add or update on your site, but that trying to get it all done before a launch hurts you more than helps you because you dont yet have the most important pieces of content live and available for your prospects and clients.
So, if you are going to follow the launch early and update often approach what do you focus on:
- Look-and-Feel: If you are redesigning then get the new look and feel sorted out. Once you have settled on how it will look you can always add new pages and content down the road.
- Top 5 Things: What are the top 5 most important things that need to be changed on the site New products A new sales pitch Free resources The specific items will be different for each site and the challenges that they face. Deciding on what they are and getting them done will get them up and out there ASAP.
- Everything else goes on your ToDo list: As you are working on your top 5 items you will certainly come up with more things that you want to do. Just write them down and then prioritize.
With this approach you will get a new or updated site out early and make regular updates and changes to the site. With each incremental update you then have a reason to send out an announcement or press release driving traffic to your site to highlight your new content.
If you have any questions or need some ideas for your specific business situation, feel free to give me a call at 301-956-5400, post your question to the NBI Forum, or send me an e-mail.
— Ryan Chapin
President, Nuts & Bolts Interactive, Inc.