Thursday, January 10, 2013

Launching your site is only step 1

Launching a new website is only the first step.  Most companies think as soon as they launch their website they are done with it.  They spend so much time and money on designers, copy writers, developers and consultants that as soon as it launches they stop thinking about the website and focus solely on marketing and advertising.

Launching a website is the first logical step, and as a first step it is the hardest.   Worried about making a good first impression, we spend far too much time trying to make everything perfect.  The problem is that this often leads to a website built for you and not your customers, a launch that no one notices, and an outdated website only months later.

  1. Focus on marketing and advertising first.  You can create a social buzz and the anticipation will increase interest.  
  2. Put up a splash page or social profile to start collecting leads before you launch.
  3. Make a first impression first.  Send out regular emails to interested parties and post updates on your social profiles.  There's nothing that says your website has to be your first impression, and keeping your future customers in the loop makes them feel special.  You could even send them some mocks to get real feedback.
  4. Don't stop developing when you launch.  A successful site launch will generate lots of data.  It's important to analyze this data to see if the site is being used the way you intended.  You may notice something you overlooked during development and there is always room for improvement.
  5. Time is your enemy.  Time changes everything.  Your Janis Joplin shirt and tie-dyed pants may have aged well, but your website will not.  You should review your site for advances in function and design at least every 6 months.  You don't have to revamp your website every quarter, but it is important to keep up with the times.

Launching a website is less about the action of (finally) launching a site and more about the beginning of a journey.