If your website isn’t launching your business isn’t launching. If your website isn’t relaunching, then your business isn’t relaunching. Or you’re not intro’ing your new products or services. Your new brand identity. You’re stuck.
I’ve contributed to over 1,100 websites and web applications since the dotcom boom. The majority got stuck, which I define as taking longer than 4 months. There’s only one valid (and quite rare) reason for a new site taking more than 3 or 4 months yet this is still a common occurrence today. And a small site can take less than a week, if you’re willing to invest in that outcome. That includes everything: design, write, build, and launch.
Agencies that bill hourly or monthly don’t mind it taking longer, of course. Or employees who need busy-ness. But setting aside self-interest, here’s why I see website launches getting stuck from the business owner’s perspective:
- Linear thinking. A while back I wrote that website redesign is a state of mind as opposed to a one-off project with a beginning and an end. When you embrace this reality, you worry much less about launching now and revising later.
- Being thorough. Being thorough is a good thing, right? Wrong. Not when everyone tries to put everything they know into the business website. Take a small business of experts. Let’s say 10 people. These people could each right 100 blog posts about what they know. That’s 1000 blog posts worth of what the company knows. Aside from being time-consuming, this causes hard-to-navigate bloat and weak content.
- Unclear positioning. This is related to #2 – the more content you launch with, the easier it is to lose thematic focus. You might have many product lines, many services, many great employees, many types of clients. That’s all great. But there should be one theme to rule them all. It should echo repetitively throughout your website. When you try to weave multiple themes, you end up stepping in the tarpit of weeks spent crafting intricately complex headlines and taglines.
- Perfectionism. One or more perfectionists are dominating the process and making incredibly convincing arguments – to themselves and others – why the web needs to be delayed. This is because they are afraid. Not to sound trite, but don’t be afraid. Or at least recognize perfectionism for what it is.
- Meetings. Avoid open-ended meetings while you are launching. They are a platform for perfectionism and second-guessing to fester. On the actual web design and development side, opt for Agile style standup meetings that spur momentum rather than kill it.
- Editing. This might be perfectionism, or it might just be a genuine love of editing. Or it might just be comfort with the feeling of being in a creative, pre-launch zone. Whatever the case, in this phase the site content, imagery, spacing, navigation, and everything else, is edited, added to, and re-edited in never-ending cycles.
Try this instead – take these momentum-assassins and make them rewards for launching.
Let your grammar-freak spell check after the site is launched. Let your web developer optimize for speed after the site is launched. Let your marketing person optimize for SEO after the site is launched.
You can even hold a long, open-ended meeting about how to make the site even better after the site is launched.
And here’s the best one: content thoroughness. If only all your employees – and you as the business owner – had the courage to share everything you know as portable content (in writing, audio, imagery, or video).
Or even just what you know that occurs to you pre-launch. You can even look at the redesign process as a an opportunity for content marketing ideation. That section you wanted to add, edit, red-edit, debate, etc,, about your discovery process? Make it into content. Same for deep-dives into your services and solutions.
I’d keep a list of ideas like that – getting to use it is your reward for beating the 4-month deadline.
Have a nice launch (:
Footnotes & Errata
- I acknowledge that some people merely enjoy taking lots of time to produce websites. They have no external time dependency. They have no budget constraints. They enjoy the process. If that’s you, then bless you – and take your time. But you’re also an outlier!