Setting Your Website Launch Expectations How to Prepare Yourself for the Highs and the Lows

How to Prepare Yourself for the Highs and the Lows
June
24th, 2020
Keyhole - Content Marketing - Joe Dudeck
Joe Dudeck
President + Founder
June
24th, 2020
Keyhole - Content Marketing - Joe Dudeck
Joe Dudeck
President + Founder
Setting Your Website Launch Expectations

Managing a website launch is a big deal that takes a good amount of time and effort from many people. You can compare it to building a house. Before any wood gets cut, thousands of decisions get made — from choosing a plot of land to choosing the knobs on the kitchen cabinets. In between lies a wide spectrum of issues that concern many players – the architects, developers, construction workers, interior designers, landscapers, and of course, you. With the cost of the design and construction of a house, it’s no surprise to you that the project required a lot of time and effort or that there were technical issues that needed to be wrapped up at the end.

We need to have the same expectation when it comes to website launches. We’ve seen it before, clients get excited about their new website and often start to fall apart when they encounter issues or don’t hear the positive feedback they were expecting. They get caught up in the hype and forget that all good things take time.

In order to manage realistic expectations for a website launch, we’ve provided some helpful tips we’ve learned over the years.

1. Ask Yourself Grounding Questions

Before a big website launch, it’s important to give some time to remember why you started this process in the first place. At this point, you and a team of experts have poured days, weeks, and months into creating the site, but now it’s time to re-evaluate.

  • What made you decide to go after a new website?
  • What was the key differentiation with this site from your old site?
  • Who is your key audience? How are you addressing their needs with this site?
  • What do you want from your site visitors?
  • What for you would make for a successful launch?

It’s not enough, though, to simply ask yourself these questions. Bring them before your team and have them answer on their own. Likely, the answers will sound similar, but it might reveal some expectations that are set too high. Remind your team of how an effective website can benefit your business, but keep bringing everyone back to earth. Ground your team and know where everyone stands.

2. Know the Facts Before Your Website Launch

One of the keys in setting realistic expectations is knowing what’s true and what isn’t when it comes to site launches. For instance, did you know that new websites often see a temporary dip in SERP rankings? This is due to Google needing to re-index your website, old redirects still sitting on your new site, bad error codes existing from technical issues. These are all fixable, but know what you’re getting into so you aren’t startled when issues arise.

3. Communicate With Your Web Developers

Understanding how things circulate in the background can be one of the best ways to set realistic expectations for a website launch. It’s understandable to be giddy about the release, but it’s vital that you know what’s going on with technical elements.

Make sure the development team is being clear with you about milestones they’ve crossed, issues they’re running into, and ways in which you can help. This way, if there is a roadblock, you aren’t caught off-guard and can hopefully address it and move forward.

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4. Don't Be a Perfectionist

Even though you want everything to be functioning well and looking beautiful, the truth is you’re probably going to be the only one who notices some of the errors. Still work hard to double and triple-check things, but learn to be okay if things aren’t spotless.

Need tips on practical things you can review prior to launch to put your mind at ease? Here is a short pre-launch checklist for you, the client, to review once the development team notifies you before launch.

  1. Make sure text is accurate and error free.
  2. Make sure placeholder images are removed with final images.
  3. Make sure copy reflects your brand messaging and story.
  4. Make sure formatting is correct for headers, paragraphs, and lists.
  5. Test navigation and clicks to ensure user experience is good.
  6. Test your links within the site and outside the site. Make sure nothing is leading to broken pages.

5. Plan the Website Launch Celebration, Not the Parade

Managing a website launch is a big deal, especially if you’ve spent a good amount of time combing through all your content and setting everything up to accurately reflect your business and act as a communication channel. It’s no small feat. This is an act the be celebrated and promoted, just like anything else you do in the business.

That being said, you should not plan for the circus to come to town over this launch. Rather than envisioning every reaction by every person, just let it play out. Let people respond in their own way. Don’t feel the need to over-hype or seek out exuberant response from all your supporters. Celebrate with your team and get back to work on supporting the new site.

6. Remember That No News Can Be Great News

The majority of feedback customers give tends to be negative. Think about your own life. Do you typically go out of your way to wage a complaint or share praise? For most, it’s the former.

The same applies to your customer base. If you don’t hear anything from them, that may actually be a great thing. It may just mean that you communicated your message clearly. Again, we recognize you want to hear all the bells and whistles once the site goes live. But more times than not, customer are happy the new site is up and will find what they need all on their own.

Website launches are tedious and take focus, effort, and time to get it right. We know, because we’ve been there. It is our responsibility as website designers and marketers to help set realistic expectations and manage those moving forward.

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