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Is your castle ready for users to storm the gates?

Good content has now been declared King. What sometimes gets skipped over is where the King is going to live. He needs a really strong castle to be found by the search engines and withstand the onslaught of users storming the gates. More >


A Good Party Can Be Messy

[ Back to POV ]

November 14, 2013

Ever plan to have company and you run around cleaning like crazy trying to make everything looks perfect before they arrive? We all do. It’s human nature to scramble to make a good impression.

But then what happens? The company arrives, they kick their shoes off, mess up the pillows on the couch, drop crumbs on your freshly vacuumed rug not even noticing every last detail of your frantic preparation. And guess what? It doesn’t matter because they are having a great time! They are not focused on those tiny details that you fretted over. They are happy to be invited over.

The same analogy somewhat applies to your website. I’ve seen businesses that have no website presence on the internet at all, or a site that's archaic, fret over every last detail before launching, wasting months of valuable time. No matter how we encourage them to pull the trigger they just can’t do it. Why?

One reason is that a lot of people still equate a website to a printed brochure. They feel they only have one shot to get it right, then it goes up and the whole world is there gasping with amazement. If there is anything wrong there is no chance to fix it.

But that is an outdated belief and this is why.

Websites have evolved into 24/7 broadcasts that are constantly growing and changing. In fact the search engines are looking for the sites that have consistently changing and relevant content. That's part of how you get higher search rankings on Google.

Plus the visitors that come to your site are usually invited or driven there by an e-blast or an ad, so you can put it up and just hold off on inviting anyone to visit.

Like when you’ve built a house. You get the house up, painted, halfway furnished, but you still have your "to do" list. It doesn’t mean you can’t live in it, and have a few friends over. You’ll hold off having the first big blowout cause you want to make a big splash. (Equate that to a major advertising campaign or press announcement.)

But then how long do you wait? Most people are not going to notice the tiny, microscopic details that drive you crazy. They're wowed by the big picture.

Of course this theory doesn't include absolutely crucial functionality. If the user is expecting to be able to buy a product, fill out a form, sign-up, or find information, the website must absolutely be ready. Think about the recent debacle with the governments healthcare website. No one would have cared about a typo here and there, but not having the ability to find an insurance plan and sign up? That's an embarrassment, a broken promise, and a public relations nightmare.

So what does this mean to you as a business? It means that you can launch that site even if there are a few things you want to change—a picture, a caption, a callout. You don’t need to hold up the entire launch for a few minor things. Get that site up. Get users using it. See what the feedback is. Chip away at that punchlist.

Make sure when you engage a website firm that you are allowed to make some minor adjustments for 30 days, but don’t drag it out over months. That’s not quite fair is it? The designer/developer wants to know the project is done and get paid, so do the final review in a timely fashion. And stick to what was originally contracted for.

We understand your stress. I could show you a list a mile long of changes we have planned for our site. But yet when someone visits 99% of the time we get rave reviews. Visitors to our site are getting the correct impression and information that they need.

Can it be better? Yes absolutely. But hey I want company over now, not a year from now. Life isn’t perfect, your house isn’t perfect, and neither will your website. Like your house, it will get messy with use and you need to clean it all the time.

By Sherry Bruck, President and Creative Director