A fear of launching your new website (aka: launch fear) is all too common, and something that can be incredibly detrimental to your stress levels – and your business as a whole.
Here we’ll discuss why launch fear can cause havoc with your business, and what you can do to beat it so your website can go live on time and on budget.
What is launch fear?
You decide you need a new website. So you find a web developer and designer, and you get cracking. It’s all very exciting at first. But as time goes on, you find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed.
As the launch date approaches, you begin second-guessing your website – and your business:
“What if people don’t like our new site? What if it breaks? What if we get too many enquiries and I can’t cope? What if everyone hates our business idea??”
Soon enough, you lose motivation to launch and decide to postpone until next month – just in case.
Then the next month turns into two months. Two into six…until suddenly you’ve talked yourself into a complete rebrand and website redesign.
Why is your fear of launching a problem?
Launch fear doesn’t need to go as far as this to be a problem. Even a month’s delay could see you missing out on valuable new business.
Rest assured, you aren’t the only one worrying about your website’s launch – your web developer should already be well aware of what can go wrong.
And they should have all those serious issues taken care of.
So once you remove the genuine problems, the vast majority of worries you’re left with are just hypothetical.
As hypothetical worries aren’t focused on any particular goal (and therefore don’t have a measurable end-point) they can lead to the most serious launch delays.
Not to mention the loss of potential business while your new website gathers cobwebs.
Launch now, tinker later
We recently discussed the advantages of building a minimum viable website.
The idea here is to create a website that includes the absolute essentials for your website launch – then measure, test and refine it later.
The minimum viable website is the perfect approach if you sense your launch date getting farther and farther away.
Launching on time and within specifications will save money and maximise profit because you’ll get your products/services in front of your customers faster.
And if you leave the tinkering until after launch, you’ll have collected accurate data on which to base any additions or changes.
While it’s good to strive for perfection, it shouldn’t be at the expense of your new website going online on schedule.
Websites are malleable – especially WordPress ones. So your site doesn’t need to (and shouldn’t) stay exactly the same as at launch.
A successful website isn’t just launched and forgotten about – it takes ongoing maintenance, review and revisions.
Often this is a case of tweaking the content rather than the design or functionality. Even so, as you become more familiar with your site over time, it’s often possible to make even some of these more technical tweaks yourself.
Beat launch fear with a soft launch
Software companies usually take a ‘soft launch’ approach – releasing a beta version to a select group of users before general release. Apple for example, pre-release their operating system to developers so they can identify and iron out any final bugs.
A simpler variation of this type of launch is ideal for overcoming any nagging launch fear. While organising a beta release may not be practical for a small business website, it’s simple enough to put your website live without too much fanfare.
Rather than going all out with ads, promotions and grand announcements of your new site, you can just put your website live and keep it relatively quiet. This is known as a soft launch.
Once any site is live, it takes time to gain traction in search results and for people to come across it while online.
It’s during this stage, while your site’s seen by a relatively small number of people, that you’ll have plenty of headspace to assess what works and what doesn’t.
You can even do your own testing in person, using friends, family and colleagues as guinea pigs. See how they use your site and ask their suggestions for improvements.
Then, as your business (and online audience) grows, you’ll identify improvements you hadn’t thought of prior to launch.
According to the Pareto Principle, 20% of input generally produces 80% of output. In other words, your website will be 80% of the way to ‘perfection’ with just 20% of your total input.
So, whatever your business goals, the more time you invest in getting your site online, the more opportunities you potentially miss out on.
Better to launch on time and reach for those opportunities as efficiently as possible than keeping on tinkering in the hope of achieving so-called perfection before launch.
There’s always plenty of time to tinker later.
If you’re still worried about your new website launch, get in touch to discuss how we can help.