Why it's okay to launch a website that's not perfect (and how to do it the right way)

Website launch
There’s a lot that goes into keeping a website project on schedule. It requires strategic planning and setting deadlines to stay on track towards launch. It’s common toward the end of a project for there to be lingering items that might have strayed from the schedule or unexpected issues that are taking more time than intended.

If you get to that stage of a project, it’s tempting to push back the launch of your website. This is understandable. Everyone wants their website to be as perfect as possible before sending it out into the world! But that’s not always realistic, and often launching an imperfect website is actually more beneficial than waiting until all the loose ends are tied up.

In this article, we’ll look at the top reasons you should launch your website even if it’s not perfect, how to determine when it’s good enough to launch, and tips on where to go from there.

Reasons to launch a website before it’s completed

The concept of “complete” is variable when it comes to a website. You have the power to define and change what “complete” means before launching your website. If there are some missing pieces or content that’s not quite ready, that’s okay. Websites are meant to be updated continuously, and those items can be added later. Keep in mind that an effective website is a dynamic one; your website should always be changing—and improving—over time based on factors like analytics, marketing efforts, and audience needs.

Even with lingering items, your new website is better than the old. If you are updating your website, that’s likely because your current website is no longer cutting it. If there are lingering items to handle on the new version, take a step back and evaluate it against the old version. Chances are, your new website is still leaps ahead of where you started.

You shouldn’t delay the benefits of your hard work. Pushing back the launch of a new website means delaying the benefits to your business. You could be missing out on leads or sales the longer you wait. Are the tasks you are waiting to complete worth the potential loss? The answer is typically “no”!

Your audience won’t know the difference. Leaving out certain elements or launching a “phase one” version of a feature doesn’t have to negatively impact the user experience. As long as everything is functioning and the most important information is all there, your audience can still effectively use your website.

You can stagger out additional work. Separating out any lingering items into phases will help you to get your website launched while still making sure that all tasks ultimately get completed.
Pushing back the launch of a new website means delaying the benefits to your business. You could be missing out on leads or sales the longer you wait.

Determining priority for launch

So you’re ready to get your website launched, but now the question is what tasks are a pre-launch priority and what tasks can wait?

Anything that negatively impacts functionality or the user experience should be a priority before launch. This includes elements such as:
  • Missing content or components that are crucial to your primary website goals
  • Content issues, such as spelling errors and broken links
  • Broken functionality
Some examples of elements that shouldn’t hold up a website launch are:
  • Missing pages or content sections that are supplementary
  • Missing photos that don’t impact content
  • Additional features outside of the original scope
As a general rule, ask yourself: is this element necessary for my website to succeed? If the answer is “yes,” it should be a pre-launch item. If the answer is “no,” then consider moving it to a later phase.
Anything that negatively impacts functionality or the user experience should be a priority before launch.

Planning out next steps

Once you’re clear on what items need to be completed before launch and which items can wait until later, it’s time to put together a plan for completing those tasks. Consider the following tips during this process.

Develop phases. Decide how many phases are needed to complete all tasks and what those phases will look like. For example, you might set up groups of tasks for each week until they are completed. Figure out what works best for your team.

Make a schedule and stick to it. Assign deadlines and responsibilities for each task in order to ensure that things don’t drag out indefinitely.

Determine how to handle out-of-scope items. If there were additional features that were introduced late in a project, determine how these items fit into the new website and how they will be carried out.

Consider feedback and review analytics. While you work through remaining items, keep an eye on the analytics for your new website and make note of any helpful feedback. This will help you to identify any underperforming areas of your website where additional work might be needed, which can help you prioritize tasks.

Learn more

Check out these related articles for more helpful tips on launching and managing your website:
Ready to revamp your website? Start here

About the author | Kayleigh Circle

Kayleigh is a web developer at TBH Creative, specializing in front-end development and responsive design. She likes to blog about a variety of web design topics, including design tips, the latest trends in the industry, and how to make your website more successful.

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