Learn how to beta test a website before launch. Why?
New websites are exciting.
New websites are a lot of work.
And, new websites will have potential issues at the time of launch.
What?! You ask… We know. Websites take several weeks or months to plan, design, develop, create content and get to the point of going live. You are proud of your work and you’ve reached a “finish line” and you want to celebrate it and show it off. Trust us, when we help clients launch a new website we want to do the same thing.
Experience has taught us that we must wait, a week or two at least, before promoting it via email, social channels and press releases (if people still do that).
Whether your site is a complex, custom development solution or a “simple” lead generation website, as soon as you get approval to go live, you want to share it.
1. You Will Get Edits the Day Your Website Launches
Yep, this happens every single time. The day you launch is the day that those you asked to provide feedback and edits will find other edits they want to be made asap.
You’ll receive questions, comments and feedback from your team that approved it in the first place. You may even find things that you didn’t notice when it was in development. Be prepared for this type of input the first several days it goes live.
2. Things May Not Work Like They Are Supposed To
You may encounter small hiccups with links working and minor propagation issues, or even some functionality isn’t quite working right. We have clients who utilize other third-party platforms that are integrated with their websites which have setting changes of their own.
When DNS changes are made, not all things “switch over” at the same time, causing some user experience issues. And, if you’re using premium plugins for WordPress, some may need settings updated when moving from the development to the production environment.
3. Some People Simply Will Not Notice
All that time and effort, all of those hours spent proofing and testing and we tell you no one will notice?! Sadly, yes. Websites are updated and enhanced all the time.
We’re in a day and age where App updates, website updates and enhancements are added regularly because these are evolving solutions. This SaaS (Software as a Service) mentality gives way to the fact that upgrades are always happening. Facebook does it, Google does it, most everyone does it.
What to Do Instead? Beta Test and Soft Launch Your Website
As you roll out your brand new website, people will see it for the first time whether you tell them it’s new or not. Thinking of this as a “soft launch” is a good idea. Set it live, let it be out there, maybe have a few select customers check it out and provide honest feedback, (and they will).
Restaurants and retail stores do soft launches or openings – they’re open, things are working, but they are testing their systems, processes and people.
Your Website Development Company Should Be On Standby
Once you launch your new website and get more feedback or run into any “bugs”, you’re going to need your web development team to help.
A good web design and development company should have already informed you of these potential “issues” and prepared for them. They should be on-hand and available to make the modifications or fixes over the first week or two.
So, When Can You Tell People About Your New Website?
We always tell our clients to wait a couple of weeks (maybe longer depending on the things you find after go-live), before you start to promote the site. You’ll have had time to test it more, have more of your team review every link, detail, and function in the production environment, and know it’s ready.
Now it’s time to celebrate a bit! Go ahead, share the news with your Facebook fans, post it on Twitter to your followers, email your customers and shout it from the rooftops. Make sure you share WHY it’s new and improved for them – your visitors.
- We made information easier to find, added new resources, etc
- We created a portal where you can now access up to date customer information
- We’ve added new functionality to make it easier for you to shop and find what you’re looking for
It’s not a big deal if you updated the site to make it mobile-friendly or responsive. We know it is a very big deal for you and your visitors, however, all sites really should be mobile friendly these days anyway.
Have a Trusted Marketing Agency Beta Test Your Website
Don’t get us wrong, we LOVE celebrating new websites with our clients. You’ve started this process to make information easier to find for your visitors, and also to provide more benefits for the company in general.
As we said at the start, websites are a lot of work. When they go live it is a time for celebration – just make sure you keep these things in mind and give yourself time to ensure the site is ready!