It Takes a Village to Launch a Web Site

It Takes a Village to Launch a Web Site

I completed a website redesign and set it up for launch yesterday. In typical fashion, the client shared the new site with his friends and peers online and presumably asked for a little feedback. Right away the client forwarded me an email from a friend of his who noticed a small glitch with the responsive layout.

Now, we try to catch every issue while in the pre-launch development stage. I pride myself in thoroughly testing development sites on desktops, phones, and tablets of varying sizes. Every now and then, though, something slips through the cracks and needs to be fixed after the site is launched.

How do you think I felt seeing this feedback from one of my client’s friends? I loved it. I thought, “man, it really is nice to have a network of people double-checking my work. It makes my job so much easier.” It also got me thinking …

It really takes a village to launch a website!

The whole point of a website? It’s there for the world to see as your digital marketing representative. So, doesn’t it make a lot sense that we should get “the world’s” feedback?

I learned very early on that my work has to stand up to critical eyes. Feedback, criticism, whatever you call it, is what sharpens the iron. It’s what makes our marketing go from good enough to great. To this day I’m immensely grateful for every flaw that’s ever been pointed out when I launch a project.

I’ve launched websites for clients in the past and didn’t see much sharing going on. Why? I don’t get that at all. If I put that much work into something, I’m damn sure going to show it off. This needs to be especially true for speakers since, by nature, speakers rely so heavily on self-promotion.

Even if it’s just your friends and family, you already have an audience. Use them. Launch to your parents, your siblings, your cousins, your bartender, past clients, current clients, and prospective clients that you’re talking to. Ask them to tell you what they really think about your new look. I don’t think this shameless self-promotion; it’s more like telling the neighborhood that you’ve remodelled your store.

The way I see it, you get two big advantages from this:

  1. You get extra eyes testing out your site and catching potential glitches.
  2. You get an excuse for an extra connection with people who might be on the fence about working with you or people who haven’t worked with you in a while.

I have a background in usability testing and let me tell you, companies pay big bucks to recruit users and have them go over websites with a fine-toothed comb. Having a network of people who can do that for you? That’s huge.

There is a BIG caveat here. Don’t let this turn into design by committee. Have you ever heard the expression that a giraffe is what you get when you let a committee design a horse? You’re just looking for feedback here, not turning over the keys to groupthink. You’re still the boss of your company, your brand and your online presence.

Not to get too philosophical, but the pursuit of perfection is part of what makes us human. The day we shrug our shoulders and decide that it’s all good enough is the day we lose our edge.

Your people are ready to give you feedback. Ask for it and embrace the results. It’s only going to help your brand.

What can your audience do to help you with your marketing materials? I want to know how other speakers are approaching this. Send me an email and tell me what your audience has to say about your website.

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