My new website is live, now what?
November 16, 2010
Your site has launched. You’re still getting pats on the back from the rest of your team and you still have that “I just accomplished something big” glow. Things are good. Just don’t forget that there’s no such thing as a finish line for a web marketing project.
So, now that we’ve taken some of the wind out of your sails. Here are the next steps:
1. Squash the Bugs
Take care of the immediate issues that have cropped up now that the public is visiting and using the new website. Prioritize the issues as much as possible in order to get them completed. Anything affecting form submissions, checkout or transactions should be at the top of the list especially if any customers are persuaded to take their business elsewhere as a result of the issue.
2. Analyze Feedback & Overview
Coordinate the feedback you’ve received from internal sources (other departments, co-workers and other associates) as well as early feedback from partners, customers and the public.
Do what you can to listen in to unfiltered user feedback. For example, if you’ve launched new web forms and customer interaction points, make sure your e-mail address is receiving a copy of those unfiltered messages direct from your users. Reviewing the unfiltered feedback is the best way to initially review feedback and ensure that as the person most familiar with the website - you’ve got a solid handle on it’s impact and reception by the marketplace.
Given that the site has been live for several days or weeks at this point, log into your analytics tools and spend a brief amount of time poking around. Look for anything out of the ordinary and verify that everything is being tracking and measure appropriately.
3. Review the “we do that after we launch list”
When the errors have been resolved and the project is stable, it’s time to review the remaining items on your to-do list for the short term. Any internal items that your marketing team can handle should be tackled first. Copy-writing changes, adding/editing or renaming existing pages, updated related content, basic search engine optimization.
The initial feedback and analytics analysis you’ve conducted should help to prioritize any items on the list as well as contribute some new items to the list.
To get started with the first round of post-launch updates with your web team, look for easy targets to keep the ball rolling. Examples might include new buttons, updates graphical elements, style updates (font colors, styles and positioning). Keeping momentum moving in a forward direction is important because it ensures that the site instantly reflects that most recent round of updates and that the original development and design team is still focused on your project.
4. Plan and budget for next steps
If it hasn’t been decided already, decide how much budget is available on an ongoing basis (in addition to hosting and server maintenance) for site enhancements and development.
Nothing is worse than a site with a copyright date from three or four years ago.
Based on the outstanding items available and the amount of budget available on a monthly basis start with the most pressing items and begin progress down the list of priorities. While the development team is actively working on one project, begin the planning for (specifications, resource allocation and estimation) for future projects.
The Post-Launch phase of your web project marks the transition from “Let’s Launch!” to “Let’s Make It Better”.