It’s shocking that the majority of small businesses in the US don’t even have a website—let alone a quality one—but don’t let that fact rush you into a website launch that’s not totally ready. This is your debut into eCommerce. It's your first impression, and you don’t want to drive away visitors from the start. Having a high quality site that features responsive design, hopefully mobile readiness, and search engine optimization (SEO) prowess is critical. Unfortunately, too many entrepreneurs jump the gun.
Entrepreneurs make many mistakes, from being too greedy, to hiring the wrong friends. Launching prematurely is another pitfall that’s easy to avoid. The good news? There are plenty of signs that your website isn’t ready (yet), and knowing them can force you to slow down, re-address the site, and ultimately launch a worthier online presence. The power of a network is a strong one, and you want to make sure your initial (and ongoing) reach is positive.
Here are a few signs your website’s not ready quite yet and what to do about it:
1. It hasn’t been tested for responsive design
The web developer you use should prioritize responsive design and talk about it openly with you. This is a means of creating and routinely testing a website to ensure it presents well and quickly on every platform and gadget. This is tough to keep up with since new devices are arriving on the market with lightning speed. However, if you don’t know, (via analytics), that your site looks great on every possible browser and device, you’ll lose customers—and they’ll think your site is terrible.
2. You’re a mobile ready candidate but haven’t jumped on board
Mobile readiness is a sub-category of responsive design, and it’s not for everyone, (or every website). Mobile ready can mean a mobile version of a site, an app, or both. If you’ve done your research and know you need mobile readiness, but you haven’t hired that app developer yet, then wait. Get the ultimate checklist from iMedia Connection, and hire that mobile readiness pro yesterday. It’s actually fairly quick, easy, and affordable to get this taken care of.
3. What SEO?
It’s phenomenally easier to start out with good SEO or local SEO (LSEO) than it is to, “fix” your website down the road. This is what determines where your site ranks for your keywords or key phrases. You probably won’t get the top spot right off the bat (especially for competitive keywords), but you can at least start out with an advantage. Remember: If you don’t exist on the first page of Google search results for many of your keywords, you may as well not be online.
4. It loads too slowly
This can be an issue with your web design, your web host, or maybe the user’s Wi-Fi connection. However, when speed is within your control, remember that it impacts both SEO and the user experience. Google researchers have revealed that the average person won’t spend even the blink of an eye longer waiting for a page to load. If you can speed things up, you’ll keep more visitors.
5. There’s no social media connection
Social media management, if that’s something you want to do, should be in place prior to a website’s launch. The social media factor is for community engagement, giving a face to your brand, and opening conversations. You should be linking to social media on your website from day one. It makes you look more professional and offers more avenues for fostering relationships.
6. Some information is missing
Whether it’s a, “coming soon!” page for the blog, or all your products aren’t available online quite yet, nobody wants a, "sort of," finished website. You can certainly offer a soft launch, open only to a select crowd, which is a fantastic way to get feedback. Otherwise, wait for completion. You and your business deserve that.
Nothing is worse than a website that’s not quite right, doesn’t deliver—or even drives away customers and traffic. You only have one chance for an initial launch. Make it count.