There are many elements in a website design project. Elements may include the overall strategy, the site map, site contents, design, coding, search engine optimization (SEO) and additional functionality. With so much to track, it's easy to let the website design project roll on forever. It's tempting to keep tinkering and adjusting the various components until they're perfect. But you should remember that while you're editing the website, it stays on your designer's temporary server for testing or on your desktop - and never gets launched. This is counter-productive.
While it's important to launch a website that looks professional, it's also perfectly OK to launch a site that isn't 100% finished. Launching a site that's not perfect can actually help you! Once your site is live, you'll be able to: - Get Feedback: While you're working on your website, you're working in a vacuum. Even if you're working with a designer and testing it out with some of your clients, you'll only be getting input from a few people. Once you launch it you'll be able to ask all of your visitors for their impressions and feedback on your site. Improving it with this extra help will really speed up the process and the site will be improved much more quickly. - Get Found: The faster you can launch something, the better.
The search engines won't find you the instant your site is up! If you launch it you'll get more time to work on the site while giving the search engines more time to find you. Once the search engines find your site they will start referring business your way. And that's the whole reason you're creating this website, right? - Refer Clients To It: Imagine if you could spend less time trying to make sales. One way is to refer clients and prospects to your website.
If you put your 80% complete website online, you can send those inquiries to your site instead of spending time answering questions. And that time will be freed up for you to work on your website. It winds up being a win-win for everyone. So, if you have a website that's partially done, get it up online now! Go ahead and launch the site, even if there are whole pieces missing. Say you still have to finish spicing up the copy, or have a few more pages to add.
Even if you haven't hooked up your newsletter subscription or your shopping cart yet, just go ahead and launch the site - it will help you bring in more business while you're finishing your website project. A website that's out in the world does you a lot more good than a website that's sitting on your computer, stuck in development.
Erin Ferree is a brand identity designer who creates big visibility for small businesses. Her workbook, "Design a Website That Works", will walk you through all of the questions that you need to answer in order to create the best possible website. http://www.elf-design.com/http://www.elf-design.com/products-webWorkbook.html