Most estate agencies treat the launch of their website like a strive to build something perfect. A finished article; a marathon race, with a sprint to a finish line. “We can’t possibly launch until it’s perfect”. That’s understandable, of course – you want to get it right.
But at Homeflow, we don’t think that’s the right way to look at it.
It’s not like Joe Public is waiting on eagerly for the launch of the new website to see what it does differently from the old one. We can kid ourselves, but they just don’t care about us that much. They want the website to be brilliant… at doing what they want it to do, at the time they want it to do it. And that might be today, tomorrow or the next day. So we want to make it brilliant as soon as possible, and then improve it with every ongoing move.
Even email campaigns won’t drive that many people to see your new launch just because it’s new. We study the traffic data around launches like a hawk, and if there is a steady flow of 200 people/day visiting your site the day before you launch, then you can be pretty confident that there will be 200/day, steadily for weeks after until your improved SEO kicks in. (Aside: if you are interested in understanding traffic flows around your site, join HF benchmarking).
So, the actual measure should be: “Is this better than my current site?”. If the answer is yes, then launch immediately. If your current site has significant speed, or SEO issues, or if it doesn’t work on mobile, then launch as soon as you can. It’s easy to forget the big picture of the driving need for upgrade, once you get dragged into the detail of launch preparation. The benefits of SEO improvement can take months to bleed through, so launch NOW. Get the show on the road. Launching now has enormous monetary value if it brings you SEO improvements two months earlier than delaying in pursuit of “perfection”. It could be worth £10ks per month, so that delay actually cost you £20k or £30k from this year’s profits.
Indeed we think there is a good rationale to advocate launching sites with the same content and navigation structure as your existing site, which will help make it much easier.
In sum: we believe that launching your site is just the start. The first move, in a game of chess. You need to see how the traffic settles, then you need to work on content. Then someone (a competitor, or Google, or maybe the web at large) will blind side you with a new feature or idea… You need to respond, react, and change.
There is NO advantage to waiting, the 200 people that visit tomorrow, will be different the day after. So get it out there, and get the increased benefit from tomorrow’s 200. We can make it even better for the 200 the day after, and we can work from there.
None of this is to say you should launch when shoddy. Please don’t mistake this as a call for that. But we hope it helps keep things in perspective – it’s a call for you to launch as SOON as it is licked into approximate shape, as it will already be a 10 fold improvement on what it is replacing, so don’t be precious.
Your site will never be finished. It will never be error-free. Think like a real internet business: iterate ahead of the herd. You should always be building and improving your website platform. Indeed this is exactly why Homeflow charges monthly licence rather than big build costs. Our licence includes all the base ongoing upgrades to our system – a massive advantage of working with Homeflow over our (seemingly cheaper) competitors. They don’t have the same model of keeping you up to date, but come cap in hand for each and every little change. Suddenly it’s not looking so cheap, so you opt out, and go out of date instead, (which is even more expensive in terms of opportunity cost, of course).
In short: your website is a journey, not a destination.
So, let’s get cracking. There are instructions to be harvested.