As a web designer, when I ask clients about their timeline for launching their new website, the usual response is: “As soon as possible.” This makes perfect sense as every business wants to put their best foot forward when it comes to their website. But there are often challenges in taking a website from concept to finished product in short order.
For one, hurrying your way through the process can lead to mistakes. It’s often the little details in both the layout and content that suffer from your rushing around. That could show up in the form of misspellings or even a broken layout. When you’re in a major hurry, the results reflect in the overall quality of the website.
Thankfully, you can save yourself a lot of trouble by taking some steps to ensure that you can get your site launched quickly while maintaining a high standard of quality.
Don’t Start From Scratch
When time really is of the essence, there may simply not be enough of it to warrant starting from scratch. Going through the process of building an entire website from ground zero will make it difficult to get up and running on time. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still have a beautiful, highly-functional website.
There are tools and services you can use that will speed up the process. A site builder, for example, will enable you to start out with a pre-designed template that you can customize to suit your needs. While it means the look of your site may not be 100% original, you can change things up enough to make it uniquely your own.
If you’re looking for serious functionality, using a well-made WordPress theme is a great solution. All of the hard design and development work has been done for you. From there, you can integrate any necessary plugins to add those must-have features. This will let you take advantage of the powerful WordPress platform without all of the extra effort.
This step alone will put you miles ahead in terms of getting things done within your desired timeframe.
Narrow the Focus of Your Content
Beyond the design process, the biggest cause for delay in getting a website launched is developing content. So it stands to reason that the more content you have to prepare, the harder it will be to hit your deadline.
If getting your website launched quickly is a top priority, then it’s okay to start small when it comes to content. While it would be nice to start things off with a few dozen carefully-crafted blog posts touting your business – it’s a bit impractical. Instead, think about the basics that visitors will need to know like the services or products you offer, contact information, etc.
Once your site is up and running, you’ll be able to add content at a comfortable pace. This can actually be a good thing in that repeat visitors will have something new to check out. The other advantage of starting small is that you can truly focus on making the most important content the best it can be.
Enlist a Helping Hand (Or Two)
Building a website isn’t easy. There will likely be certain tasks during the process that eat up more time than you anticipated. Things that looked simple in the beginning can turn into a complicated mess in a hurry.
When you’re mired in such a situation, bringing in an expert to help can get things back on track. That will allow you to focus on other parts of the project while your hired hand(s) can take care of whatever pesky issues arise.
But you don’t necessarily have to wait for something like this to pop up unannounced. For instance, if you know that there’s a specific part of the process that’s outside of your comfort zone, that’s the time to think about getting some help. Planning ahead will help you avoid a derailment while on the way to the finish line.
Make the Hard Choices
To paraphrase an old saying: If you want something that’s good, fast and cheap – pick two. The point being that you’re probably not going to get all three of those things at once. However, that saying may be less relevant for those who are able to make some tough decisions early on.
When “fast” is first on your personal wishlist, that means that you’ll inevitably have to make some tradeoffs. Maybe that means holding off on that complicated functionality until later on. Or it could be that you’ll have to take your focus off of other matters in order to get your website launched.
By making those types of decisions, you may actually be placing yourself on a path to achieve all three traits – or at least get close to it. When you realize that you can’t have “everything now”, you can concentrate your efforts on what is doable within the allotted time and budget.
In that way, maybe “good, fast and cheap” isn’t so unrealistic.
You Can Do It!
Sure, having a tight timeline for launching your website is a challenge. But it’s far from impossible. So often, we try to cram all of our wants and needs into the tiniest of spaces. The better approach is in taking that timeline and adjusting our expectations around it.
With realistic expectations, we can then turn our attention into building the best website possible. We can use tools and services to get us off to a running start. Content can be narrowed down to focus on our most pressing needs. And, if there are areas where some extra help would be appreciated, we can be proactive in seeking it out.
Perhaps the hardest part of the process involves deciding what has to be included and what can wait. But it may well be the most important factor in getting things right.
Keep in mind that launching a website in itself is full of hurdles to get past. Doing so within a compressed timeline adds even more obstacles. But with the right approach, you’ll put yourself in a position to launch a top-quality site in less time than you thought possible.