Whether you're designing a brand new website or redesigning an existing one in order to give it more flair or functionality, there are certain things that you should learn to expect. After all, even though you may not get morning sickness or have trouble getting up off the couch, launching a new website can be like birthing a baby. But without much of the pain, of course.
Finding the Right Person for the Job
You have no idea how many times website design has been conducted by a "close friend" who took an online course or two and has ensured that everything will go smoothly. Classes in web design have become so plentiful that anyone with a computer and half a brain thinks they can do it just as well as everyone else. Learn a little HTML, imbed a few Flash videos, and you're all set, right? Wrong! Designing a website is a serious task, one not to be taken lightly. While your friend may be good at what he or she does, you should definitely test their knowledge and ask for real-world examples before bringing them onboard. Designing a website isn't exactly rocket science, but it's important that the person you choose for the job knows the ins and outs, and can handle any issues that might crop up.
Expect Some Sporadic Downtime
If you're building a brand new website, downtime might not be something you need to worry about too much. This is a much bigger issue with the launch of a website redesign. When someone attempts to access your new website, it can sometimes be a toss-up as to what they encounter. Some may see your new website, which is obviously a good thing. But others may still access your old website or simply get an error that doesn't allow them to see anything. This is an issue of downtime. The reason for this is a bit convoluted at times, but for the most part, it comes down to the fact that your information is being cloned for thousands of servers around the world. This process doesn't take an extended amount of time, but it's not instantaneous. Depending on which server a person is attempting to access your site through, they may see something other than your impressive new website. The problem may be worse if you've changed your URL address. But don't worry -- this effect will be temporary.
Be Prepared for Bugs
Like anything that's connected to the Internet, your website may have problems that you are unable to foresee. Even the most popular websites in existence can experience bugs in its operation. Images may be missing. Links may not function properly. Areas that are meant to be clickable may not be. Just ask Rockstar Games -- when they launched GTA Online last year (which isn't a website, but still counts), their system was full of bugs, some of which provided users a way to cheat the monetary system they had set up to keep the "community" running.Although these problems can often seem like the end of the world, try not to fret too much and remember that even Disneyland had many glitches when it first opened to the public. You can avoid some of these issues by thoroughly testing your website before its launch, but unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to catch everything. Just take it all in stride and fix the problems as they come along by employing someone with a bit of expertise.
Websites Are Fluid
Even when you've nailed down the most awesome design, compiled all the right content, have created a phenomenal user experience and completed all of the SEO, your website should continue to evolve and change. This isn't a brochure. After you launch start evaluating your traffic, conversions and overall online marketing strategy and adjust. Sometimes what you thought would be great when you launched ends up not working out. Adapt. Websites that stay stagnant are those who start to lose traction. Creating a new website or even a website redesign can be an exciting prospect, but it's not something to be taken in stride. Once you know what to expect, it's a lot less stressful, which will allow you to push forward without fretting too much about the smaller issues. Good luck and keep pressing forward!