When you decide it’s time to start a new business and launch a website to make sales and build connections, you find yourself facing an avalanche of choices.
One choice that your developers will ask you about is the scope of your website, and how long you’re willing to wait to get it launched and perfectly ready.
For business owners who aren’t willing or maybe can’t afford to wait, launching your website in phases is a great alternative. Not only does it help cut the costs of up-front expenses by spreading it across more time, but also it has a lot of other benefits beyond cost.
What is Phased Development?
When developing a website, it’s important to identify the key pages in your project, and what elements and pages are a “nice to have”.
Phased development will begin with page design, and then coding and layout of the most critical parts of your website. This means it will launch with a sitemap made up of the key pages, while new features and pages are developed in the background and launched over time.
This is in contrast to all-at-once development, which is when a website isn’t launched until all coding and design is complete.
The Benefits of Developing a Website in Phases
- 1. Fewer development delays. With focused development phases, your website is less likely to fall victim to “scope creep”, the temptation to add just one more thing. As well, when you’ve launched phase 1 of your website, delays in new phase development are going to have a smaller impact on your business, as your Phase 1 website is still up and running while you get the next steps perfected behind the scenes.
- 2. Your first customers get the most important information, right away. When launching a new website, you’re up against a lot of competition and confusion. Phase 1 of your business website will provide core information in a fast, relevant way, and respond to customer confusion early, which can inform your next phases.
- 3. Launch day confusion is highly localized. If you have any trouble with hosting or content, the fewer pages you have to fix at the last-minute, the better.
- 4. Less work for you. If this is your first business or ecommerce website, there is a learning curve involved with maintenance and upkeep that can be very surprising and time consuming to new business owners. It’s the difference between keeping a one-bedroom apartment tidy, and a two-story house. For instance, many businesses are tempted to add many paths to new content, such as a blog or news section. In order to maintain them, you need to update both frequently, which many business owners can find overwhelming.
- 5. Long-term search benefits. One gigantic pile of content isn’t Google’s favorite thing to see. You’re going to see search traffic benefits in the long-run if you release content over the course of 4-6 months. New pages and sections of your site will tell Google that this is a website someone is taking care of on a regular basis, which means Google will return to re-index it on a regular basis as well.
- 6. Make data-powered improvements. It’s easy to build a laundry list of website options that you want to include at launch. Waiting for data to show you how your website is being read and used means that any new and customized development you add to your website will be based on user data and – ideally – feedback.
Remember, when working with your developer on a new website, you don’t need to do everything at once. It can be more affordable, and easier to add content gradually and with the benefit of experience and data.
Talk to ATAK about what type of website development can work for your business. We aren’t afraid of a large, custom development job, and we’ll help you make the development decision that’s right for you.