How to Launch a New Corporate Website in 90 Days or Less
In a hurry to get your new website off the ground? Find out how to launch a corporate website in 90 days or less.
Believe it or not, deploying a great website for your business doesn’t have to be a lengthy process. With the right planning and a competent team at your side, you can get your website set up and ready to go in under three months.
All it takes is a well-defined vision and regular communication.
Websites can either be simple or complicated, and it will depend on the amount of customization you require. If you need to store user data or offer payment options, you should work with an experienced development team that has experience building websites similar to yours. Otherwise, labor could push your launch date back a little bit. However, you can stay on track with a little preparation.
If you don’t need complex features on your site, you’re in luck! You can hire a freelancer who will do a decent job giving you the essentials. There are some great template options out there to help you knock out your website in weeks.
However, corporate websites tend to demand more work. So how can you get your site up and running quickly?
Mapping Out Your Site Saves Time on Development
The most important thing you can do to keep your timeline short is to plan ahead. Know exactly what you features you want to offer users on your website. If it’s a simple website where people can explore your products and schedule an appointment, make sure you have a comprehensive list of those products ahead of time.
If you’re engaged in e-commerce so customers can buy things on your site, ask yourself if you want to use an existing API like PayPal or Venmo rather than create a proprietary payment system. APIs save a lot of time, and while they cost more than custom merchant services, people recognize and trust them.
So what happens when people visit your site? Close your eyes and imagine what you expect to see. Just writing down these kinds of details puts you far ahead of many other website dreamers.
Not sure what you want to include? Brainstorm with a sitemap planning template like this one. By knowing how to direct traffic, your users will have an easier time sticking around, helping you raise your SEO score, and attract more visitors down the road.
Find a Developer Whose Work You Like
Your web developer isn’t just a technician—they are an artist with a specific style. Don’t work with someone whose websites don’t excite you, because they will probably make something similar for you. Asking them to change their style frustrates them and costs you more time and money.
Find some websites you really like. Not only will they inspire you about how to make your own site, but they can also yield some important contacts worth talking to and asking about work.
Ideally, your developer is local. By working with someone in your time zone, you can keep in touch more easily and keep the project rolling. Some companies choose to outsource their development to other countries like India to save money. While this may cost less upfront, it can seriously cripple development and make collaboration difficult.
Establish a Clear Timeline
Once you’ve picked a developer you like, schedule a kickoff call to talk about specific timelines and milestones. This is crucial to keeping your project on time. By establishing expectations early on, you can safely ask them how things are going without bothering them.
This doesn’t mean you should helicopter parent your project, but it’s a good idea to know when certain points have been reached if you want to keep a deadline.
Your developer also benefits from these timelines. They can tell you if your expectations are unreasonable. If, for example, you want to fully customize your website by starting from scratch, a web developer can use a timeline to show you how long it’ll actually take (hint: not under 90 days).
Communication is key to a successful and timely project, so give yourself the advantage of clear expectations that you and your developer can agree on.
Hire Out Content Work Now
Looking to add photos and written content to your site? Once you have a sitemap plotted out, hire your content people right away. The sooner they get started on writing the words for your site, the better the chances are that they get the message right.
Assuming you have branding all squared away (a potentially risky assumption), your creative department should stick to branding guidelines so that all your content is consistent throughout the site. By developing this content in tandem with your website build, you’ll have a much more complete site to test out once the developer is ready to import content.
Make Changes Early if at All
Website development isn’t quick or easy. Unless you’re using a template kit with minimal customization, each adjustment requires hours of code changes by the developer. Some changes can be so big that they require altering the entire site’s functionality, possibly costing so much that you have to stop work.
Avoid this at all costs. Your developer is human, and making fundamental changes can result in mistakes and glitches. Save yourself time and money by only making essential changes.
To hammer the point home once again, plan out your site as well as you can. Ask your developer during planning if they have any recommendations about what to do to spiff your site up. Veterans of coding may have useful tips about what’s wrong with your approach and how to make it better.
Not All Templates Are Bad
If you want your corporate website to launch in 90 days or less, you should consider using some template layouts. Your web developer may have some ideas of what to do so that you can spend more time perfecting your website than developing its skeleton.
While you may want a totally customized website, the chances of users thinking, “wait a second… this looks like a template,” are very small. Take the opportunity to use software that’s already bug-free and ready to go, rather than demanding that every aspect of your site be fully created by you.
How to Launch a New Corporate Website
If you remember nothing else, spend lots of time planning. Knowing what you want and what to expect will help you and your developer focus on clearing up bugs and usability errors instead of going back and forth about which blue shows up best on a smartphone.
Why not hire some freelance UX designers to go over your sitemap? You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to get an outside opinion on what works and what doesn’t. Plus, having someone else proofread your work could yield some great new ideas about directions to go.
Your idea should morph and adapt throughout the process, so have fun seeing what comes out.
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David is the Co-founder and CEO of Goji Labs. David loves working closely with passionate founders to understand their vision and help them build beautiful applications while focusing on risk-mitigation. As an author, he focuses on informative and educational blogs that enable our clients to make the most of their businesses.