No matter how technical it might look, building a website is a creative labor. The choices you must make for your website, the type of content you will use to give your website life, and the visuals that will attract and hold your customers’ attention can be propelled by statistics and best practices. But they are ultimately a part of a creative process, and as such, they are prone to questioning and delays.
The world of digital business is fast-paced. Every minute your website is not online, you are losing customers to your competitors. It’s no wonder, then, that many businesses choose to launch their website as soon as possible, even if it’s not completely done. Launching an incomplete website can sometimes be a good choice, but it does have serious drawbacks you need to understand.
Why Would You Launch an Incomplete Website?
The usual reason why you would launch an incomplete website is a failure to meet deadlines. When the launch date for your website comes, and there are still parts of the website that are not ready, you might decide that you should launch anyway. Granted, this happens when the thing that’s not finished yet is not something that’s central to the functioning of the website.
Usually, it’s a page that contains some content or additional features that are not paramount to the goal of the website. You won’t launch an online store without a completed checkout process. But you will launch it without a blog section, for example, because you can add that later. Or you can add an “about us” page later. These are the things that are left out and added at a later date. Sometimes, it can be perfectly fine to do this, and your customers don’t even have to notice that your website has incomplete areas.
Where Does the Trouble Begin?
When the customers notice the incomplete areas, the trouble starts. It turns out that people are not happy when they navigate a website and land on a page that says “coming soon,” or something like that. Your website’s visitors are on a journey through your website, and an incomplete page presents a wall that stops their journey when they hit it.
This translates into lost opportunity. People will not want to browse an incomplete website. It will increase the level of uncertainty, it will seem unprofessional, and it will not send the trust signals your website desperately needs. So while launching your website early might help you get some eyeballs on your website, the people who visit will probably not do what you expect them to do.
How to Avoid Issues with Incomplete Websites
Often enough, sections of your website will be at work even if you’ve launched your website years ago. Incomplete sections happen because people have to constantly update their websites, improve their content, or add new products or services. Your goal should not be to never have any part of your website incomplete. It should be to never let your customers know that something’s not finished.
How do you do that? Well, if you’re updating your website, don’t take down the previous version before the new one is done. And then pick a time when your website gets the least traffic to do the update or upgrade. If you’re launching an incomplete website, don’t include any links that will lead the visitors to the incomplete pages or sections. You don’t have to advertise the fact that something’s missing on your website.
You should also understand that adding a “coming soon” page doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If you’re planning to launch a new product or service and you want to keep your visitors informed and hyped, a “coming soon” page is necessary. However, the type of information it should contain is very different from the information that appears on an incomplete page.