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OK, you finally hired a web design company to rebuild your hopelessly obsolete website. All of the new content is there. Brand new, modern search engine optimization has been done. Your images are clickable to expand, your Home page is by the book Google Panda, and your new site is interactive, with calls to action, contact forms, great navigation and modern artwork. Your web designer asks if you’re ready to go live with it. You tell him you’re not ready yet, which baffles him.

I am going to tell you how I used to respond to that. I say “used to”, because every single client I ever said this to absolutely HATED hearing it.

A website is NOT a movie premier.

There. I said it. If your website is ready to go live, except for the fact that you’re not sure about the image in your header, I guarantee that you didn’t want to hear that. But it’s true.

Your new website will take awhile to be seen by search engines. Every day you postpone going live is another day your old website is out there looking obsolete, with old information, bad search engine optimization, and every thing that made you want a new website in the first place. Here’s the real deal:

Nobody cares about your header image.

Nobody cares if you haven’t gotten your About Us page perfect yet. Nobody cares if your Gallery page isn’t quite the way you want it yet. And if they did, your site visitors aren’t the ones you want visiting your website. If you have a business website, there are two main things you should care about; that the content they see is compelling, and that your search engine optimization gets them to your site.

One thing I am “evolving” on is the whole concept of Home page sliders, and all of the bells and whistles on Home pages in general. While they can be useful for certain kinds of websites, for most clients, I don’t want site visitors distracted by a bunch of eye candy. I want them looking at the content, then clicking the calls to action to go further into the site.

So while a business website needs to be visually appealing, modern, efficient and to the point, what it REALLY needs to do is sell your products and services, provide a way for clients to interact with you and ask questions, and represent your business better than your competitors. So, as someone who has designed literally hundreds of small business websites, I cannot say this strongly enough:

Your website should go live the second it is better than your old website.