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Authors often ask me, “How do I know if my author website is ready to launch?”

I love this question because many authors use the wrong approach.

Here is my philosophy for effective website launch timing.



Your Website is Not a Book

After a book is published, there’s nothing you can do to fix it. So books go through a long editing process to try to get the book as perfect as possible. Promoting a book is all about the initial launch trying to get as many people to buy the book on day one as possible. This is the easiest way to hit the best seller lists.

Websites are different. Using the book launch approach for your website is the 100% wrong approach.

Launch Broken, Then Never Stop Improving

When Wikipedia launched, it was awful. It had hardly any articles and the articles it did have were bad. But every day a committed team of volunteers made it a little bit better until it became as reliable as Encyclopedia Britannica and one of the 10 most visited sites in the world.

This approach can work for your book website. Slow continuous improvement over time will give you far more results than a intense one time effort. Many authors are terrified that if they launch with problems the world will see those problems. So they delay the launch of their site for months. They don’t realize that when they launch their website virtually no one will visit it that first day.

Results take time. Plant early. Hoe often. Click to Tweet!

Plant Early Hoe Often

Benefits of Launching Early

The key to an effective website is to launch early. If you’re not launching your website early, you’re missing out on couple of key opportunities.

  1. Better SEO – Google uses website age to influence how it ranks. Older sites get the advantage. Every day you wait to launch makes your site one day younger. Launching early starts that ticker sooner.
  2. Early Feedback – No one’s going to visit your website when you first launch it except your close friends. These friends can give you feedback on how to make it better.
  3. Discontent – If you feel that your website is perfect when you launch it, then you will be unlikely to do the continuing work needed to make it successful.

Soft Launch

If your website is better Thomas Umstattd
New restaurants do something called a “soft launch” when they first open. This is where they turn on the “open” sign but do zero promotion. This slow start gives them time to tweak the recipes before the people flood through the door. You should use this approach with your website. Slowly let people know about the new site and have your “grand opening” weeks or even months after your site initially went live.

Tweetables –

  • The key to an effective website is to launch early and then iterate often. – Click to Tweet!
  • Your website is alive. You need to treat it like a garden, not like a brochure. – Click to Tweet!
  • If your website is better every time your readers visit, they’ll keep coming back. –  Click to Tweet!
  • The key to an amazing author website is continuous improvement. Not perfection.-  Click to Tweet!

Doing it Right

Great examples of continuous improvement are Michael Hyatt and Mary DeMuth (an Author Media client). Michael and Mary are constantly tweaking and improving their sites. Their sites are never perfect, but are better than they were. If you would like some encouragement, go to the Way Back Machine and take a look at what these sites used to look like. You will see that these sites are always “under construction” in one way or another.

Need help making your website better? Schedule a free 15 minute consultation with one of our author website experts.

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