By Joshua Lucas

Issue # 12

Wednesday, May 27, 1998


The day has finally arrived. You've answered the last questions from the designers and your site is ready to be launched. Is this the time for you to sit back and relax? Nope. Now is the time to introduce as many people as possible to your site and to keep your eyes open for new opportunities.

One of the first things to think about when the site is launched is how you can incorporate your new URL into any and all of your advertising and literature. Whether it is your latest flyer or your business cards, put your URL on everything and watch as new customers begin to visit. Personally, I'm really impressed by a company that puts their URL into their advertising; it seems those sites are some of the first ones I visit when I connect to the 'Net.

Another way to get out the message about your site is to have it rolling off the lips of all your employees throughout their day. Make it a policy that when a customer leaves your store they know about what's new on your site. If they have been asking questions which are answered at the site, it is a perfect chance to tell them about it. You'll be amazed at how a few well-placed comments can cause people to flock to your site. In an earlier column, we talked about how a majority of 'Net users generally go to sites which their friends and co-workers have passed along. What a great chance it would be for your site and business if you could simply tap into that kind of word-of-mouth.

As your site matures, listen to customers and their comments about it. If they come into the store and mention the site, try to find out everything that they thought about it. What did they like? What didn't they like? Find out if they got lost in the site and couldn't find their way back to the front page. Those little things that can sometimes get overlooked during the design process can make or break a person's opinion on how much they like a site.

"Lucas, Joshua Lucas". . .writes for a living. By day he writes software, and by night he weaves words. Josh has coded in Java, C, C++, and Perl for some of the hippest and most recognizable companies in the US, including The Gap, Starbucks, Nike, and Nordstroms. Josh's rich experience, coupled with his diligent daily research, places him as close to the "cutting edge" as you can get without falling off. He and his wife recently moved from Los Angeles, CA to Boston, MA.

Spend some time looking over your advertising and literature. Try to plan how you will incorporate your URL into absolutely everything. And don't forget to keep sending me topics you'd like to learn more about!

Some of the best feedback will probably come when you check the site's e-mail. Generally when a visitor feels strongly about the site, be it good or bad, they will send a quick e-mail right after their visit. It is important that these e-mails be looked at and if need be, answered in a very timely manner. If the visitor sent a scathing review of your site and how they got lost and didn't know where anything was, try to start a dialogue with them and see how you can better their experience the next time around. By answering quickly and professionally, you can turn a bitter enemy into a very loyal customer.

Your main thrust in dealing with the site after launching it is to be excited about it. Let people know that it's there. But most importantly, make the communication two-way so that you can take their input, turn it around and make your site that much better.

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