Around here, we’re staunch enthusiasts of a good celebration. And like the old saying goes, there’s nothing more worthy of a celebration than launching a website.
Ah, the Launch Party—often underrated, sometimes misunderstood, and always worth it. After pouring into a project over the course of weeks, months, and sometimes years, we think it’s irresponsible to let launch day pass sans fanfare.
Here are our ground rules for a successful launch celebration, many of which attempt to right the wrongs of the aptly named “Launch Party” episode of The Office:
1. Clearly communicate the terms of the launch and party
In the aforementioned episode, newly-appointed VP of Regional Sales Ryan Howard sends a website (Dunder Mifflin Infinity) launch press release to its branches, who will all participate in satellite launch parties via webcam. Fittingly, Branch Manager Michael Scott does the most Michael Scott thing he can do in this situation by misinterpreting that he’s invited to the “real” party at a sushi-laden club in New York City.
Michael recruits Jim Halpert to drive with him from Scranton, PA to NYC. In transit, Jim asks Michael for the address, which starts with “www”—the club is called “chat room”, and has a password to get in. Jim promptly turns the car around.
First things first: we typically work with our clients to find a non-critical time to launch sites for two reasons: 1) to allow any cached files to clear and/or domain changes to propagate and 2) reduce chances of disrupting anyone’s current browsing session. And when it comes to celebrating, it’s imperative our clients and partners get in on the action—we’ll be clear if we’re meeting up at our studio or hopping on a conference call.
Surprises, however, are fair game. We’ve been known to schedule unannounced donut and wine deliveries for our remote friends on Launch Day.
Either way, you can be certain a celebration is happening, passwords not required.
2. Don’t skimp on food quality
Confusion and controversy abound when Michael announces he’s ordered pizza for the Scranton party, but it isn’t immediately clear if it’s from Alfredo’s Pizza Cafe or Pizza by Alfredo (which differ in quality of ingredients and overall taste, according to Oscar). Michael’s poor choice of Pizza by Alfredo disappoints his team in the short term and proves catastrophic when the delivery boy’s reluctance to honor a 50% off coupon forces Michael to hold him hostage.
To say this is a cautionary tale is an understatement.
Our preferred food of choice is donuts, since most of our launch parties happen in the morning. Nobody casually gets donuts for breakfast—you go out of your way to get donuts. They come in boxes of 12 (or 13, I suppose). They look festive. Research shows you’re 150% happier when eating a donut (Google it). Donut shops even tend to have delivery services.
We’re spoiled in Syracuse when it comes to donuts. That’s why we’ll spend an excessive amount of time and resources locating the finest quality donut shop that will deliver to our clients and partners. We’re not in the business of bad pizza and kidnapped teenagers.
3. Don’t wait until launch to learn how to use the website
Over time, the launch of Dunder Mifflin Infinity proves to be a stumbling block for Scranton employees and divisive for the company. Later in Season 4, we see Ryan’s attempts to train everyone fall short, and ultimately lead Michael to accuse him of ageism. Things unravel from there: the site won’t credit commissions, Ryan’s arrested for fraud, and technology leads Michael to drive his car into a lake.
To avoid such catastrophes, site editors are entering content right in WordPress as early as our prototyping phases. We also provide tons of contextual instructions in the CMS and more detailed directions in Cookbook, ensuring team members have plenty of assistance when they need it most.
4. Don’t launch a site in hopes of outselling Dwight Schrute
He might just use his sales leads from that time he worked at Staples. Nothing we build will be able to compete with that.
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