Our site update is getting closer to completion and you may have noticed in the last several posts that we’ve released updates in phases. Four to be exact: blog update, website update, content revision, and SEO element revision. Hopefully those last two were less obvious or invisible to our visitors but this phased rollout raises the question, why not get all the updates set up and then do a single launch? Neither a single launch nor a phased rollout is appropriate for all situations but each offer unique advantages that trainers, consultants, and professional coaches should consider when rolling out an update.
- Phased Release
Phased releases have the advantage of evaluating elements of your update without the whole project going live. It’s an important aspect of the AGILE process and allows for intermittent testing and analysis. It also allows for individual elements to launch faster rather than waiting for the whole update to be go-live ready.
- Single Launch
Launching an update all at one time is a more traditional method but still offers advantages. Cohesion is the biggest benefit. For example, if you are updating a layout for an email campaign, it’s best to have the design fully fleshed out rather than launching with a half-developed concept. A single launch can also be used as a promotional tool if the update is significant enough that it might draw attention from your audience.
In our case, launching the blog update gave a badly needed refresh to our posts while allowing us to test the template before deploying it to the rest of the site. While the interim period lacked cohesion between the site and the blog, we were sure to have a post explaining the process. Once the template was deployed site wide, it was an obvious choice to make content and SEO element updates live as they were ready because they were unlikely to be visible to our visitors.
Phased launches are often most beneficial due to their expedited go-live process and ability to test the results. However, a solid production schedule must be defined and followed. If your digital marketing often gets postponed or you’ve struggled to adhere to deadlines, then a single launch might be a better fit. A perpetual “under construction” notice or half-baked appearance gives your audience the impression that your marketing, and therefore your product or service, is not your primary focus. A phased rollout that gets stuck mid-change causes confusion, often looks unprofessional, and might negatively impact your processes.
If you can logically break up your project into multiple releases, do a phased launch. If you can’t see any natural breaks or are uncertain of your ability to consistently move through those releases, do a single launch.
Step one of updating our blog (and the site) is complete with a new theme. The next step is to finish our theme customization and launch the layout site wide. We don’t update our site layout as often as we should so it provides a clear illustration in how technology has evolved over the last few years. The options, sophistication, and ease of an upgrade makes significant advances in such a relatively short amount of time. But do these advances make us spoiled and lazy? If you aren’t putting in the effort to meet your desired result, then yes. It’s your responsibility to provide the resources necessary to professionally deliver your digital marketing.
As we weighed themes and what base layout we’d like to establish for our upgrade, I browsed reviews for user feedback. I happened across this review with some very specific requests for a “boring” theme. I happen to agree with the poster that many themes are over-designed and create additional work hiding elements that aren’t necessary. I thought the rest of the post suggesting that developers should strive for the specific set of features that the poster desired was absurd.
I’m a home improvement DIY person. Most projects go fine . . . some don’t. Recently, I falsely believed that replacing my gas dryer was going to be a simple process. I knew the steps involved and had all the materials, however I wasn’t prepared for the gas hose to be corroded onto the gas line. Since I was already a bit wary of working on gas, I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and called a plumber. It was a simple job for the plumber who had a giant wrench and a particular technique to unscrew the hose from the pipe.
Sometimes an easy job for a professional is an impossible job for a less experienced person. Imagine if I had asked the plumber to bring his giant wrench to my house and walk me through separating the hose from the pipe. Most people would agree that’s ridiculous yet here’s a post asking for almost the same thing from a theme developer.
WordPress themes are typically built on a series of CSS and PHP files. All the code that drives that theme is accessible which means with some work it can be customized to whatever layout you want. Furthermore, many themes will document those files to make it simpler to make the edits for customization. It’s not the theme developers responsibility to spoon feed it to you.
As technology becomes all pervasive there seems to be a feeling of entitlement that users should be able to do anything without putting in the effort or resources to achieve it. Just because some things offer simple point and click or drag and drop, doesn’t mean that all things can or should.
Let’s be grateful to the theme developers that typically provide a solid foundation for site builds. If you need functional or layout customization beyond that, it’s your responsibility to seek out the resources or professionals to do so. Don’t be lazy about how you implement the technology because it’s extremely unlikely that the perfect solution will fall into your lap. Take responsibility for implementing your own perfect solution.