If you’re a reader of this blog, chances are at some point in your career or life you will be a part of a team that builds and launches a new (or improved) website. For those of you who have launched a website, how were the first couple of days?

Websites are a lot of work. They take weeks or months to plan, design, develop, create content and get to the point of going live. Website beta testing is done internally by your staff, your Web team and those you know. Given all this hard work, going live is a HUGE milestone, right?! It makes sense to want to tell people the day it goes live.

Wait a minute! Whether your site is a huge custom development or a “simple” content marketing website, testing your website once it’s live will happen. The day you launch is the day that you will find other hiccups, issues and items that may not work as you’d planned. You’ll receive questions, comments and feedback from your visitors – the good and the bad. So what do you do?

Well, you’re rolling out this brand new website and people are seeing it for the first time, so a “soft launch” is a good idea. Set it live, let it be out there, maybe have a few select customers check it out and provide honest feedback (and they will). Your Web development company should be on-hand to help you make modifications over the first week or two.

It’s only then, a week or so after your launch (maybe longer depending on the things you find after go-live), that you should start to promote the site. It’s then that you share the new link with your Facebook fans, post it on Twitter to your followers, email your customers and shout it from the rooftops.

All that hard work and I’m telling you to wait to promote your new website?! Yes. Give it a minimum of a few days for some hands-on website testing. You’ll get the feedback you need, find things you never thought of during development and have a chance to work some of those kinks out before the all-out promotion of the new website.

For those of you who have launched a website in your career, what was your experience like?

Rebecca Dutcher is a business development partner for Mindscape at Hanon McKendry