What to Expect When You are Expecting… a New Website.


I just got out of a meeting with my marketing team where we discussed an ongoing website project that is nearing completion. In the last week, the team has had several phone calls with one of the client stakeholders of the project who has been stressed out at the prospect of the new site launching. 

We were discussing it in our meeting this morning and realized that it isn’t uncommon at all for key personnel for the client to experience anxiety or stress as we approach the launch of a new site. Change is uncomfortable for most people, and many clients rely solely on their website for lead generation, so this feeling of anxiety is totally understandable.

The question is, what can you do about it?

First of all, manage the client’s expectations from the start. With good communication, you can help raise their awareness regarding what is coming. Make sure that you maintain good communication throughout the life of the project; it is a heck of a lot more comforting to experience something with foreknowledge than without it. You could say something like this:

''The website is going to change, and you will probably feel a little uneasy about it, don't worry this is natural, just remember this is a change for the better.''

If you have done a good job communicating this to your client, then they will remember the sentiment when they start feeling anxious and will be better equipped to deal with it.

The second thing you can do is remind your client that this change isn’t permanent. Years ago in web development, we would create a site based on our experience and knowledge and trust in the Internet gods that we hit the mark. Nowadays we use tools like SEO Moz and Google Analytics to validate and check our strategies. If that new call to action isn’t performing the way we want it to, we can change it. Let them know that:

''Your new site isn’t carved out of stone. We will monitor its performance and make changes to fix any areas that are underperforming.''

Finally, you can communicate to the client that you aren’t going anywhere. You are here as a resource and available to them even if they don’t elect to pursue a retainer with your agency. This will provide a measure of comfort and reassurance to them knowing that there is a knowledgeable team available to help them if they get in a pinch. Reassure your client with something like this:

''If you aren’t sure about how something is working or you have concerns about a particular area or aspect of the site, just pick up the phone and give me a call, we can work through it.''

These are a few ways you can help alleviate the anxiety that commonly comes with a rebrand or redesign of a legacy website. Try and understand where the client is coming from and be a good listener, then provide them with a few tools out of your kit to help get them through a stressful time, they will appreciate you for it. 

What do you think? Have thoughts on managing your client’s stress? I’d love to hear them.