How Not To Launch A Website – A Live Example

How Not To Launch A Website – A Live Example

I know my tutorials usually tell you what you should do, but this tutorial is going to tell you what not to do with a real live example.

Your website represents the face of your business and is often the first impression people will have. It is critical that you deliver an exceptional user experience or you may risk doing lasting damage to your brand.

This morning I was browsing the web looking for a new mobile and broadband supplier. I remembered a recent advertising campaign by Everything Everywhere that offer both mobile & broadband under one roof, perfect! Or so I thought.

This tutorial will show you exactly how not to launch a website and allow you to learn from other peoples 7 figure mistakes.

Click Here to Read the Transcript

Want more great tutorials like this? Just enter your email and click “Sign Me Up!”

Update: Additional Information

One of my readers John Nre brought up the site was now fixed and suggested I had recorded the video a couple of weeks ago before the site was done.

So I wanted to clarify the exact timeline of events-

5th November – I first noticed the issues with the Everything Everywhere website
6th November – I placed my order with PlusNet instead
8th November – I formatted my computer so now running a clean install of Windows & Firefox
10th November – Find out PlusNet have lied to me
10th November – Everything Everywhere website still in the same state it was 6 days earlier.

The clips that you see of the site in the video were recorded between the hours of 14:03 and 14:26 on Saturday the 10th of November.

Here is a screenshot of my project folder-

I’m fairly sure the nationwide advertising campaign started on the 30th of October.

The issues highlighted in the video were quick fixed to an extent on the morning of the 12th November.

All of the issues I found but didn’t highlight in the video are still present. I’m going to let those ones play out though, I’ve done my bit and saved them millions already!

 Share On Google+ Now!

Get My Latest Posts

Subscribe to the blog to get the latest updates delivered direct to your inbox.


Connect With Me...

Circle me on Google+ so we can chat and I can put a face to a name!

31 Responses

11.10.2012

Very enlightening! But not surprising at all. There are still a lot of people out there in big and small companies that still don't get it!

2 problems I see here.

1. A dodgy web development team more interested in bells and whistles than getting a functional site working.

2. Why aren't the marketing team checking the website before it goes live. Are they really leaving that presentation of their business to the outside world to the web guys?

Shocking!

Reply

Matthew Woodward Reply:

Nope big companies just do not get it, I've plenty of first hand experience in that area.

1. Yes I agree design > function at the cost of the user

2. I can't see how it hasn't gone through a testing/sign off phase personally

Crazy world – I bet they paid at least £150,000 for that as well

Reply

Anonymous
11.10.2012

I agree about the EE UI being a disaster…But unless the video explains more than the transcript, I don't see how your post qualifies as a tutorial. It doesn't explain 'how not to' or 'how to'. If the video does explain better than the transcript you are as guilty as EE or doing a poor job of muddling a visitor. In fact that is the case anyway as given what I have read, I feel mislead into coming here to read the post.

Reply

Kim Celinder Reply:

Did we read the same headline, it say "How not to launch a website" and didn't he show us how not to launch a website, with bad navigation, not working links, only way to get the product is calling etc. etc.

Reply

Matthew Woodward Reply:

I think you may have missed the bit that says 'REST OF TRANSCRIPTION COMING SOON' only the start and end of it is there at the moment, waiting for the middle bit from my team. But yes I see how with that bit missing it doesn't explain much at all =D

You need to watch the video for the middle bit though as its quite visual.

Do you mind me asking why you read the transcript instead?

Kim, I think he missed all that bit, no worrys though =D

Reply

11.11.2012

Good tips.
I know most of the companies do these kind of big mistake.

Reply

Matthew Woodward Reply:

You wouldn't believe some of the mistakes big corporates make – such as rolling out sitewide noindex tags, letting domains expire, letting ssl certificates expire – all by people that get paid more money than sense.

Reply

Jack Brutschin
11.11.2012

I really cannot believe that this is the reality!

Reply

Matthew Woodward Reply:

I could have done a better job with nothing more than my forehead and a keyboard ^^

Reply

Colin Williams Reply:

Unfortunately when teams get too big it gets easier for things to fall through the cracks. Unless you have processes or people in place to check things like this its easily done. And things expiring is a common problem especially if the guy that set them up has left and moved on to another job maybe! Shouldnt happen but it does, too often!

Reply

Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

That is very true indeed, even the basics of renewing domains and SSL certificates used to fall through the gaps.

Explaining that to a major client was always fun….

Reply

11.12.2012

Good stuff Matt and pretty typical of what I see with too many business websites. They have the resources but the execution often sucks.

Reply

Matthew Woodward Reply:

Very true indeed – thats precisely why I stopped banging my head against the wall of the corporate world and took the jump.

A better landing page would have being 'GET FIBRE NOW' in big letters, a picture of a turd and a buy now button.

Can you imagine what can actually be achieved with budgets like that in that right hands?

Reply

John Nre
11.12.2012

In all fairness… their site was not done then…. Try to visit it now and see :)

When did you upload/create the video? 1-2 weeks ago?

Reply

Matthew Woodward Reply:

I first noticed the state of the site on Monday 5th November which is why I placed my order with PlusNet on the 6th November. When I found out PlusNet had lied to me on Saturday the 10th of November I revisited Everything Everywhere and was shocked to see the site still in that state so I had some lunch and then got to work on the video.

The actual issues of the site were recorded between the hours of 14:03 and 14:26 on the 10th of November. You can see a screenshot of my project folder and associated times/dates here http://i.imgur.com/UzP3t.png

AND as a final nail in the coffin, I upgraded my PC and reinstalled from scratch on the afternoon of the 8th (after first noticing the issues, but before revisiting) so was running a fresh install of Windows/Firefox and it STILL had all of those problems.

I didn't include any of that in the video though :)

I see they have now put in quick/dirty fixes for some of the issues – although there are a fair few I didn't include in the video that persist.

Reply

Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi John, updated the post to address your questions directly and remove any wiggle room

Reply

John Nre Reply:

Cool… Sent you a PM on BHW btw. Awaiting your reply!

Reply

You know, while this may be amazing to some in the industry, it's seemingly becoming more and more common in the marketplace.

In our neck of the woods, the City of Vancouver was recently (August 2012) critiqued about spending upwards of $3M on their website and what in fact was received in return should it be of interest…
http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2012/08/3-million-for-city-of-vancouver-website/

It's interesting to see who is awarded these contracts as well as discovering any pre-established ties or relationships. The code on release looked like… well… sub-standard to put it politely.

Great vid, Matt!

Reply

Colin Williams Reply:

If you been in software development for any amount of time, you know its easy to blow 3 million in hardware and development time pretty quickly. Especially if you have little or no experienced project management or technical skills in that area to do QA.

If you dont have the experience to check what your vendor is selling you, its cheaper to hire another company to do it for you…. otherwise you wont get what you pay for!

Reply

Matthew Woodward Reply:

Jesus, $3 million for that? At least their website works though and doesn't repeatedly highlight their incompetence.

Colin, I know exactly how that goes with my background. I always thought it was hilarious just how much money big corporates would spend on websites which left an awful lot to be desired to say the very least.

Reply

DDWM Vancouver Website Design Marketing Reply:

Matt, on launch, problems were analogous to those experienced by EE. In fact, the site was inaccessible for periods, found to be quite slow, and routinely demonstrated broken functionality on initial public release.

Colin Williams, we've worked with ERP implementations of varying shapes and sizes over the years. And while I can appreciate how to some Fortune 500/1000 IT companies, $3M can quickly and easily evaporate thanks to one or two badly-made or misplaced decisions when we're talking about CUSTOM development projects, a quick perusal of the source code reveals a reliance on the RedDot CMS framework (windows based content management application – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RedDot – acquired by OpenText in 2006 – http://www.opentext.com/2/global/products/products-all/reddot-landing.htm – rebranded in 2009 – http://www.cmswire.com/cms/web-cms/farewell-reddot-viva-open-text-web-solutions-003961.php).

All for using compatible frameworks and RAD solutions when and where applicable. And, yes, some can get quite pricey. However, the framework and (dys)functionality coupled with the release quirks made the associated price tag somewhat less than credible, IMHO. Point of contention for several in the local design and development industry, and a great source of discussions for a couple of weeks here.

Thanks for sharing your views on both… insightful.

Reply

Colin Williams Reply:

A big team could easily gobble up that money fast. Still think a better approach to development is to have a really small team of skilled developers that really know whatever platform they are working on backwards and inside out. Yes they may cost you a lot more per person, but because they know exactly how to get the best out of the platform to provide the solution and will generally be more experienced you get a lot more for less in the end :-)

Reply

DDWM Vancouver Website Design Marketing Reply:

Colin Williams – "… a better approach to development is to have a really small team of skilled developers that really know whatever platform they are working on backwards and inside out."

BINGO! Lean, mean & agile. ;)

Reply

11.12.2012

I know it wasn't funny for you wasting 30mins trying to buy from these clowns, but your vid is hilarious!

Reply

Matthew Woodward Reply:

I bet the person in charge of the project doesn't think so. Ahh well, learn2website!

Reply

Andy Killworth
11.13.2012

I love how there's like 600 lines of code before you get to the content :)

Reply

Matthew Woodward Reply:

I dont think that is quite as problematic as it used to be but still, 600 is certainly beyond what I would consider acceptable by a long way

Reply

hydride
3.19.2013

You just reminded me the value of 1 customer by your brief statement there Matthew. Thanks!

Reply

Matthew Woodward Reply:

Something that big company’s often forget – what do you think I’ve said to anyone thinking about getting a new phone/broadband in the past 4 months ^^

Reply

7.30.2013

Having worked in corporate telcos and also met similar startups with a pre-injected corporate culture this is exactly what I would expect sadly, and why I also enjoy the control and speed of small business nowadays.

Reply

Matthew Woodward Reply:

Haha its likely we know some of the same people then :P

Reply

What are your thoughts?

* Name, Email, Comment are Required

Welcome To My Blog!

Let me introduce myself, my name is...

No not Matt Cutts, but I am better at SEO than him :P I make a great living online with SEO and I will teach you how you can as well...

You Can Find Me On...

Get My Latest Posts

Sign up for my newsletter to get the latest blog updates direct to your inbox.



WARNING! I do not send ANY 'Guru' spam or affiliate promotions.

Sponsors

My Friends


Advertise Here.