Who doesn’t love adding new features to their website? A new intuitive navigation, fresh content, a well designed blog, social media integration, highlight reels, etc. Whatever the new feature, you and your users are going to love it. It’s so easy to begin fleshing out the minute details of everyday use that we often overlook larger scale details that need to be addressed as part of the planning process. Here are three questions you should ask when launching a new feature to your website.
How does this affect your organization?
New features added to your website need to be given some thought as to how it will effect your organization. Some features, like an FAQ page, are built to help reduce the number of commonly asked questions coming from a contact page or even phone calls. Other features may require you to hire more staff to handle a higher frequency of questions, like a live chat widget to immediately assist customers with their questions.
If you are developing the feature in-house, will there be an impact to your production team? Even if you are not developing the feature in-house, there could still be a degree of work required by an in-house employee. Unless the contractor will be providing the content, someone in-house will need to create all the necessary verbiage. Someone will need to review the work and be in contact with the production team for feedback and sign-offs; requiring them to take time away from their everyday work schedule.
What impact does this have on the rest of the website?
Some new features can cause significant impact and really eat into the budget, while the impact of others will be almost non-existent. Either way, before the build begins, it’s important to think about the overall impact of the feature on the rest of the site.
There are a few examples of new features that can just be added onto an existing website without affecting any other area of the site in some way. However, in most cases, other areas of the site need to be altered in order to work in harmony with the new addition.
For example, lets say you have a career aptitude test on your website that enables visitors to view a list of specific careers fitting their interests. To this test, you want to add a new feature that allows users to save results and see all their pasts results for comparison. If you didn’t already have a user profile sign up/login page, this would need to be created so you can determine who took this quiz and fetch any of their past results.
How will you market the new feature?
Before users can start using a new feature on your website, it’s important they know it’s actually there.
Ways to market new features to let users know a feature has been added:
- Introduction, and self discovery
The first time a user visits your site after launching the new feature, you can inform them about it through the use of an overlay that can provide a brief walk-through of what’s new.
- Send personalized emails
If you have a subscription list or a list of user emails, send an email blast to let everyone know about the new feature. Send your email prior to the new feature launch so you can build anticipation, but be sure the feature is live when you say it will be so you don’t take a credibility hit.
- Social media
Spread the word through all of your social media platforms.
- New blog post or news article
If your site contains a blog or newsletter, take the time to write about the new feature and add it as a blog post or news article. Follow-up articles after the launch of the feature can help to extend the message.
The next time you have a million dollar idea for your website, remember to ask yourself these three questions. There are many important details to iron out when planning a new feature for your website. Don’t lose site of the bigger picture planning by getting caught up in the inner workings and details of a new addition.